Sophie Chopin

Graduate Student


Sophie Chopin is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of French and Italian at Princeton University.


Originally from Paris, Sophie’s passion for language and culture led her to pursue a B.A. in English, American, and Comparative Literature at the Université de Bourgogne, in the picturesque region of Burgundy, before moving to the U.S. to pursue an M.A. in Romance Languages at Miami University, where she mainly focused on Second-Language Acquisition, Modern Fiction, and Holocaust Studies.

Her current work focuses on the intricate relationship between the concept of memory and city planning in France. This research is significantly informed by the influential work of historian Pierre Nora, who coined the term “Sites of Memory” and posited that certain places, objects, or events accumulate symbolic significance over time, embodying collective memory and shaping national identity.

Sophie’s dissertation sets out to analyze Parisian geographies and their wartime remnants as depicted in Patrick Modiano's oeuvre. Through the lens of the Nobel Prize recipient’s explorations of the city, Sophie argues that the post-1945 reshaping of the capital inadvertently contributed to the gradual fading of specific segments of the French collective memory, in particular those related to France’s responsibility during the Holocaust. Expanding beyond the mere critique of contemporary urban planning and its inclination to recreate or re-tell the past, Sophie unravels the multifaceted relationship between urban development strategies and the preservation of historical consciousness in France.

Teaching Experience

As an educator and translator for the past ten years, Sophie flourished across a spectrum of educational environments, including prestigious universities, language centers, and summer schools. Her recent roles include an appointment as a Lecturer in French at Miami University, where she also served as Director for the French division of their newly launched Writing Center.

At Princeton University, she continued to offer a comprehensive array of language and culture courses, from beginners to advanced learners of French (FRE101, FRE102, FRE107, FRE108, FRE207, Senior Thesis Seminar). Her innovative approach to pedagogy (based on literacy) translated into the creation of engaging learning experiences, extending beyond the traditional classroom setting through coordinating Princeton's language tables.

Committed to fostering inclusivity in education, Sophie served as a private tutor at the Princeton Office of Disability Services, designing a tailored French curriculum for a student unable to attend regular classes.

On Campus

As the Treasurer of the French and Francophone Society at Princeton, Sophie harnessed her organizational acumen to bring to life many on-campus events (film screenings, food tastings, discussion panels) that celebrated the richness of the Francophone heritage. She recently shared her experience in The Daily Princetonian.

In 2023, she was also appointed President and Jury Secretary in the prestigious U.S. Goncourt Prize, an international version of France’s highest award in literary fiction. As part of the Académie Goncourt’s initiative to involve university students around the world (The New Yorker’s coverage), Sophie and her team selected Haitian author Makenzy Orcel’s profound novel, “Une somme humaine,” as the winner.

She is always enthusiastic to engage in conversations and share her experiences with interested students and prospective applicants.

Selected Publications

Earthly Encounters and Temporal Sedimentation in Patrick Modiano’s Paris. Contemporary French and Francophone Studies : SITES, 25:4, 504-513, 18 Oct. 2021.

Paris, ville fantôme : l’identité française dans les romans de Patrick Modiano. FIXXION Critical Review of Contemporary French Fixxion, 0.19, 78-90, Dec. 2019. (Cited by 3)

Feedback from Students


Sophie Chopin is a wonderful instructor. I've taken a few other foreign language classes in a previous college and in high school, and nothing compares to her. She really tries to make sure you are learning the language, and somehow makes it not very hard at all. I wish she could teach all of my future French classes.”