Robin Walz, Ph.D.
- Ph.D. History, University of California at Davis (1994)
- M.A. History, San Francisco State University (1988)
- B.A. History, Whitworth College (1979)
Bonjour! I’m pleased that you have found your way to this page. Teaching is my life vocation, and I’m pleased to have found my way to a public university such as UAS. I teach a wide array of courses, including surveys in World History, lower-division orientation seminars in the Humanities and Social Sciences, upper-division courses in the Holocaust, Modern European Intellectual History, and the History of Gender and Sexuality, and senior-level seminars on History and Popular Culture.
My areas of research specialization are modern European intellectual history and the history of popular culture in modern France. Recently, Routledge published my Modernism textbook (2nd ed., 2013) in its “Seminar Studies in History” series. I wrote “Surrealism and Film” for Oxford Bibliographies (Oxford University Press, last updated 2015). The University of California Press published my Pulp Surrealism: Insolent Popular Culture in Early Twentieth-Century Paris (2000), a groundbreaking work that bridges high-low cultural divides between French avant-garde movements and popular culture. I write scholarly essays on French crime fiction, most notably “The Rocambolesque and the Modern Enchantment of Popular Fiction” on the criminal-turned-avenger Rocambole in The Re-Enchantment of the World: Secular Magic in a Rational Age (eds. Joshua Landy and Michael Saler, Stanford University Press, 2009). I am also a great fan of bande dessinée (French comics) and recently published the article, “Putain de guerre! Teaching Jacques Tardi’s WWI Graphic Novels”, for Fiction and Film for French Historians (2014). My current book project is “Shady Detectives, Elegant Criminals, and Dark Avengers,” a cultural history of French crime writing, 1815-1950.
As a scholar of popular culture, I also make periodic contributions to trade press publications. I translated “Death of Nick Carter,” a crime parody by Surrealist Philippe Soupault, from French into English for the literary review McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, issue 24 (2007). I have also written introductions to French crime book reissues, “The Genius of Crime” for the classic 1911 French crime thriller, Fantômas by Pierre Souvestre and Marcel Allain (Dover, 2006), and “Vidocq: Rogue Cop” for the Memoirs of Vidocq: Master of Crime (AK Press, 2003). I also devour contemporary French crime fiction. Some of my favorite French polar (“hardboiled” crime) writers are Léo Malet, Didier Daeninckx, Jean-Claude Izzo, and Fred Vargas. I also have a special fondness for the St. Cyr/Kohler crime series by Canadian author J. Robert Janes, set during the Nazi Occupation of France.
Professionally, I am an active member in French historical societies, currently the Vice-President of the Western Society for French History, previously co-editor of the Journal of the Western Society for French History (2011-2015), and currently the Assistant Editor of H-France Forum (Society for French Historical Studies). I also share my scholarly interests in history and popular culture with the Juneau community, through the UAS “Evening at Egan” and “Sound + Motion” lecture series, recently “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Borg? The Ecological Imperative in the Age of Cybernetic Organisms” (2014) and “Viewing the Elephant Man” (2016). When not engaged in academic matters, for musical pleasure I play cello in the Juneau Symphony Orchestra.