Julie Fette


  • PhD, New York University and École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris

Research and Teaching

  • French History
  • Gender
  • Children’s Literature
  • Immigration, Race, and Postcolonialism

An interdisciplinary historian of modern French society, Julie Fette’s research has a strong focus on gender, xenophobia, and other forms of social as well as cultural exclusion. Her first book, Exclusions (2012), examines middle-class discrimination in French society in the professional fields of law and medicine between 1920 and 1945. Shaped by anti-Semitism and xenophobia, such discrimination had a direct effect on social mobility at a decisive moment in twentieth-century French history. Currently, she is completing a new monograph, Gender by the Book, which investigates representations of gender in French children’s literature and their wider effects on the discourses of gender and race in French civil society. In 2021, Fette co-authored a new edition of Les Français, the French civilization textbook for undergraduates.

At Rice, Fette is a faculty scholar at the Baker Institute for Public Policy’s Center for the Middle East and she is also a faculty affiliate of the Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality and of the Program in Politics, Law & Social Thought. Fette is on the editorial boards of French Politics, Culture & Society and Contemporary French Civilization and she has given interviews with Voice of America and ABC13. Her MOOC course, “America Through Foreign Eyes,” originally launched with Coursera in 2015, has more than 15,000 students.

Selected Publications

1. Books and Edited Volumes

  • With Jean-François Brière and Laurence Wylie, Les Français, 4th edn. (Indianapolis, IN: Focus/Hackett, 2021).
  • Exclusions: Practicing Prejudice in French Law and Medicine, 1920-1945 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2012).

2. Journal Articles and Book Chapters

  • With William Tsai, “What's in Store for the French Presidential Election in April 2022?” Rice University Baker Institute for Public Policy, issue brief no. 10.19.21 (2021).
  • “Heureux comme stéréotype en France,” La Revue des livres pour enfants 310 (December 2019): 136-43.
  • “From Casablanca to Houston: A Family Story,” French Politics, Culture & Society 36/3 (2018), 32-60.
  • “Gender and the Role of Talents Hauts in Contemporary French Children’s Literature,” Children’s Literature Association Quarterly 43 (2018), 285-306.
  • “Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and the Future of French Studies,” Contemporary French Civilization 41 (2016), 381-95.
  • “Acting the Dreyfus Affair: History and Theatre in the French Classroom,” PMLA 126 (2011), 737-45.
  • “Apology and the Past in Contemporary France,” French Politics, Culture & Society 26/2 (2008), 78-113.
  • “Pride and Prejudice in the Professions: Women Doctors and Lawyers in Third Republic France,” Journal of Women’s History 19/3 (2007), 60-86.