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Alexis Stanley

Doctoral Candidate
Please see syllabus for details

Research Areas

Early modern studies; the French Enlightenment; aesthetics; poetics; performance theory and theater; the history and philosophy of dance; translation; new (and old!) media studies; digital humanities; natural language processing


I am a PhD candidate in the French Department with Designated Emphases in both New Media and Renaissance & Early Modern Studies. My doctoral research engages with French Enlightenment discourse through the triple lens of literary studies, new media studies, and performance studies. I investigate the influence the “Age of Reason” exerted on the development of theatrical techniques and literary accounts of bodily expression and gesture in France, with particular attention to the work of Denis Diderot and the practices of dance, pantomime, and theater.

I graduated in 2015 from Duke University, where my undergraduate research projects explored 18th- and 19th-century dance, politics, and poetry in France. I then spent three years as an Élève de la Sélection internationale at the École normale supérieure (ENS) in Paris, where I concurrently received an MA in French Literature jointly conferred by the ENS, Université Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV), and Université Sorbonne Nouvelle (Paris III). At UC Berkeley, I am a recipient of the Berkeley-Mellon Fellowship and David & Aileen Wang Family Fellowship in the Humanities and Social Sciences. My dissertation work this year is also being supported by the Phi Beta Kappa Society's 2022 Walter J. Jensen Fellowship.

Outside the French Department, I am a passionate dancer and music lover. I have danced professionally in America and France, and have interned with American Ballet Theatre, Dance Magazine and Pointe magazine. Most recently, I have choreographed and performed collaborative new media work for "Portal Refractions," the 2022 New Art City Festival at Gray Area / Grand Theater in San Francisco.