Brigitte Stepanov

Assistant Professor

Member Of:
  • School of Modern Languages
Email Address:
bstepanov3@gatech.edu

Overview

Pronunciation of Name:
Bri-JEET STEP-anov
Personal Pronouns:
she/her/elle

Dr. Brigitte Stepanov is Assistant Professor of French and Francophone Studies in the School of Modern Languages. Her research interests focus on 20th- and 21st-century French, North African, and Sub-Saharan African literature and visual culture. Trained as a scholar of French and Francophone Studies and as a mathematician, she holds undergraduate degrees from Queen’s University at Kingston in Canada and a PhD in French and Francophone Studies from Brown University. At Brown, she was a Fellow at the Cogut Institute for the Humanities and awarded an Archambault Award for Teaching Excellence.

Before coming to Georgia Tech, she was an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow with the Department of French and Arabic at Grinnell College, where she organized the “Theories of Decolonization” working group with the support of a grant from Grinnell’s Center for the Humanities. She has been a Silas Palmer Fellow at the Hoover Library and Archives at Stanford University, a Lecturer at the Université Lumière Lyon 2 in France, and in the summer of 2021, a selected participant of the National Endowment for the Humanities seminar “The Search for Humanity after Atrocity.” Additionally, she has trained in conflict mediation, transformative justice, and trauma studies, having most recently taken part in the Peacebuilding Institute hosted by the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at EMU. Dr. Stepanov is also a translator, having worked with the Derrida Seminar Translation Project as well as translating works by Peter Szendy and Laura Odello.

Her current book project, Cruelty, War, Fiction: Redefining the Human as In-Human, explores excessive forms of violence in warfare and their representation in fiction and visual media from Algeria, Rwanda, and France. She argues that the concept of cruelty is fundamental to any discussion of political instability, war, and crimes against humanity. More broadly, this project examines the relationship between the evolution of warfare over the last eighty years and shifting conceptions of the human in the face of universal manifestations of violence. This work is closely tied to her second research project, which examines literary, artistic, and cultural responses to radioactive fallout following France’s nuclear arsenal testing in Algeria and the South Pacific. Dr. Stepanov’s scholarship has appeared in Contemporary French & Francophone Studies, The French Review, Voix plurielles, and in the volume Memory, Voice, and Identity: Muslim Women’s Writing from Across the Middle East (Routledge, 2021).

Finally, she is a photographer, focusing on archiving memory and the geometry of ecological forms. Both facets of her work are preoccupied with minute documentation – be it to collect visual reminders of patches of moss or the detailed brickwork of a commemorative monument. Among other venues, her work has been exhibited at the Granoff Center for the Creative Arts and the Houston Center for Photography. Her most recent exhibit, “Why I’ll Always Dream of Poland,” supported by a grant from the Program in Judaic Studies at Brown, features photographs she took while conducting research on Holocaust remembrance in Israel, Germany, France, Ukraine, and Poland. Shedding light on public mourning and commemoration, the project also reflects on personal loss and family histories and attempts to bridge the gap between private experiences and public sites of inhuman violence.

Interests

Research Fields:
  • Conflict Research
  • French
  • Literary and Cultural Studies
  • Media Studies
Geographic
Focuses:
  • Africa (North)
  • Africa (Sub-Saharan)
  • Europe
Issues:
  • Armed Conflict
  • Digital and Mixed Media
  • Francophone Studies
  • Human/Machine Interaction
  • Literature
  • Post-Colonialism
  • Translation