Michèle A. Schaal

Associate Professor of French


Dept:World Languages And Cultures
Office:2230 Pearson
505 Morrill Rd.
Ames IA

Area of expertise: 20th and 21st French and Francophone women writers, Claire Legendre, Contemporary French feminisms, Feminist Manifestos and Essays, Virginie Despentes, Wendy Delorme

Topics of interest: Feminist Manifestos & Essays, Feminist Theory, French Conversation, French Grammar, French Literature, French Third- & Fourth-Wave Feminisms


A native of France, Dr. Michèle A. Schaal received her PhD in 2012 from Indiana University, Bloomington. While ABD, she spent four years in Berlin, Germany, where she was part of the Free University’s Frankreich-Zentrum, a center devoted to French studies. Dr. Schaal joined Iowa State University in 2012 and is currently Associate Professor of French and Women’s and Gender Studies. Her research areas are 21st century French and Francophone women writers, contemporary French feminisms, and feminist essays and manifestos. She is the leading specialist of Virginie Despentes’s, Claire Legendre’s, and Wendy Delorme’s work. Dr. Schaal is the author of Une Troisième vague féministe et littéraire (Brill, 2017) and the co-editor of three journal special issues, including the 2018 Rocky Mountain Review volume dedicated to Despentes. She is currently working on a two-volume monograph on Despentes. For the Department of World Languages and Cultures, Dr. Schaal teaches a variety of French courses including grammar, reading, conversation, and literature.

Grants and Awards

  • 2023-2024: Cassling Family Faculty Award for Outstanding Achievement in Teaching, College of Liberal Arts and Science

  • 2022: YWCA’s Women of Achievement Award, Category of Education

  • 2018: Michael Delahoyde Award for Distinguished Contributions in Editing, Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association

  • 2018: Early Achievement in Research Award, College of Liberal Arts and Science

  • 2018: College of Liberal Arts and Sciences - Early Achievement in Research Award

  • 2017: Margaret Sloss Center for Women and Gener Equity: Gender Equity Award

  • 2015: Women’s and Gender Studies: Outstanding Award in Teaching

Recent / Major Publications


  • Une troisième vague féministe et littéraire. Les femmes de lettres de la nouvelle génération. Brill/Rodopi: Leiden; Boston, 2017.

Co-Edited Journal Special Issues:

  • “Voix et voies des marges/Margins: Voices and Pathways” Women in French Studies (Fall 2023). Co-edited with Drs. Arline Cravens (Saint Louis University) and Leah E. Wilson (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee).

  • “Contemporary Feminisms” French Cultural Studies 31.4 (November 2020), co-edited with Dr. Adrienne Angelo (Auburn University).

  • "Special Issue on Virginie Despentes” Rocky Mountain Review 72.1 (Spring 2018), co-edited with Dr. Arline Cravens (Saint Louis University).

Refereed Articles:

  • “Bermudes de Claire Legendre : (s’)échouer dans la modernité liquide.” Québec Studies 76.1 (2023): 109-32.

  • “Penser le triangle littéraire, la trilogie Bermudes de Claire Legendre” French Review 96.4 (2023): 65-79.

  • “Une affirmation politique: Despentes essayiste” Irish Journal of French Studies 22.1 (2022): 73-97.

  • “Polyphony as Intersectional Inquiry and Praxis: Wendy Delorme’s Le Corps est une chimère” Contemporary French Civilization - Intersections 1.1 (Fall 2022): 85-99.

  • “A Palimpsestuous Novel: Claire Legendre’s La Méthode Stanislavski.” Women in French Studies 26 (2018): 143-57. L’Univers affectif féminin dans Vernon Subutex de Virginie Despentes.” Contemporary French & Francophone Studies (SITES) 22.4

  • “Le Sens et les sens/Sense and the Senses” (2018): 475-83. “Les Chiennes Savantes de Virginie Despentes ou l’hétéropatriarcat triomphant” Rocky Mountain Review 72.1 (2018): 77-104. This article appears in the Special Edition on Virginie Despentes that I co-edited. Blind copies were evaluated by two external reviewers.

  • “‘Whatever became of ‘Génération Mitterrand’? Virginie Despentes’s Vernon Subutex” French Review 91.3 (2017): 87-99.

  • “Bridging Feminist Waves: Wendy Delorme’s Insurrections! En territoire sexuel” Rocky Mountain Review 70.2 (2016): 175-96.