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Photo of McClure, Ellen

Ellen McClure, PhD


Director, Institute for the Humanities

French and Francophone Studies; History

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers


Building & Room:

1613 UH


601 S. Morgan St.

Office Phone:

(312) 996-5076

About Heading link

Ellen McClure is Professor of French and History at UIC. Her work centers on the intersection of religion, history, and literature in early modern France, and she is the author of Sunspots and the Sun King: Sovereignty and Mediation in Seventeenth-Century France (University of Illinois Press, 2006) and The Logic of Idolatry in Seventeenth-Century French Literature (Boydell & Brewer, 2020). She is also the co-editor, with Hélène Bilis, of Teaching French Neoclassical Tragedy (MLA Publications, 2021). With Feisal Mohamed and Marcus Keller, she is the co-editor of the book series Rethinking the Early Modern at Northwestern University Press. From 2018-2021, she served as the founding director of the Mellon-funded Engaged Humanities Initiative, which supports undergraduate coursework and research that connects humanities work with the larger community, in Chicago and beyond. Since 2023, she has served as Director over UIC’s Institute for the Humanities.

Selected Publications Heading link

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  • Early Modern: Dieu, mais comme étoile mourante” on the website edited by Hélène Merlin-Kajman, (March 2015)
  • “Le monde de La Fontaine: Oeuvre sans auteur?” XVIIe siècle 258:1 (janvier-mars 2013): 65-74.
  • Religion and Representation in Marguerite de Navarre’s Heptaméron,” in Sacred and Secular Agency in Early Modern France: Fragments of Religion, ed. Sanja Perovic. New York: Continuum, 2012, 52-67.
  • “Neo-Stoicism and the Spectator in Corneille’s Horace,” EMFStudies in Early Modern France, vol. 13 (2010), 144-158 . (PDF)
  • “Cartesian Modernity and the Princesse de Clèves.” Seventeenth-Century French Studies 29 (2007): 73-80. (PDF)
  • “Lieu Tenant: Diplomacy and Dementia in Racine’s Andromaque.” Intersections: Actes de Hanover (2005): 237-245.
  • Sovereign Love and Atomism in Racine’s Bérénice.” Philosophy and Literature 27 (2003): 304-317. (PDF)

Notable Honors

2009-2010, Institute for the Humanities Fellow, University of Illinois at Chicago

2000-2001, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship (Newberry Library), Mellon Foundation


PhD in Comparative Literature, University of Michigan, 1997
BA, with highest honors, Swarthmore College, 1990

Selected Presentations

Invited Presentations (selected)

  • Inaugural lecture in the CAHSA (Collectif d'Anthropologie et d'Histoire du Spirituel et des Affects) online lecture series, "Idolatry as the Dark Matter of Seventeenth- Century France," June 13, 2019.
  • Faculty panel, Graduate Student Conference on "The Weight of Antiquity: Early-Modern Classicisms," University of Chicago, February 23, 2019.
  • “The Logic of Idolatry in Seventeenth-Century French Theater: Molière and Racine,” at the Interdisciplinary Approaches to Modern France and the Francophone World workshop at the University of Chicago, October 6, 2017.
  • "Diplomacy and the Donkey in La Fontaine's Le pouvoir des fables," at the Theater and Early Modern French Diplomacy: From Secret Deals to Public View" symposium at the University of Southern California, October 20-21, 2016.
  • "The Logic of Idolatry: Mind-Body Dualism and Human Creation in Descartes' Meditations" "Truth, Falsehood and Fraud" Lecture Series at Indiana University Bloomington, September 18, 2014.
  • "Idolatry, Authorship and Legitimacy in Seventeenth-Century France," University of Buffalo Early Modern Research Workshop, September 12, 2013.

Conference Presentations (selected)

  • Roundtable participant, “Why Study the 17th Century?” SE17 annual conference, Charlotte, NC, October 10-12, 2019.
  • "Cross-species Empathy in d'Aulnoy's Le Prince Marcassin," NASSCFL annual conference, Salt Lake City, May 16-18, 2019.
  • Chair and organizer, roundtable on "Can or Should There Be a 'Religious Turn' in Seventeenth-Century French Studies?" MLA annual conference, Chicago, IL, January 5, 2019.
  • “The Exemplary Cardinal d’Ossat: Diplomatic Agency in Early Modern France,” ACLA annual conference, Los Angeles, March 30-April 1, 2018.
  • Roundtable participant, Newberry Library Symposium and Research Methods Workshop for Graduate Students on “The Enlightenment Creation of World Religion: Bernard and Picart’s Cérémonies et coutumes religieuses,” March 15-17, 2018.
  • "Writing Legitimacy: Cardinal d'Ossat and Absolved/Absolute Monarchy," RSA annual conference, Chicago, IL, March 30-April 1 2017.
  • "The Evolution of Idolatry in Early Modern France," Roundtable on Belief, Communities, and Politics in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century France, MLA Philadelphia, PA, January 6, 2017.
  • "L'Astrée and French Religious History from the Fifth to the Twenty-First Centuries," American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA) annual conference, Seattle, March 28, 2015.
  • "Relationality, Authorship, and Liberty in La Fontaine's Les Amours de Psyché et de Cupidon", NASSCFL annual conference, Chapel Hill, NC, May 15 2014.
  • "The Letter of the King: Diplomatic Representation in France and Siam," MLA, Chicago, January 12, 2014.