Cécile Tresfels

Photo of Cécile Tresfels

Assistant Professor of French

Hollander Hall Rm 251


M.A. University of Paris III, French Literature (2010)
Ph.D. Stanford University, French (2019)

Areas of Expertise

Sixteenth-century French Literature

History of Cognition and Emotions

Early Modern Women Writers

Gender and Sexuality during the French Wars of Religion

Anti-oppressive Pedagogies in Second Language Acquisition

Scholarship/Creative Work


“The Fear Within: Apprehension in 16th-century French Literature”


Review of Des monstres et prodiges, by Ambroise Paré, Ed. Michel Jeanneret. Renaissance Quarterly 70, no. 2 (Summer 2017): 696-698.

“Visible Emotions, Invisible Future: Apprehension in Marguerite de Valois’s Memoirs,” Early Modern Women: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Volume 14.2 (Spring 2020).

“The Most Deformed Woman in France:’ Marguerite de Valois’s Monstrous Sexuality in the Divorce Satyrique,” in Exceptional Bodies in Early Modern Nature and Culture. Concepts of Monstrosity before the Advent of the Normal, ed. Maja Bondestam and Kathleen Long, Amsterdam University Press, forthcoming.

“Apprehending the Devil: Theological and Cognitive Anxieties in Léry’s History of a Voyage to the Land of Brazil,” article under review at Early Modern French Studies.


2018     “Visible Emotions, Invisible Future: Apprehension in Marguerite de Valois’ Memoirs,” Visibility and Invisibility of French Women Writers Symposium, University of Southern California Los Angeles, April 2018

2018     “Apprehension, Imagination, Memory: Re-Thinking Early Modern Cognition,” In conversation with Andrea Frisch, University of Maryland, Renaissances Graduate Research Series, Stanford University, January 2018


2019    Beyond Pronouns: Inclusive Grammar in the French Classroom, ACTFL Conference, Washington, November 2019

2019    “Ce haut-de-chausse à tois culs:” The Rhetoric of Slut-Shaming in the Divorce Satyrique, Panel: Reading Early Modern French Texts in the 21st century, Sixteenth Century Society Conference, St. Louis, October 2019

2019   “You Say “Weakness,” I Say “Excellence”: A Queen’s Feedback to a Fellow Male Writer,” Panel: He Said, She Said, Women’s Words in Defence of Women, Renaissance Society of America Conference, Toronto, March 2019

2018     “Peur sans cause? Panurge’s Apprehension in Rabelais’ Quart-Livre,” Panel: Approaches to the Future in a Tempestuous France, Sixteenth Century Society Conference, Albuquerque, November 2018

2018     “Apprehending the Devil: Theological and Cognitive Uncertainties in Brazil, ”Panel: The Geography and Spaces of the French Religious Wars, Renaissance Society of America Conference, New-Orleans, March 2018

2017     “Remembering the Past, Apprehending the Future: Fear and Knowledge in Valois’ Memoirs,Society for Early Modern French Studies Conference, Durham, UK, Modernity and its Discontents, September 2017

2017     “En l’apprehension de ce malheur: Marguerite de Valois’ Fearful State of Mind in the Memoirs,” Panel: Women’s Knowledge in Renaissance France, Renaissance Society of America Conference, Chicago, March 2017

2016     “Fearful Heart: apprehension and its meanings in the Angoysses douloureuses,” Panel: Writing Women: Marguerite d’Autriche, Marguerite de Navarre, Hélisenne de Crenne, Sixteenth Century Society Conference, Bruges, August 2016

2016     “Apprehending cannibalism: Fear and Experience in Jean de Léry’s Voyage,” Panel: Travel: A Journey to Discover Self and Others, Renaissance Society of America Conference, Boston, March 2016

2015     Organizer of the Panel: Early-modern Cannibalism: Problems for Religion, Philosophy and History, Presentation: “Staden, Léry and Cannibalism: from Apprehension to Comprehension,” Renaissance Society of America Conference, Berlin, March 2015


Professional Affiliations

Modern Language Association (MLA)

Renaissance Society of America (RSA)

Sixteenth-Century Society (SCS)

Society for Early Modern French Studies (SEMFS)

American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL)

Current Committees

  • Committee on Educational Affairs


2018 ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) OPI (Oral Proficiency Interview) Tester: Full Certification in French

2018 Certification in Language Program Management, Stanford Language Center

2016 ACTFL OPI Tester: Limited Certification in French