Jenna April Liuzzi is a doctoral candidate in the Department of French and Italian. Combining the fields of literary and cinematic studies, gender and sexuality studies, victimology, and trauma studies, her dissertation focuses on representations of female victims of sexual violence in contemporary French literature and film, most notably in formally experimental works by authors such as Virginie Despentes, Vanessa Springora, and Hélène Duffau. Jenna argues that the works she examines transmit and transform knowledge about victimhood by undermining audience expectations regarding this perennial figure. More specifically, her dissertation demonstrates how these works strategically utilize narrative, formal innovation, and aesthetics to render a nuanced and dynamic portrait of victimhood, inviting audiences to sharpen their empathetic practices. She ultimately establishes that these works are audience-oriented artifacts that unsettle in order to challenge misconceptions of the figure of the victim while underscoring the ethics and complexity of survival. Through her research, she seeks to widen public understandings of how we regard, discuss, judge, and often dismiss the accounts of those to whom sexual violence has been done.
In 2022-2023, Jenna held a Cotsen Junior Fellowship under the guidance of Professor Rentzou which allowed her to collaborate in the research, development, and implementation of a new undergraduate course (FRE 354) while strengthening her teaching skills at Princeton. For the 2023-2024 academic year, Jenna was awarded a Laurance S. Rockefeller Graduate Prize Fellowship through the University Center for Human Values (UCHV) at Princeton.
Jenna holds an M.A. in French from Princeton and an M.A. in French with a specialization in Literature from Middlebury College in Paris, France, with additional coursework completed at the Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris III. Her M.A. thesis entitled “Mais pourquoi dansez-vous, Salomé?: Une réflexion sur celle qui danse à la veille du XXe siècle,” which focuses on representations of the dancing figure of Salomé primarily evoked in works by Baudelaire, Mallarmé, Flaubert, Huysmans, Wilde, and Apollinaire, was awarded the Frieda Derdeyn Bambas Prize in French Literary Studies by the faculty at Middlebury College.
Jenna graduated summa cum laude from Agnes Scott College where she earned a B.A. in French with a minor in Art History and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. Further, she completed studies in French at the Institut d’études françaises d’Avignon, under the auspices of Bryn Mawr College in Avignon, France. Her undergraduate research culminated in a thesis that examines the treatment (and deformation) of the female body in a selection of poems from Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du mal. As an undergraduate, her work was published in The Kennesaw Tower.
In addition to her academic research, Jenna is passionate about health, wellness, and embodied movement practices. She is a classically trained ballet dancer and a certified yoga (RYT 200) and barre instructor.