A Closer Look: The Interpretive Gaze of Françoise Meltzer

The Interpretive Gaze of Françoise Meltzer

This conference brings together scholars, writers and poets, all of whom have studied under or collaborated with Françoise Meltzer, to pay tribute to her inimitable interpretive gaze.  Each paper takes inspiration from her work to offer a new perspective on literature, art, or contemporary theory.

Professor of the Philosophy of Religions in the Divinity School and Edward Carson Waller Distinguished Service Professor in the Humanities; also in the College, Françoise Meltzer marshals postmodern critical theories in order to explore representations of the subject.

Thursday and Friday, April 13 and 14, 2023 -- Swift Lecture Hall (Third Floor)


  • Robert P. Baird, Freelance Writer and Editor
  • Kasia Bartoszynska, Assistant Professor, Literatures in English, Ithaca College
  • Jessica Berman, Professor of English, also Affiliate Professor of Gender & Women’s Studies and Affiliate Professor of Language, Literacy and Culture, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
  • Jeremy Biles, Associate Professor, Liberal Arts, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Stefani Engelstein, Professor of German Studies with a secondary appointment in Gender, Sexuality & Feminist Studies, Duke University
  • Sarah Hammerschlag, Professor of Religion and Literature, Philosophy of Religions and History of Judaism, University of Chicago
  • Amy Hollywood, Elizabeth H. Monrad Professor of Christian Studies, Harvard Divinity School  
  • Maureen McLane, Professor of English, New York University
  • Andrew Parker, Professor of French and Comparative Literature, Rutgers University
  • Mark Payne, Chair and Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) Chester D. Tripp Distinguished Service Professor in Comparative Literature, Classics, The Committee on Social Thought, and The College, University of Chicago  
  • Thomas Pavel, Gordon J. Laing Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in Romance Languages and Literatures, Comparative Literature, the Committee on Social Thought, and Fundamentals, University of Chicago
  • Josh Scodel, Helen A. Regenstein Professor, University of Chicago  
  • Alexander Wolfson, College Fellow, University of Virginia  
  • Peter Zusi, Associate Professor, University College London


Thursday, April 13 

3:00-4:15pm – Colleague Tributes 

  • Sarah Hammerschlag
  • Thomas Pavel
  • Mark Payne
  • Josh Scodel

4:15-4:30pm – Break 

4:30-6:00pm – Gender, Sexuality, Embodiment 

  • Jessica Berman – “Listen to Look Closely: Tango, Gendered Embodiment, and Mediated Sound in Argentina” 
  • Alexander Wolfson – “Just for the Pleasure of Telling” 

Friday, April 14 

9:30-11:00: Reading and Seeing

  • Kasia Bartoszynska – “Mimesis, Originality, Ruin” 
  • Amy Hollywood – “Novel Theology” 

11-11:15: Break

11:15-12:45: Doubles: And/Or

  • Jeremy Biles – “Folie à deux: Françoise Meltzer and Her Doubles” 
  • Maureen N. McLane – “Shelley Inter Alia; or, Romanticisms: or, Now—Divagations” 

2:30-4:00pm – Originality & Influence, Part I 

  • Andrew Parker – “Derrida’s Reply (to Jacques Rancière)" 
  • Peter Zusi – “Dark Charisma: Sinister Attractions in European Literature” 

4:15-5:45pm – Originality & Influence, Part II 

  • Robert P. Baird – “The Idea of Origins at Key West: The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Production” 
  • Stefani Engelstein – “The Ambivalent Encounter with the Flaw in the World: Günderrode and Kleist" 

5:45pm – Reception 

This conference is cosponsored by The Department of Comparative Literature.