Michigan State University
Michigan State University
Romance and Classical Studies
Jena Whitaker
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Jena Whitaker

Jena Whitaker Portrait


Ph.D., 2018, Johns Hopkins University
M.A., 2011, Florida State University


Assistant Professor of French

In 2004-2005, Jena traveled abroad to Lyon, France with the Rotary International Youth Exchange Program, serving as a student ambassador of the United States. Her experience overseas ignited a passion for the French language and culture and inspired her to pursue a master's and doctoral degree. In the fourth year of her doctoral program, she studied abroad in Paris at the École Normale Supérieure and took seminars at the Sorbonne and Paris VIII.
Before coming to MSU, Jena taught French as a graduate teaching assistant at Florida State University and the Johns Hopkins University. Her fields of interest are translation theory, nineteenth and twentieth-century French poetry, the birth of modernity, and the intersections of philosophy and literature. In 2015, she participated in the NEH Summer Institute “What is Gained in Translation? Learning How to Read Translated Texts” at Kent State University. From 2015-2016, she held a Denis Family Graduate Curatorial Fellowship and worked as a co-curator of the exhibition Edgar Allan Poe in Baltimore and Beyond: Highlights from the Susan Tane Collection. She has presented her research at national and international conferences and has published in Modern Language Notes and Résonances de Blanchot.