Professor of French Studies Jean-Vincent Blanchard has been named the next associate provost of academic programs, beginning July 1. His predecessor in the role, Professor of Linguistics K. David Harrison, will return to his faculty position.
Blanchard joined Swarthmore's faculty in 1997 and is the author of three books: Éminence: Cardinal Richelieu and the Rise of France (Bloomsbury, 2011), At the Edge of the World: The Heroic Century of the French Foreign Legion (Bloomsbury, 2017), and L’optique du discours au XVIIe siècle: De la rhétorique des jésuites au style de la raison moderne (Presses de l’Université Laval, 2005).
“I come to the position with a deep admiration for the history and integrity of liberal arts education,” Blanchard says. “However, development and innovation can be based only on an understanding of our traditions that is devoid of any nostalgia. One of my interests, among many, is how technology plays a dramatic role in shaping the skills of students who come to Swarthmore.”
“How do we cultivate freedom of the mind, and of the imagination, while giving students the instruments to transform their ideas into practical and ethical solutions to the challenges they face?” he asks. “We must take the best of what we have built and move forward with an open mind and the best resources we can muster. I am delighted to play a part in this adventure at a fine institution like Swarthmore and under the leadership of Provost Sarah Willie-LeBreton.”
Blanchard is a specialist in early modern literature and culture, and his teaching also encompasses modern French literature, the philosophy and anthropology of literature, and the medical humanities. He is currently preparing a study of the architectonics of power in Louis XIV’s France.
“Jean-Vincent embodies not only good citizenship, but wise and compassionate leadership,” says Willie-LeBreton. “I’m impressed by his excitement to work with the Provost’s Office team as well as his curiosity and respect for all with the aim of serving our colleagues on the faculty and instructional staff more effectively. I am thrilled to welcome him to the office.”