Sharon MarquartFaculty

I began my undergraduate studies as a biology major in Akron, Ohio with the intent of becoming a medical doctor. It was reading an essay on the imagination by the French Renaissance philosopher Michel de Montaigne in a French literature class that set me on a different course, one that led me to study at universities in the US, France and Spain, and to teach and research throughout North America and Europe. Prior to joining Gustavus, I was an Assistant, then Associate, Professor of French at Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada, where I also served as Director of the Women and Gender Studies Program and was a Core Faculty member in the MA in Cultural Analysis and Social Theory Program. I have also previously taught at the University of Michigan, the Université Paris 7 in France, and at the University of Houston, where I was a recipient of the university-wide Teaching Excellence Award.

At Gustavus, I have a joint appointment in the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures and in the Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies Program. My teaching ranges from French language and culture courses to seminars taught in both French and English on topics such as the Holocaust, French and Francophone cinema, graphic novels, representations of revolution and rebellion, and feminist thought. All of my courses draw from and contribute to my research, which focuses primarily on issues of ethical and political commitment in French and Francophone culture since the Second World War and their intersections with feminist theory and critical theory. I am interested in exploring how broad, malicious forms of marginalization and repression can be reinforced, unintentionally, by our everyday behaviors, and how literature, film, and photography can offer critical spaces of resistance to this exclusionary economy. How can culture reshape our interpersonal relations to counteract widespread social and political oppressions? What everyday resistances can we offer to harmful, macro-level social forces and how does this refine understandings of our political agency and personal responsibility?

In my monograph, On the Defensive: Reading the Ethical in Nazi Camp Testimonies (Toronto, Buffalo, and London: University of Toronto Press, 2015), I consider these issues in the context of narratives written by members of the French Resistance who survived various camps of the Nazi system. I am also co-editor, with David Caron of the University of Michigan, of a book of essays on the work of Auschwitz survivor Charlotte Delbo that was published by the Presses universitaires du Mirail in France (Les revenantes : Charlotte Delbo, la voix d’une communauté à jamais deportée; 2011), and I have published or have articles forthcoming in French Forum, H-France ForumRomanic Review, the Routledge Companion to Literature and Trauma, as well as various essay collections on World War II and the Holocaust. I am currently working on a series of projects that examine conceptualizations of humanitarian engagement in French-speaking cultures, which has me engaging works from France, Haïti, Morocco, Québec, and Sénégal.

You can learn more about me and my work on the podcast I recently recorded with Professor Gregory Kaster (History) for the Learning for Life @ Gustavus podcast series.


Ph.D. University of Michigan; B.A. University of Akron

Courses Taught

Synonym Title Times Taught Terms Taught
GWS-236 Gender/Sex & Holocaust 5 2023/SP, 2020/FA, 2019/FA, and 2018/FA
GWS-118 Feminist Controversies 5 2022/SP, 2021/SP, and 2020/SP
FRE-251 Composition and Conversation I 4 2022/FA, 2020/FA, 2019/FA, and 2018/FA
FRE-252 Composition and Conversation II 3 2022/SP, 2021/SP, and 2016/SP
FRE-344 ST:Graphic Novels 2 2020/SP and 2018/FA
FRE-101 French I 2 2015/FA
GWS-290 Vlnrblty, Knwldge, Disaster 1 2023/SP
FRE-358 Graphic Novels 1 2022/FA
GWS-380 Coll:Feminism 1 2021/FA
FRE-375 Paris for Misfits 1 2021/FA
FRE-370 Revolution & Rebellion 1 2020/FA
FRE-352 French Cinema 1 2019/FA
FRE-202 Intermediate French II 1 2016/SP
FRE-399 French Civilization 1 2015/FA