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


Professor Wilkin specializes in intellectual history in early modern France–skepticism, stoicism, Descartes and Cartesianism–from the standpoint of feminist criticism. She also works on Counter-Reformation culture: mysticism, demonology, and missionary encounters with the native peoples of North America. She teaches francophone literature from Europe, North America, and Africa.