Lionel Cuillé has been named the College of Arts & Sciences’ inaugural Jane and Bruce Robert Professor of French and Francophone Studies, effective August 2012.
Currently a lecturer at Washington University in St. Louis, Cuillé holds a doctorate in Literature and the Arts from the University of Lyon’s Ecole Normale Supérieure Lettres et Sciences Humaines, where he co-directed the Centre d’Etudes Poétiques. His area of specialization is 19th-21st century French literature, particularly the relationship between poetry, religion, science, and the visual arts.
Cuillé has authored several articles on French poetry and is completing a second book-length project: L’Accélération du monde: littérature et vitesse (The Acceleration of the World: Literature and Speed). His current research is situated at the nexus of military history, art history, philosophy, and literature and focuses on the “ideology of speed,” which was debated among early-20th-century avant-garde poets.
A frequent presenter at conferences and colloquia, Cuillé also served as the cultural director of the Alliance Française in St. Louis.
“I am excited at the prospect of joining Webster University this fall and teaching new courses in French and in the Human Rights program,” Cuillé said. “I also look forward to promoting French and Francophone culture at Webster and in St. Louis, which will be an important part of my new position.”
David Carl Wilson, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, said he is pleased with the selection of Cuillé as the Jane and Bruce Robert Professor of French and Francophone Studies.
“As is fitting for an international university that has one of its campuses in a French-speaking region and is fitting for the Robert chair, which has the purpose of promoting French and Francophone issues and studies, Lionel could not be a better choice,” Wilson said. “His knowledge of French and Francophone issues, his expertise as a French speaker and scholar, and his dedication to promoting all things having to do with French culture will greatly benefit Webster University as well as the surrounding community.”
Wilson praised Cuillé’s “remarkable track record” as a teacher, scholar, and promoter of French and Francophone awareness and appreciation.
The Jane and Bruce Robert Professorship in French and Francophone Studies was made possible by the Roberts’ $1 million gift, which was announced in December 2010. The gift, which established Webster University’s first endowed professorship, is one of the largest in the university’s history.
Jane Robert, ’69, is highly regarded locally, nationally and internationally as an advocate for the study of French. She currently serves as chair of the Arts & Sciences Advisory Board. Mrs. Robert has received numerous honors and awards for her advocacy work, including the French Legion of Honor in 2007, which is the highest distinction awarded by the French government, and, in 1998, the French government’s knighthood known as Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques.