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Letter from the Chair

Tamara Chaplin PhD

Associate Professor of History
Associate Professor of French and Italian
Associate Professor of Gender and Women's Studies
European Union Center
Center for Global Studies

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Areas of Specialization

Contemporary France, cultural and intellectual history of Modern Europe, the histories of gender and sexuality, feminist and critical theory, queer studies, human rights and the media in a global context.

Research Focus

Tamara Chaplin is Associate Professor of Modern European History, and has faculty affiliations in the Departments of French and Italian, and Gender and Women’s Studies. She is also an associated faculty member of Holocaust, Genocide and Memory Studies, the European Union Center, and the Center for Global Studies. A scholar of contemporary France, Dr. Chaplin specializes in Modern European cultural and intellectual history, the histories of gender and sexuality, feminist and critical theory, queer studies, human rights, popular culture and the media. Her first book, Turning On the Mind: French Philosophers on Television (University of Chicago Press, 2007), argues that the history of the televising of philosophy in France is crucial to understanding the struggle over French national identity in the postwar period. Dr. Chaplin is interested in the influence of mass media and globalization on the construction of national identities, on the links between high and popular culture, and on the relationship between politics, law, the media and the social institution of moral values. New articles on the history of sex-education and a book-length manuscript on the history of lesbian life in postwar France extend these interests to new domains. Her work has been supported by fellowships from UIUC's Center for Advanced Study, the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities, the Charlotte Newcombe Fellowship for Research in Ethics and the Bourse Chateaubriand, among others. Recipient in 2014 of the highest teaching awards delivered at this institution --both the Provost's Campus Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and the LAS Dean's Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching--as well as the Queen Teaching Prize for Instruction in History (2010), Dr. Chaplin teaches survey and special topics courses at the graduate and undergraduate levels on modern Europe, France, sexuality, the body, human rights, intellectuals, history and social theory, World War I, twentieth century revolutions, media and popular culture. Her courses reflect her commitment to the historical analysis of multiple media forms and often employ sources from film, music, art and television. A former professional ballet dancer, trained actor, and member of both the Screen Actor’s Guild and Canadian Actor’s Equity, Professor Chaplin received her doctorate in Modern European History from Rutgers University in 2002.


B.A. Honors with Great Distinction, Concordia University, Montreal (1995); PhD. Rutgers: The State University of New Jersey (2002).



  • Turning On the Mind: French Philosophers on Television. . Chicago: U of Chicago Press, 2007.

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Book Contributions

  • "Orgasm without Limits: May ’68 and the History of Sex Education in Modern France." May '68: Rethinking France's Last Revolution. . London: Palgrave, 2011.

  • "Émile perverti? ou ‘Comment se font les enfants’. Deux siècles d’éducation sexuelle en France." Les jeunes & la sexualité : initiations, interdits, identités (19e-21e siècle). . Ed. Régis Revenin. Paris: Editions Autrement, 2010.

  • Chartier, Roger , Arlette Farge, and et al.. "Une histoire brève des intellectuels à la télévision : le cas de Michel Foucault." Foucault Aujourd’hui: IXes Rencontres INA-Sorbonne . . Paris: INA/Sorbonne, 2006. 6-24 and 46-47.

Journal Articles

  • "Lesbians Online: Queer Identity and Community Formation on the French Minitel." Journal of the History of Sexuality 23.3 (2014): 451-472.
  • "Embodying the Mind, Producing the Nation: Philosophy on French Television." Journal of the History of Ideas 67.2 (2006): 315-341.
  • "La Philosophie à la télévision: Mission Impossible?." PhiloMag 1.January (2006):
  • "From Text to Image: French Philosophy and the Television Book Show, 1953-1968." French Historical Studies 28.4 (2005): 629-659.


  • "Philosophy on Television: Impossible Dream." in Esteu a punt per a la televisió? Exhibition Catalogue of the special installation, Are you ready for TV? . Barcelona: MACBA, 2011.