Diane R. Fourny

Associate Professor of French and Humanities
Primary office:
Bailey Hall
Room 303L
University of Kansas
1440 Jayhawk Blvd
Lawrence, KS 66045-7594



Baccalauréat, Versailles, France (Lettres-Philo)

B.A., University of California-Berkeley (French)

M.A./Ph.D., Stanford University (French)


Professor Fourny’s teaching and research focus on the literature and intellectual history of the French Enlightenment (1685-1815). Her current projects and recent courses emphasize French cultural production within a global context, including reassessments of orientalism in the wake of new scholarship on early modern Europe. Other topics of interest include the evolution of the French novel, critique of Enlightenment, Enlightenment historiography, and World Literature in translation.

Professor Fourny holds a joint appointment in French, Francophone & Italian Studies and the Humanities Program.  She served as the Director of the Center for European Studies from 2000-2010.  She served as Vice President and President of the state chapter of AATF-Kansas (American Association of Teachers of French) from August 2014-2018. She has received a number of awards including the W.T. Kemper Fellowship for Excellence in Teaching, the H. Bernard Fink Distinguished Teaching Award, Provost's Award for Leadership in International Education, and Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award (Women in French Association). She was also named Chevalier de l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques, Ministry of National Education, France in 2005.

Current Research and Selected Publications

  • “Cornelius De Pauw’s Recherches philosophiques sur les Américains and the Dismantling of the Enlightenment’s Universalist Notion of Civilization,” (under review), 31 pp.
  • “Resurrecting the West’s First Full-Length Biography of Confucius:  Joseph-Marie Amiot’s Vie de K’oung-tsé, appellé vulgairement Confucius (1771-1778) and the Transmission of Enlightenment,” (accepted, under revisions), French History (2021).
  • "Core and Peripheral Civilizations. Voltaire’s Tragic Vision and Historical Thinking in L’Orphelin de la Chine," The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation (forthcoming, 2020).
  • “A Strange Familiarity: Monkeys and Chinamen in Enlightenment France,” The French Review 92:4 (2019), 157-174.
  • “The Art and Politics of France’s Legacy to America:  Revisiting the Statue of Liberty,” Selected Proceedings of the 2015 AATF Convention 6 (2015-2016), 73-86.  http://www.proceedings.frenchteachers.org.
  • “Freedom and its Limits:  Molière’s Don Juan as Free-Thinker,” Memory, Invention, and Delivery. Selected Proceedings from the Fifteenth Annual Conference of the Association for Core Texts and Courses, Richard Dagger, C. Metress, and J.S. Lee, eds. (New York, 2016), 21-126.
  • “Literature of Violence or Literature on Violence? The French Enlightenment on Trial,” SubStance 86 (1998), 43‑60.
  • “Ethics and Otherness: An Exploration of Diderot’s conte moral,” Studies in Eighteenth- Century Culture 27 (1998), 283-306.

Graduate Courses Taught

French Orientalisms: 17th and 18th Centuries (FREN 900)

Circuits of Exchange in 18th Century: China & Europe (Franklin Murphy Seminar in Art History, team-taught: HA 898/FREN 770)

Eighteenth Century French Literature (FREN 770)

Seminar on Denis Diderot (FREN 900)

Survey of Eighteenth Century French Literature (FREN 868)

Enlightenment and Critique of Enlightenment: 18th and 20th Centuries (FREN 900)

Autobiography in France from Descartes to Leiris (FREN 900)

The Savage and Civilized in French Literature from Montaigne to Maupassant (FREN  900)

The Eighteenth-Century French Novel (FREN  878)

Criticism and Critical Methods (FREN 810)

2020 Graduation & Honors Reception


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