Rebecca Wilkin

Professor of French

Rebecca Wilkin

Office Location: Hauge Administration Building - 222-G

  • Professional
  • Biography


  • Ph.D., University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2000
  • M.A., University of Michigan, 1996
  • B.A., Brown University, 1994

Areas of Emphasis or Expertise

  • Early modern women philosophers: Elisabeth of Bohemia, Gabrielle Suchon, Louise Dupin
  • Enlightenment political philosophy: equality, freedom, contract theory, rights
  • Early modern French philosophy: skepticism, stoicism, Cartesianism
  • History of science and medicine: imagination, melancholy, mechanism
  • Early modern French Catholicism: mysticism, mission, colonialism


  • Louise Dupin’s Work on Women: Selections, co-translated and co-edited with Angela Hunter (Oxford University Press 2023) : View Book
  • Men and Women Making Friends in Early Modern France, co-edited with Lewis Seifert (Routledge 2015) : View Book
  • Gabrielle Suchon, A Woman Who Defends All the Persons of Her Sex: Selected Philosophical and Moral Writings, co-translated and co-edited with Domna C. Stanton (University of Chicago Press 2010) : View Book
  • Women, Imagination, and the Search for Truth in Early Modern France (Ashgate Publishing Company 2008) : View Book

Selected Articles

  • "The Real Consequences of Imaginary Things: Louise Dupin’s Critique of Sexist Historiography,” with Sonja F. Ruud." Routledge Handbook of Women and Early Modern European Philosophy, edited by Karen Detlefsen and Lisa Shapiro. Routledge 2023: 533-545.
  • "Influence, impact, importance: comment ‘mesurer’ la contribution des femmes à l’histoire de la philosophie?” Repenser la philosophie au XVIIe siècle: canons et corpus, edited by Marie-Frédérique Pellegrin." Special issue of XVIIe siècle Vol. 296, 2022: 435-450.
  • "Réformez vos contrats!’: From the marriage contract to the social contract in Louise Dupin and Jean-Jacques Rousseau." Women Philosophers in Early Modern France, edited by Derval Conroy. Special issue of Early Modern French Studies Vol. 43, 2021: 88-105.
  • "Gender Equality in Cartesian Community: Descartes, Poulain de la Barre, Fontenelle." Towards an Equality of the Sexes in Early Modern France, edited by Derval Conroy. New York and London: Routledge 2021: 39-59.
  • "Feminism and Natural Right in François Poulain de la Barre and Gabrielle Suchon." The Journal of the History of Ideas Vol. 80, 2019: 227-247.
  • "The Querelle des femmes." The Cambridge History of French Thought, edited by Michael Moriarty and Jeremy Jennings. Cambridge University Press 2019: 190–197.
  • "Making Friends, Practicing Equality: The Correspondence of Elisabeth of Bohemia and René Descartes." Men and Women Making Friends in Early Modern France, Routledge 2015: 161-87.
  • "Essaying the Mechanical Hypothesis: Descartes, La Forge, and Malebranche on the Formation of Birthmarks." Early Science and Medicine: A Journal for the Study of Science, Technology and Medicine in the Pre-Modern Period Vol. 13:6, 2008: 533-67.
  • "Descartes, Individualism, and the Fetal Subject." d i f f e r e n c e s: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies Vol. 19.1, 2008: 96-127.
  • "Figuring the Dead Descartes: Claude Clerselier’s L’Homme de René Descartes (1664)." Representations Vol. 83, November, 2003: 38-66.


  • Florence Howe Award in Foreign Languages, Women’s Caucus for the Modern Languages, for “Making Friends, Practicing Equality: The Correspondence of René Descartes and Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia,” 2015
  • Society for the Study of Early Modern Women Translation or Teaching Edition Award, for Gabrielle Suchon, A Woman who Defends All the Persons of her Sex, with Domna C. Stanton, 2011
  • K. T. Tang Award For Excellence in Research 2010


Coached by Professor Wilkin in French soccer slang, the French team won the Hong International Hall World Cup.

Coached by Professor Wilkin in French soccer slang, the French team won the Hong International Hall World Cup.

Professor Wilkin teaches in four different programs at PLU: French & Francophone Studies, the International Honors program, the First Year Experience program, and Global Studies. Whether teaching verb tenses or New Wave cinema, she strives to meet her students where they are at and to provide space for their interests and knowledge to shine. They consistently appreciate the creativity, humor, and care she brings to the classroom community and to their persons.

Prof. Wilkin grew up in small-town Ohio, attended college on the East Coast, went back to the Midwest for grad school and her first job, and visited the Pacific Northwest for the first time during her campus interview at PLU in 2008. She has lived a total of five years in France at various points in her life, mostly in Provence, and so has gotten pretty good at driving little stick-shift cars around roundabouts. She used to take students to Martinique during J-Term in the French Caribbean; there, she became an expert at yelling “arrêt!” to signal her stop to bus drivers. Oh, and she once spent a summer in Quebec City.

Prof. Wilkin’s favorite things in life are friendship, family, long walks, and bougie dinners. But she spends most of her time working–the plastic is half worn off on the keyboard of the laptop she is currently writing this bio on–and so thank goodness there is joy in that too. She is immensely grateful for the intellectual freedom she enjoys in her scholarship, for the opportunity to interact with hopeful young adults on a daily basis in the classroom, and for the inspiration she gets year in and year out from PLU colleagues.

Student-Faculty Research Grants

  • Kelmer Roe Student Faculty Collaborative Research Grant ($2880), for students Kasey Gardner and Anna Nguyen, 2021-2022.
  • Kelmer Roe Student Faculty Collaborative Research Grant ($6000), with student Sonja F. Ruud, 2011-2012

Other Grants

  • NEH Translation/Edition Grant ($133,333), “An Edition and Translation of Louise Dupin’s Philosophical Treatise, The Work on Women,” with Angela Hunter, 2020-2021.
  • NEH Summer Stipend ($6000), “An Edition and Translation of Selections from Louise Dupin’s Work on Women,” 2019.
  • Harry Ransom Center Travel Grant, “Assembling Louise Dupin’s Work on Women for an Edition and Translation ($2000),” 2019.
  • Karen Hille Phillips Regency Advancement Award ($2300), “Assembling Louise Dupin’s Work on Women” Pacific Lutheran University, 2014-2015