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Modern Languages and Literatures

Tessa Sermet

Tessa Sermet

Assistant Professor of French



French and Francophone literature and cultures
Science fiction studies
French film, graphic novels, visual culture

Research Interests

Twentieth- and twenty-first century French and Francophone literature
Seventeenth century French classical utopias
Science fiction studies, utopian and dystopian literature
Spatial studies
French film, graphic novels, visual culture
Relationships between Brazilian and French modernism
Portuguese language and Brazilian culture


PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison (French)
MA, University of Geneva, Switzerland
BA, University of Geneva, Switzerland

Courses Taught

FREN110 – Beginner French I

FREN112 – Beginner French II

FREN210 – Intermediate French: Cultural Emphasis

FREN212 – Advanced Intermediate French

FREN255 – Composition & Conversation: Visions of the Future

FREN325 – Fairy Tales, Fantastique, & Fantasy

FREN326 – Chanson & Société

FREN338 – Cinéma français

FREN380 – Utopia to Science fiction

FIYS 140 – Global Science Fiction

PORT120/MUSC120/ LING120/ LNAM 120 – Beginning Portuguese Through Brazilian Song


“Imperfect Words for an Imperfect World: Language and Translation in Chroniques du Pays des Mères by Élisabeth Vonarburg.” In: Campbell I. (eds) Science Fiction in Translation. Studies in Global Science Fiction. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham., 2021.

“Comment vivre sans lui? Anthropocentrisme et Posthumanisme dans Sans l’Orang-outan d’Éric Chevillard.” In “La Science-fiction en langue française,” edited by Paul Scott and Antje Ziethen. Special issue, OEuvres et Critiques, vol. 44, no. 2 (2019). 

Le Transperceneige et Snowpiercer: figuration, sas et espaces de transit(ion).” ReS Futurae [Online], no. 14, 2019, doi:10.4000/resf.3902. URL:

“Blaise Cendrars e o Modernismo Brasileiro: a (Re)descoberta do Brasil.” Spanish & Portuguese Review, vol. 2, January 2017.

“Transparence Utopique et Scientifique: La Nuit des Temps de René Barjavel.” Chimères – A Journal of French and Francophone Literatures and Cultures, vol. 32 (New Series), Fall 2015.

Book Review

Review of Jacques Spitz: le mythe de l’humain, by Patrick Guay (2017). Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts, vol. 28, no. 2, Summer 2018.

Symposia Organized

Graduate Association of French and Italian Students (GAFIS) 30th Symposium: “Turning Point.” Keynote speaker: Robert T. Tally Jr. Texas State University, 2017.


“Beyond the threshold: viral, spatial, and bodily transformations in Catherine Dufour’s 2005 Le Goût de l’immortalité.” MLA – Annual conference, Washington D.C. (2022)

“Posthumanism in «Le Monde enfin» by Jean-Pierre Andrevon.” 20th & 21st Century French & Francophone Studies International Colloquium – Annual conference, Lincoln, NE, 2020. (NB: cancelled due to Covid-19)

“Reproductive Labor and Biopower: Surviving the Anthropocene in In the Mothers’ Land by Élizabeth Vonarburg.” 20th & 21st Century French & Francophone Studies International Colloquium – Annual conference, Oklahoma City, OK, 2019. Session: “Surviving Apocalyptic Shifts,” Chair.

“Rites of Passages and Biopower: Towards Posthumanism in Snowpiercer and Le Transperceneige.” PCAS/ACAS – Annual conference, New Orleans, LA, 2018.

“Reproduction, Sex, & Gender: Variations on the Concept of Labor in Élisabeth Vonarburg’s In the Mothers’ Land.” SFRA – Annual conference, Milwaukee, WI, 2018.

“Devolution and Simian Genesis in Chevillard’s Sans l’orang-outan.” MMLA – Annual conference, Cincinnati OH, 2017.

La Garderie du Pays des Mères de Vonarburg: une Hétérotopie Éducationnelle?” PAMLA – 114th Annual Conference, Pasadena CA, 2016.

“Contraintes Spatiales et Progrès Social: Études des Phases de Transition dans le Transperceneige/Snowpiercer.” Congrès Boréal – Exodes et Voyages Infinis, Mont-Laurier, Québec, Canada, 2016.

“Transparence Utopique et Scientifique: La Nuit des Temps de René Barjavel” Annual Graduate Student Conference. Department of French and Italian, University of Kansas, 2015. Awarded the Professor Samira Sayed Prize for best conference paper.

“Utopia(s) and Constraints: the Testimonial Function in Perec’s W ou le souvenir d’enfance.” Annual Graduate Student Symposium, “GAFIS.” Department of French and Italian, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2015.

“Blaise Cendrars e o Modernismo Brasileiro: a Redescoberta do Brasil.” Annual Graduate Student Conference, “Kaleidoscope.” Department of Spanish and Portuguese, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2015.