Renée Altergott

Graduate Student
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Renée Altergott is a 7th year PhD candidate in the French Department and currently a PIIRS Graduate Fellow (2020-2021). She obtained an M.A. in French Literature from the Université Paris-Diderot in 2013, and a B.A. in French and Music Composition from Northwestern University in 2008. Her research examines nineteenth- and twentieth-century French and Francophone literature through the lens of media history and sound studies. Her dissertation, “Phonographic Imaginaries: The Birth of Sound Recording in France and the French Colonial Empire,”establishes a new media history of the phonograph in France and its colonial empire. Current chapters explore the link between the development of the commercial music industry, the literary elaboration of sound recording as a narrative device, and the imperial propaganda that proposed to use the phonograph as a tool for the further colonization of sub-Saharan Africa. Renée’s work has appeared in Women in French StudiesÉtudes Francophones, and French Studies. She has co-organized an IHUM reading group for the 2020-2021 academic year, “Imperial Sound Media,” that expands upon the scope of her thesis to consider later sound media and global empires.