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Giulia Pacini

French & Francophone Studies Program Director, Professor of French & Francophone Studies

Office: Washington Hall 230
Phone: (757) 221-7714
Email: [[gxpaci]]

Giulia Pacini is Professor of French & Francophone Studies at William & Mary. She is a specialist in French eighteenth-century literary and cultural history, and holds a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania.


Trees, Deforestation, and the Climate Literature of Late Eighteenth-Century France:

Giulia Pacini's current research focuses on the history of deforestation and attendant discourses of climate instability in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. More generally she is interested in human-arboreal relations and arboreal representations of the French body politic in late ancien régime and revolutionary France. This work finds its place within the emerging field of literary and cultural plant studies while also intersecting with more traditional French political and environmental histories. Questions of particular interest include: How were trees apprehended and valued in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries? Why did they serve as such powerful metaphors in eighteenth-century French discourse? What kinds of material, symbolic, and ideological work did trees and tree metaphors do? Within this context, Pacini's research has often focused on the political philosophies that transpire from eighteenth-century discourses and practices of pruning, grafting, felling, planting, and transplanting.

Relevant publications:

“Plants in the French and Francophone Literary Tradition,” The Cambridge Handbook of Literature and Plants, ed. Bonnie Lander Johnson (Cambridge UP, forthcoming in 2024).

-"Arboreal Values: Reconsidering the 'plantes si sensibles, si merveilleuses, si intelligentes' of Rauch's Harmonie hydro-végétale et météorologique," in Nineteenth-Century French Studies 51:3-4 (2023).

- "Rougier de la Bergerie's Bucolic Poetry and the Nineteenth-Century French Discourse on Climate and Deforestation," in Green Letters 26:4 (2022), pp. 397-411.

 - "From Sensitive Shrubs to Pollinating Assemblages: Plant-Thinking in the Work of Patrick Chamoiseau," in How to Do Things with Style, ed. Wyngaard and Racevskis, The French Review book series (2021).

 - "'Une Sève Nouvelle et Pure': Tree Sap and the Regeneration of the Nation in French Revolutionary Discourse and Practice," Eighteenth-Century Studies 53:3 (April 2020).

 - "Like a Baobab: Arboreal Figures of Creole Identity in Natasha Soobramanien's Genie and Paul," in Forum for Modern Languages 55:1 (January 2019).

 - "La Tige Monarchique [et] l'Arbre de la République: Trees and the Body Politic in Revolutionary France," in Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies 41:3 (September 2018).

  - "Arboreal Attachments: Interacting with Trees in Early Nineteenth-Century France," in Configurations 24:2 (2016).

  - "The Monarchy Shapes Up: Arboreal Metaphors in Royal Propaganda and Court Panegyrics During the Reign of Louis XV," in Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies 39:3 (September 2016).

 - "Arboreal and Historical Perspectives from Calvino's Il barone rampante," in Romance Studies 32:1 (January 2014).

Invaluable Trees: Cultures of Nature, 1660-1830, ed. with Laura Auricchio and Elizabeth H. Cook, Studies on Voltaire and Eighteenth-Century: 2012: 08 (Oxford: Voltaire Foundation, 2012). This volume includes a co-authored introduction, as well as Pacini's essay “At Home with Their Trees: Arboreal Beings in the Eighteenth-Century French Imaginary.”

 - "Environmental Concerns in Bernardin de Saint Pierre’s Paul et Virginie," in Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment 18:1 (Winter 2011).

 - "Grafts at Work in Late Eighteenth-Century French Discourse and Practice," in Eighteenth-Century Life 34:2 (Spring 2010). 

  - "A Culture of Trees: The Politics of Pruning and Felling in Late Eighteenth-Century France," in Eighteenth-Century Studies 41:1 (Fall 2007).

 - "Signs and Sites of Friendship in Delille's Les Jardins," in Studies in the History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes 23:3 (2003).

 Secondary Research Interests and Publications:

 - "Ideas on the Table: Teaching with the Faïences Révolutionnaires," in Teaching Representations of the French Revolution, ed. Julia Douthwaite, Catriona Seth, and Antoinette Sol, MLA Options for Teaching (Summer 2019).

 - "Colonial Predicaments, Eugenic Experiments, and the Evacuation of Compassion: 'Perfecting' the Hybrid Creatures in Rétif's La Découverte Australe," in Symposium 60:3 (Fall 2006).

  - "Righteous Letters: The Vindications of Two Refugees in Lettres d'une Péruvienne and its Unauthorized Sequel Lettres taïtiennes," in Eighteenth-Century Fiction 18:2 (Winter 2005-2006).

 - "How To Be Sociable: Charrière's Dialogue with Rousseau in Lettres trouvées dans des portefeuilles d'émigrés," in Eighteenth-Century Fiction 17:2 (January 2005).

 - "Women and the Sociable Contract in Les Liaisons dangereuses," in Nottingham French Studies 43:2 (2004).

 - "<<Celle dont la voix publique vous a nommé le père>>: Olympe de Gouges's Mémoire de Madame de Valmont," in Women in French Studies 9 (2001).

 - "Hidden Politics in Germaine de Staël's Corinne ou l'Italie," in French Forum 24:2 (1999).



Giulia Pacini enjoys teaching seminars on early modern French culture, in addition to language classes at all levels of the curriculum. Some of her favorite courses include:

FREN 100: "Fictions of Nature" (in English)

FREN 150: "Slow Living, ou l'art de végéter" (in French)

FREN 303A: "The French Revolution" (in French)

FREN 314: "Introduction to French Cultural Studies" (in French)

FREN 315: "Provocative Texts: French Literature in its Cultural Contexts" (in French)

FREN 321: "The Spectacular Culture of Early Modern France" (in French)

FREN 321: "Versailles" (in French)

FREN 332: “Scandalous Women” (in French)

FREN 332: "The Tribunal of Public Opinion" (in French)

FREN 390: "Politics of Nature" (in French)

FREN 450: "Liberté et Libertins" (in French)