Jennifer Tsien

Director of Undergraduate Program and Associate Professor
337 New Cabell Hall

Fall 2021 Student Hours

Virtual Appointments only

4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Jennifer Tsien is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.


Topic: French advising chez Prof. Tsien

Time: This is a recurring meeting Meet anytime

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  • Bachelor of Arts (BA), Tulane University
  • Master of Arts (MA), University of Virginia
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Princeton University

Research Interests

Prof. Tsien's primary area of research is the Enlightenment, especially Voltaire. In her first book, Voltaire and the Temple of Bad Taste, she focused on Voltaire's use of satire to enforce his rules of good writing, specifically in his comic epic about Joan of Arc, La Pucelle d'Orléans. In her second book, The Bad Taste of Others, she expanded her inquiry into French eighteenth-century ideas about good and bad literary taste. Currently, she is writing a book about colonial Louisiana (1710-1803) and the ways in which people protested imperial policies, for example through satirical songs, sentimental speeches, and fictionalized histories.

She is generally interested in research questions involving the satirical tradition, French aesthetics, and the history of New Orleans.


UVa Page-Barbour grant, (2009-2010); UVa Teaching Resource Center, Professors as Writers grant (2006); Fulbright Fellowship (2000); Chateaubriand Fellowship (1997)

Representative Courses

  • The International Enlightenment
  • Humor/Society/Power
  • French Literature, Founding Fathers
  • The Fictional Orient


Selected Articles

  • "L’Œil plus voluptueux': le corps humain dans l’esthétique de l’abbé Du Bos," Hermann, Paris (forthcoming)
  • "Quoniam le rôtisseur et les prisonniers du Mississippi,” in "Gagnons sans savoir comment," Florence Magnot-Ogilvy, ed. Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2017. p. 207-220.
  • "Louisiana as a Figment of the Imagination: Raynal's Reflections on the Louisiana Colony," in Raynal’s ‘Histoire des deux Indes’: colonialism, networks and global exchange. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment, 2015
  • "Diderot's Battle against Books: Books as Objects during the Enlightenment and Revolution." Belphégor, 13-1 | 2015.
  • "La Poétique du dégoût: La Pucelle d’Orléans et l’influence de Milton et Pope." Revue Voltaire. Vol. 9 (2009). 
  • "Between Cleverness and Folly: the Enigmas of the Mercure galant." Cahiers du dix-septième. Volume XI:1 (2006).

Invited lectures

  • “Of Songs, Rumors, and Suckling Pigs: the French Revolution Goes to the Americas.”University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, September 2016.
  • “The Sentimental Revolution of Louisiana, 1768.” Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, November 2015.
  • "Voltaire for the Twenty-First Century." Smithsonian Institution. Washington, DC, August 2015.
  • "Ghosts of the Enlightenment: Race, Reform, and Horror in New Orleans." Freie Universität Berlin, Germany, December 2012.
  • "What Is Bad Taste?" University of Virginia, January 2012.
  • "Le Mauvais goût des autres." Institut français, Hamburg, Germany. December 2009.
  • "Voltaire's Candide: An Introduction." Catholic University of America conference on "The Politics of Comedy," Washington, D.C., March 2007.
  • "Les Royaumes de la Sottise dans La Pucelle d'Orléans." Seminari pasquali di analisi         testuali, organized by the Universities of Bologna, Italy and Mulhouse, France.            Lucelle, France, November 2006.