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Sophie Vasset

Visiting Faculty, English

Sophie Vasset, Associate Professor of English, is a health humanities scholar who focuses on the relationship between medicine and literature in eighteenth-century Britain. She is the author of The Physics of Language in Roderick Random in 2009, and Décrire, Prescrire, Guérir,  winner of the research Prize of SEAS/AFEA in 2012. Vasset is also the co-editor of several collections on eighteenth-century studies relating to the history of the body, medicine, literature and recycling.

Vasset’s new monograph, titled Murky Waters: British Spas in Eighteenth-century Medicine and Literature (Manchester University Press, 2022) challenges the refined image of spa towns in eighteenth-century Britain by unveiling darker and more ambivalent contemporary representations. She is also co-editing an issue of Histoire, Médecine et Santé on “Water Medicine” with François Zanetti to be published in 2023. They received a grant (Émergences Idex 2021) to work on a digital humanities project on mapping the primary sources on mineral waters.

Vasset’s work in health humanities is committed to promote intercultural dialogue the American, English and French perspective on medicine, health and culture. Since 2014, she has been an active member of the steering committee of “The Person in Medicine Institute”, an Idex interdisciplinary center at Université Paris-Cité. She was the guest editor of Études Anglaise for a special issue on COVID-19, “Epidemic Notions” which examine the shifts in interpretative frameworks in the humanities within the turmoil of the outbreak of the pandemic. She is currently a visiting scholar at the College of Social Science and Humanities at Northeastern University in the Spring semester 2022. In Vasset and Altschuler received a CNRS exchange fellowship for “Health Humanities beyond the Nation: Examining the Field in Cross-Cultural Perspective.”

In 2019-21, Vasset was awarded a 2-year research sabbatical by the National Center for Research (CNRS). She was the recipient of the “Palmes Académiques” honorary decoration from the French Ministry of National Education in 2019, and was awarded a ASECS/Clark Library grant in 2008, and a Fulbright Fellowship at UCLA in 2005. She received her Phd on Eighteenth-century medicine and literature in Britain from Université Paris-Diderot in 2006. She served as co-director of the Fondation des États-Unis, Cité internationale universitaire de Paris from 2014 to 2021.

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  • Education

    2006, Ph.D., Université Paris-Diderot