Bruno Perreau, the Cynthia L. Reed Professor of French Studies, has been appointed by the French Prime Minister to the prestigious French Academic Palms (l’Ordre des Palmes académiques), the highest distinction for professors in France, given in recognition of exemplary academic contributions to French education and culture.
“Being named a chevalier in the Order of Academic Palms by the French Prime Minister came as a surprise,” said Perreau. “I feel very honored by such a distinction, which recognizes my effort to build a bridge between France and the U.S.”
Established by Napoleon I in 1808, membership in the Order of the French Academic Palms acknowledges the merits, talents, and exemplary activities of academics in service to French education and culture.
“Bruno is a leading figure shaping the debates about gender, sexuality, and politics in France,” said Jing Wang, interim head of Global Studies and Languages at MIT. “His early work has made major contributions to the interdisciplinary literature on adoption, both for its systematic analysis of adoption in France and for the theoretical insights it offers to those who are working in the U.S. and other social contexts.”
Perreau's recent book, "The Politics of Adoption" (MIT Press, 2014), explores the way ideas about a specifically French nature, structured by heteronormative family norms, has become essential to French citizenship. In his new book, "Queer Theory: The French Response" (Stanford University Press, October 2016), Perreau examines the return of French theory to France through public debates on marriage, education, and the globalization of sexuality. He argues that a sense of belonging is not a given, but consists of perpetual reexaminations of one's relations to multiple communities. In January 2017, he will publish another book, co-edited with Joan W. Scott: "Transformer la République" (Presses de Sciences Po).
At MIT, Perreau teaches classes on contemporary French society and culture, as well as on gender and social theory. His courses include 21G.347 (Social and Literary Trends in Contemporary Short French Fiction); 21F.321 (Childhood and Youth in French and Francophone Cultures); 21G.068J/WGS.234J (Queer France: The Invention of French Theory); and 21G.053 (Understanding Contemporary French Politic).