Dominique Brancher

Dominique Brancher joins Yale as Professor of French. A specialist of the French Renaissance, with interests spanning the medieval period to the early seventeenth century (the Baroque), Brancher works at the intersection of several disciplines, among them history of the book, history of medicine, sexuality studies, animal and plant studies. She has helped revitalize her field by contributing to the foundation of a new discipline, biological humanities. The strategies used to describe and stage Nature and its creatures guides her reflection, which proposes an archeology of “la pensée du vivant.” This way of combining the history of knowledge and anthropological paradigms with cultural history and models of the living World, rooted in erudition and the science of rare texts, is her hallmark. 

She counts among her many publications two ground-breaking books:Équivoques de la pudeur: Fabrique d’une passion à la Renaissance(Droz, 2015) and Quand l’esprit vient aux plantes (Droz, 2015). She is preparing a book on Montaigne and is involved in several multidisciplinary and international projects.Brancher is also the recipient of prestigious awards and fellowships, including the Prix de l’essai et de la critique littéraire (Geneva) for Équivoques de la pudeur. 

She comes to us from the University of Basel (Switzerland) where she was Professor of French Literature in the Faculty of Philosophy and History. She previously taught at the University of Bern, was visiting professor at Johns Hopkins University, the University of Geneva and the University of Bordeaux-Montaigne.  She holds a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University (2002) and earned a thèse d’habilitation from the University of Geneva (2012).