Eliza Smith, PhD

Eliza Smith
Office: Founders Hall 140

Assistant Professor
Assistant Professor, French

  • PhD and MA, University of California Santa Barbara, French Literature
  • Graduate Certificate in Applied Linguistics
  • BA, SUNY Binghamton, French literature

Eliza Jane Smith, PhD, joined the faculty in 2019. She teaches French language at all levels and offers courses in literature, culture, and Business French. Her research focuses on slang (“argot”) in 19th century French literature, memoirs, and reference works, specifically the ways in which writers appropriated and (re)branded the language throughout the 19th century. Additional areas of expertise include sociolinguistics and second-language acquisition.

Scholarly Work

Professor Smith’s research focuses on questions of language and identity in 19th-century French literature. She is currently working on a book project tentatively entitled, Literary Slumming: Argot and the Criminal Classes in the Nineteenth Century, which is a comprehensive study of argot and its speakers in modern French literary culture. Literary Slumming looks at the ways in which upper-class writers, lexicographers, and literary critics participated in a kind of second degree “slumming” through the appropriation and manipulation of criminal and popular culture in written texts, and reveals the ways in which the practice of literary slumming constitutes a larger sociolinguistic trend. Other research has been published or is forthcoming in journals such as Nineteenth-Century French Studies and Médias 19. She recently contributed an article on teaching Francophone and French culture through project-based learning for a volume entitled, Nontraditional and Innovative Approaches to Teaching Culture in the French Language Classroom (Lever Press).

Areas of Interest

Professor Smith’s research and teaching interests include 18th, 19th, and early 20th – century French literature; Business French; Crime fiction; Francophone and French cinema; Sociolinguistics; and second-language acquisition. She also teaches all levels of French language.