History - College of Liberal Arts - Texas A&M University Corpus Christi

Dr. Sandrine Sanos

Professor of Modern European History

Contact Information: 
 Mailing Unit - 5814
 Phone: (361) 825-2466
 E-mail: sandrine.sanos@tamucc.edu

Aesthetics of Hate

Podcast Interview on New Books in French Studies, January 2014
New Woman
HansBellmer Doll
 Modern French and European Cultural & Intellectual history
 Women's History, Gender & Sexuality
 Migration, Diaspora, and Genocide
 Film Theory and Visual Culture
 Ph.D. in Modern European History, Rutgers University
 M.A. in Women's History, Royal Holloway & Bedford New College, London University, UK.
 B.A Hon. in Modern History, Pembroke College, Oxford University, U.K.
The model I offer my students is that of the "critical intellectual:" critically engaging with texts and the world at large means, in the words of a French philosopher I admire, "finding meaning in what seems not to hold any, finding an enigma in what seems to be common sense and finding something to be thought in what first appeared to be insignificant detail." Learning to interrogate and decipher the familiar is one of the driving principles behind critical thinking and the task of writing history. Being historically-minded means thinking about the ways we tell stories about the past, the assumptions embedded in those stories, and its effects upon the present. History is an especially important enterprise in critical thinking, as knowing about the past is essential to our ability to act as citizens.
My scholarship explores the intersections of gender and sexuality, the relation of aesthetics and politics, and the question of violence, genocide and displacement in twentieth-century France and its empire.  I am especially interested in the ways gender and sexuality both shape and are shaped by political discourses and work mostly on literature, film, and print culture. My first book, The Aesthetics of Hate (2012), examines how a group of far-right intellectuals and writers in 1930s France imagined a racialized masculinity in response to what they perceived to the "decadence" and "degeneration" of their time. They singled out "abject" figures to exclude (Jews, foreigners) and control (colonial subjects) and argued only the aesthetic, the realm of culture and literature, could provide salvation, regeneration, and purity. I analyze the mutual construction of these men's antisemitism and colonial racism and how their vision came together in fantasies of gendered and sexualized bodies. My book suggests how we may revisit the issue of fascism and its legacies.
I have recently completed a historical biography of French philosopher and novelist, Simone de Beauvoir whose prolific works have enjoyed a global audience. The biography focuses especially on the transnational (and sometimes underexamined) conversations that shaped Beauvoir's thought and the ways her feminist thought emerged and evolved in the context of a decolonizing world.
Like my first book, my current projects revisit and defamiliarize canonical objects and archives to suggest different genealogies of twentieth-century France. They offer transnational intellectual and cultural histories of the political. I am currently working on two books.   The Horror of History examines the gendered aftereffects of violence and genocide from 1954 to 1967, a “postwar” time that was rife with conflicts close and far. It analyzes how war, genocide, and displacement shaped political ideas. The book examines how a constellation of authors and artists who were exiled, migrants,  and Holocaust refugees articulated their vision with displacement and loss as their foundation; while anticolonial leftist activists and intellectuals turned to Nazism to make sense of colonial torture and internment camps. Strikingly, reimagining the political turned to a rhetoric and grammar of gender and sexuality. This grammar of the sex of violence anchored their vision in different ways. 
Feminist Troubles, is a critical history of postwar French feminist thought that takes seriously its transnational genealogies, trajectories, and returns.  It examines figures beyond the familiar canon of those identified as "French feminist thinkers," analyzes the nature of "feminist theories" that were mapped out from the 1960s to the early 1980s by paying attention to the ways sex and race infused the controversies and "scandals" that divided "French feminism" then, and that must be thought as intellectual events rather than anecdotes or aberrations.
Works in Progress
  • Book, The Horror of History: Violence, Exile Violence, and Gender in Cold War France, 1954-1967
  • Article, "A Postwar Aesthetics of Exile Displacement, Violence, and Gender in the Works of Simone de Beauvoir and Anna Langfus, 1960-1963"
  • Article, co-authored with Daniel Lee (University of Sheffield): "Looking for Love: Personal Ads, Gender and Politics in La Gerbe during the Occupation."
  • With Jeffrey Jackson (Rhodes College), special issue on Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore.
Select Publications
The Aesthetics of Hate: Far-Right Intellectuals, Antisemitism, and Gender in 1930s France, Stanford University Press, 2012.

Simone de Beauvoir: Creating a Feminist Existence in the World, Oxford University Press, 2016.
  • ""My Body was Aflame with his Memory:" War, Gender, and Colonial Ghosts in Hiroshima Mon Amour, 1959." forthcoming in Gender & History (2016): special issue on "Gender and Global Warfare in the 20th Century."
  • co-authored with Dr. Anupama Arora, "Bhangra Blues: Melancholy, Memory, and History in Gurinder Chadha's I'm British But," The Journal of Post-Colonial Writing Vol. 47 #1 (February 2011): 89-100.

  • "Fascist Fantasies of Perversion and Abjection: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the Interwar Far-Right," Proceedings of the 2009 Western Society for French History, October 2010.

  • "From Revolution to Literature: The Political Aesthetic of the Young New Right, 1936-1937,"Sites. Journal of Contemporary French and Francophone Studies, special issue: "French Studies Today," Vol. 10 #1 (January 2006), 85-95.

  • National Endowment for the Humanities Faculty Award, 2017-2018 for the project "The Horror of History"
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend, Summer 2016
  • Research Fellowship, ICI-Berlin:  Institute of Cultural Inquiry / KulturLabor (Berlin, Germany), 2011-2012 & Summer 2013 (declined)

  •  Visiting Summer Fellow, Institute of Advanced Study (Princeton, New Jersey), Summer 2010

  •  Resident Summer Fellow, Center for Advanced Holocaust Study, Holocaust Museum (Washington, D.C.), Summer 2007

  •  Faculty Fellow, Hess Seminar, Center for Advanced Holocaust Study, Holocaust Museum (Washington, D.C.), January 2005 
  • College of Liberal Arts Award in Excellence in Research and Scholarship, TAMU-CC, 2014-2015
  • Clark-McClintock-GershEnson Memorial Fund, History Department, Rutgers University, Spring 2011

  •  University Research Enhancement Grant, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, 2009-2010

  •  College of Liberal Arts Research Grant, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, 2009-2010, 2010-2011, 2015-2016

  •  Teaching Excellence Award, Texas A&M University System, Fall & Spring 2010


 Undergraduate Courses
 The Enlightenment & the French Revolution
 1815-1914 Europe
 20th c. Modern Europe (women & gender, colonialism, Holocaust)
 Modern France
 Western Civilization survey
 History of Sexuality in the Modern West
Graduate courses:
 The Archive
 Gender, Sexuality, and Imperialism
 Post 1945 France