Congratulations to Dr. Webster, SLLC PhD in French!
SLLC offers warm congratulations to Dr. Courtney Webster, who just completed her PhD in French studies. Prof. Kaussen was her dissertation director.
Focusing on “literary representations of non-normative gender performances, the struggle around new gender norms, and the lived realities of gender in pre- and post-World War I (WWI) era France,” the dissertation examines novels which reveal “how French manhood became a source of nationalist anxiety,” with both military defeats and the decline of the culture at large becoming linked to a faltering masculinity in the nationalist imaginary. Supplementing literary analyses with an examination of visual culture, such as propaganda posters that “promoted heteronormative standards of French masculinity” and linked these standards to the military defense of France and the health of the French population at large, Dr. Webster further argues that the novels by Gide, Colette, Céline, and others countermanded and reimagined these propagated ideals, ultimately demonstrating that “the normative standards encountered in WWI propaganda were, in fact, fictions that belied the lived realities of gender.”