Michaela Hulstyn earned her Ph.D. in French from Stanford in 2016. She is currently preparing her dissertation, Unselfing Interpreted: Altered States and the Ethics of Insight, for publication as a book. This project analyzes the narrative models that writers use to describe unselfing (self-transcendence and self-loss) in French-language texts from around the world. It focuses on twentieth-century writers such as Paul Valéry, Charlotte Delbo, Abdelkebir Khatibi, and Simone Weil. Michaela’s work shows that while reducing the claims of the self may make someone more empathetic, it often does little to make that person more altruistic. Her research has been published in Modern Language Notes and Women in French Studies, among other places.
Michaela knew that she wanted to study French literature after she accidentally enrolled in an absurdist theater class as a freshman at UCLA. (It didn’t hurt that she also met her future husband in that class!) She subsequently completed a direct exchange year at the beautiful Université de Lyon II and graduated with a double major in French and Francophone Studies and Comparative Literature (French, Arabic, English).
Before joining SLE, Michaela taught courses at Stanford in the Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages on subjects such as the burden of ethical commitment in Francophone literature, the role of theory in Comparative Literature, and the representation of race, gender, and religion in French film on immigration. She has also taught a range of French language courses as well as a seminar called “What is Literature for?" at Hope House, a rehabilitation facility near her home in Redwood City.
When she is not teaching or writing, Michaela enjoys torturing herself with various forms of competitive exercise, watching Giants baseball, and camping with her pack (her goofy dogs, her husband Matt, and her delightful daughter Hadley).