Todd W. Reeser

  • Professor of French
  • Director of Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies Program


1328 A Cathedral of Learning

Area of Interest

Gender and Sexuality Studies; Critical/Gender Theory; Masculinities; French and Comparative Renaissance Studies; French Cultural Studies


PhD, French Studies, University of Michigan
MA, French Studies, University of Michigan
BA, Oberlin College

Research Interests & Fields of study

Gender and Sexuality Studies; Critical/Gender Theory; Masculinities; Comparative Renaissance Studies; French Renaissance Prose; Montaigne and Rabelais: French Cultural Studies

Selected Publications

Théories de la littérature à la Renaissance (Garnier), edited volume, with David LaGuardia. In progress.

Symphorien Champier, The Ship of Virtuous Ladies, edition and translation of La nef des dames vertueuses, in “The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe” series (2018).

“Montaigne, Affects, Emotions,” special issue of Montaigne Studies (2018), with 14 original articles plus introduction.

“Masculinity and Affect” and “Complicating the Emotions of Men and Masculinities.” NORMA: International Journal for Masculinity Studies, with Lucas Gottzén (2017/2018). Two double issues.

Setting Plato Straight: Translating Ancient Sexuality in the Renaissance (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016). 418 pp. Winner of the 2017 Phyllis Goodhart Gordan Book Prize for best book in Renaissance Studies, awarded by the Renaissance Society of America.

"Transgender France," special issue of Esprit Créateur (Spring 2013).

“The Idea of France,” co-edited special issue of Contemporary French and Francophone Studies (Sites). (Spring 2013).

Approaches to Teaching the Works of François Rabelais, co-edited with Floyd Gray (New York: Modern Language Association, 2011). In book series "Approaches to Teaching World Literature."

Masculinities in Theory (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2010). 236 pp.

“Entre hommes”: French and Francophone Masculinities in Theory and Culture, co-edited with Lewis Seifert (University of Delaware Press, 2008).

Moderating Masculinity in Early Modern Culture (Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina Press, 2006). 288 pp.

"French Masculinities," special issue of Esprit Créateur (Fall 2003), co-edited with Lewis Seifert.

Numerous articles on Renaissance literature/culture, gender studies, critical theory, and French film in journals such as Romanic Review, French ReviewRomance QuarterlyModern and Contemporary France, and Exemplaria.

Biographical Profile

Reeser completed his graduate work in French Studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1997. After having taught for five years at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, he came to teach at Pittsburgh in Fall 2005.

He served as the inaugural Associate Director of the Humanities Center, and then as Acting Director in AY2011-12, Reeser helped foster interdisciplinary connections and worked with Pitt fellows and with external fellows who come to campus. He is supervising a number of dissertations in French, and he also serves on numerous PhD committees in French and in other departments.   He is currently Director of the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program. In this capacity, he fosters interdisciplinary research, coordinates the curriculum, and advises graduate students working in gender studies.

Reeser’s first book Moderating Masculinity in Early Modern Culture (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006) proposes a model of masculinity and alterity based on an Aristotelian notion of moderation. In the Renaissance period, masculinity often aligns itself with the virtue of moderation, as it positions its various "others" (e.g. women, the sodomite, the Amerindian) as excess and lack.

In 2010, Reeser published his second monograph with Wiley-Blackwell, an interdisciplinary book written for a general educated audience. Masculinities in Theory is intended to provide a series of theoretical models for considering the growing field of masculinity studies from a literary/cultural perspective, especially as inflected by post-structuralist thought. The book synthesizes key approaches already in place and proposes new models.

Reeser’s recent monograph, Setting Plato Straight: Translating Ancient Sexuality in the Renaissance, deals with the complicated question of the reception of Platonic sexuality in philosophical and fictional texts of the European Renaissance, from Leonardo Bruni in the early 15th century to Montaigne in the late 16th. Comparative and comprehensive in scope, the book studies how hermeneutics and sexuality do and do not dovetail in a variety of textual-sexual contexts as “Platonic love” in Plato’s sense became “platonic love” in our sense. He has just published a translation/edition of one of the very first French feminist Renaissance texts (The Ship of Virtuous Ladies by Symphorien Champier). His work in progress includes a series of articles on masculinity and affect, work on Montaigne and/as affect, and a longer-term book project on transgender France and universalism from the 1950s to today.

Selected Awards and Honors

EURIAS senior residential research fellowship, Collegium de Lyon (France), 2018-19

Solmsen Fellowship, Institute for Research in the Humanities, University of Wisconsin-Madison (year-long residential fellowship, 2012-2013)

Kraus Fellowship in Rare Books, Beinecke Library, Yale University

Folger Shakespeare Library Fellowship, Washington DC, (short-term fellowship)

Harry Ransom Center Research Fellowship, University of Texas, Austin

Residential fellowship at the Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbuttel, Germany, 2008

Various teaching and research grants, U Pittsburgh, 2005-present

NEH Long-term Fellowship, National Humanities Center, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, 2003–04

Short-term Fellowship, Newberry Library, Chicago, 2004


  • French Cultural Studies: "L’Idée de la France"
  • The French Novel in Translation
  • France in the 21st Century
  • French Conversation (French through Film)
  • Medieval and Renaissance Literature
  • Gender and sexuality in 21st century France
  • Masculinity: Theory, Film, Culture
  • Montaigne in Dialogue (graduate)
  • Gender and Sexuality in the French Renaissance (graduate)
  • Contemporary Perspectives on the French Renaissance (graduate)
  • Birth of a Nation: France and Frenchness in the Renaissance (graduate)
  • Rabelais (graduate)
  • Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory (graduate, interdisciplinary course)
  • Masculinities in Theory and Practice (graduate, interdisciplinary course)
  • Queer Theory Past and Present (graduate, interdisciplinary course)