Scholars of the first French empire have pursued important research on enslaved peoples and the paths they paved toward freedom. Yet little attention has been given to people of African descent who found themselves on the other end of the spectrum, close to power and privilege. Dr. Pichichero puts into dialogue the concepts of "black," "power," and "privilege," interrogating their intersections through the rich history of such storied individuals as musical virtuoso and military leader the Chevalier de Saint-George--friend of Marie Antoinette, Mozart, and the future King George IV of England and later commander of the first black regiment in the French Revolutionary army. Through Saint-George and others, Pichichero sheds light onto the structures of racial politics at the dawn of their inception in France.
Dr. Christy Pichichero, Associate Professor of Modern and Classical Languages at George Mason University, is a literary scholar and cultural historian of early modern France and the French Empire. Her research is deeply interdisciplinary and her work on the culture of war, the history of emotions, Critical Race Studies, and multiculturalism have appeared in venues such as French Historical Studies, Modern Languages Notes, and Renaissance Drama. Her monograph, published by Cornell University Press (2017), The Military Enlightenment: War and Culture in the French Empire from Louis XIV to Napoleon, was a finalist for the Kenshur Book Prize for best interdisciplinary book in eighteenth-century studies. With more than twenty years of experience in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) work, Dr. Pichichero has held multiple leadership positions at Stanford, George Mason, and in the profession.
Sponsored by EIU's Center for the Humanities, the English Department, and the Phi Beta Kappa Alumni Association of East Central Illinois.