Sara Phenix

Assistant Professor, French & Italian

3129 JFSB


Research Areas: , , ,

Teaching Experience

I aim to break down the language/literature divide in every course I teach. For me, context is key for language, civilization, and literature courses: literature is as necessary for language acquisition as grammar mastery is for literary analysis. Having such linguistically advanced students at BYU means that the level of discourse in foreign language classrooms is very high.


My research is largely focused on the French novel and nineteenth-century women’s fashion. Rather than focusing on fashion as strictly social currency, I investigate its role in the major scientific debates about evolution, fertility, and women’s sexuality. My scholarship explores the investment of nineteenth-century authors in these debates.

Selected Publications

“Double Entendre: The Aural Poetics of Zola’s La Curée.” Nineteenth-Century French Studies. Vol 47.3, 2019. 165-81.

“Suture Self: Constructing Femininity in Edmond de Goncourt’s Chérie.” Romance Notes. Vol. 59.1, 2019. 185-95.

“Ladies’ Choice: Prehistory and Sexual Selection in Au Bonheur des dames.” Dix-Neuf. 2021. DOI: 10.1080/14787318.2020.1859345

“The Novel in a Corset: Maupassant, Monstrosity, and the Short Story.” Nineteenth-Century French Studies. Article accepted. Publication forthcoming in fall/winter 2021.


My main citizenship focus is as the French 321/322 course coordinator. I also direct the Grammar Labs for the 321/322 sequence. In these capacities, I have worked to implement innovative writing and debate exercises designed to bolster our students’ proficiency. Our students’ experience in these classes hugely influences whether they will become French majors or minors; helping them strive for the superior level better prepares them for the rigors of advanced French courses.

Citizenship assignments

  • European Studies Executive Committee member
  • Global Women’s Studies affiliate
  • French 321/322 course coordinator
  • French 321/322 Grammar Lab supervisor