29th Annual Phi Beta Kappa Fall Lecture
Dr. Christy Pichichero
"Black | Power: Race and Privilege in Early Modern France"

5pm, Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Lecture Hall, Doudna Fine Arts Center


Part of the campus-wide 400th Commemoration of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

Co-Sponsored by the EIU Center for the Humanities, the PBK Alumni Association of East Central Illinois, and the EIU English Department


Scholars of the first French empire have pursued important research on enslaved peoples and the paths they paved toward freedom. Yet little attention has been given to people of African descent who found themselves on the other end of the spectrum, close to power and privilege. Dr. Pichichero puts into dialogue the concepts of “black,” “power,” and “privilege,” interrogating their intersections through the rich history of such storied individuals as musical virtuoso and military leader the Chevalier de Saint-George—friend of Marie Antoinette, Mozart, and the future King George IV of England and later commander of the first black regiment in the French Revolutionary army. Through Saint-George and others, Pichichero sheds light onto the structures of racial politics at the dawn of their inception in France.



This year’s esteemed speaker is Dr. Christy Pichichero (\pi-‘ki-kə-rō\), who received her B.A. from Princeton University (Comparative Literature), B.M. from the Eastman School of Music (Voice and Opera), and Ph.D. from Stanford University (French Studies). 

Associate Professor of Modern and Classical Languages at George Mason University, Dr. Pichichero is a literary scholar and cultural historian of early modern France and the French Empire. Her research is deeply interdisciplinary and her work on the culture of war, the history of emotions, Critical Race Studies, and multiculturalism have appeared in venues such as French Historical StudiesModern Languages Notes, and Renaissance Drama. Her monograph, published by Cornell University Press (2017), The Military Enlightenment: War and Culture in the French Empire from Louis XIV to Napoleon, was a finalist for the Kenshur Book Prize for best interdisciplinary book in eighteenth-century studies.

With more than twenty years of experience in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) work, Dr. Pichichero has held multiple leadership positions at Stanford, George Mason, and in the profession.







Phi Beta Kappa Links

National Phi Beta Kappa Organization

Chicago Area Phi Beta Kappa Association

University of Illinois Phi Beta Kappa Chapter