Cheryl Morgan

Professor of French and Francophone Studies Cheryl Morgan presented a paper at the 43rd Annual Nineteenth-Century French Studies Colloquium, held at the University of Virginia in November. 

Morgan’s paper, “Les Rieuses de Paris, or Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” examines the meaning of the term rieuses, whose literal translation is “laughing women,” and its seemingly sudden appearance in late 19th-century Paris culture. 

Morgan explores the newly visible phenomenon of female camaraderie as manifested in practices and representations ranging from the monthly dinner club named for and founded by “les rieuses,” a group of popular Paris actresses, to a number of print and visual forms. Focusing on the contemporary vogue in real and discursive figures of laughing women, Morgan considers styles of women’s mirth to ask how they disrupted or reinforced codes governing gender and sexuality in the early French Third Republic.

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