Campus Box 1122
One Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
Modernism; Literary and Critical Theory; Women and Gender Studies; American
Anca Parvulescu's research and teaching interests include twentieth-century literature, modernity and modernism, literary and critical theory, narrative and the novel, and gender and feminist studies.
Her 2010 book, Laughter: Notes on a Passion (MIT Press) tells the story of a modern prohibition on laughter. The book shows how literary and philosophical texts, in dialogue with conduct books and visual culture, produce a normative aesthetics of the smiling face as an alternative to the contorted face in laughter. The book is an attempt to extricate laughter from theories of the comic, humor, jokes, the grotesque etc, and redirect our attention to the burst of laughter itself. What kind of subjects are we when we laugh?
Her second book, The Traffic in Women's Work: East European Migration and the Making of Europe (University of Chicago Press, 2014) is an intervention in the heated debate on the making and unmaking of Europe in the wake of 1989. It argues that the critical project of pluralizing Europe needs to account for the Europe brought together through the traffic in East European women. Reading recent cinematic texts that critically frame the traffic in women, the book shows that, in today’s Europe, East European migrant women are “exchanged” so they can engage in labor traditionally performed by wives within the institution of marriage. East European migrant women, alongside women from the global South, become responsible for the biopolitical labor of reproduction, whether they work as domestics, nannies, nurses, sex workers, or wives.
Anca Parvulescu’s articles are published in journals like PMLA, New Literary History, Critical Inquiry, and Camera Obscura.
Her teaching is split between the English Department and The Interdisciplinary Project in the Humanities. She offers a range of interdisciplinary courses that bring literary, visual and theoretical texts into critical dialogue.
Anca Parvulescu currently serves as Director of Graduate Studies in Comparative Literature.
- L14 E Lit 153 Literature Seminar for Freshmen: Laughter
- L93 Hum 205 Literary Modernities
- L14 E Lit 215 Introduction to Literary Study
- L93 Hum 360 The Traffic in Women and European Cinema
- L93 Hum 405 Theory and Methods in the Humanities
- L93 Hum 455 Interdisciplinary Project in the Humanities Senior Colloquium
- L14 E Lit 461 Daughters v. Mothers: Feminist Affects
- L14 E Lit 461 Figures in Literary and Critical Theory (Spring 2007)
- L14 E Lit 519 Seminar: Primitivism and Its Discontents (Spring 2008)