Heidi Brevik-Zender

Heidi Brevik-Zender

Associate Professor, Comparative Literature/French

B.A. in French, University of California, Berkeley
Ph.D. in French Studies, Brown University

Office: HMNSS 2407
Email: hbzender@ucr.edu

Heidi Brevik-Zender is Associate Professor of French and Comparative Literature.  Her research interests are in French and Francophone literature, visual media, and material culture from the nineteenth century to the present. She has published widely on fashion in relation to a range of subjects including gender, space, the body, exile, and modernity, often taking a comparative, transnational approach.  Recent publications include an article on France and Thailand which focuses on French receptions of Thai queens’ garments from the 1860s to the 1960s, and an article examining the commodification of insurrectionary history in a contemporary Parisian menswear brand, viewed against the backdrop of Macron-era neoliberalism and the gilets jaunes (Yellow Vest) protests.  Two studies on the studio photographs of the Italian-born countess de Castiglione, one centering on the countess as a designer of interior space and the other on her use of photography as a challenge to ageism, have also appeared.  Most recently she authored the first scholarly article on Francophone Mauritian novelist Christine Duvergé, which discusses exploitative overseas labor practices of the American apparel industry.

While she continues to research in these areas Dr. Brevik-Zender’s focus has expanded to architecture and its intersections with other artforms and fields such as poetry, photography, and archeology.  Her current book project, supported by a U.K. Fulbright Visiting Professorship held at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, is on the intersections of architecture and gender (women and nonbinary individuals) in late-nineteenth-century France.

Dr. Brevik-Zender’s ongoing commitment to centering the historically invisibilized labor of women is reflected in two recently organized symposia.  In 2022, with Áine Larkin (Maynooth University, Ireland), she co-convened the symposium “Women and Early Photography.” In 2023, with Nicole Furtado (U.C. Santa Cruz), she co-organized the symposium “Representing Indigeneity, Women, and Work” at UCR’s Center for Ideas and Society.  A Mellon grant has funded a related research project on Indigenous women and labor in early photographs of Hawai‘i.

Dr. Brevik-Zender teaches courses in French, Comparative Literature, and Gender and Sexuality Studies:

  • Introduction to World Literature by Women
  • Introduction to Literature, Art, and Film by French and Francophone Women
  • Comparative Literature Capstone
  • Classical Mythology in French Literature, Art and Film
  • The Fashion of Modernity
  • French Narratives, Global Connections (Graduate Seminar)
  • Architecture, Space, Modernity (Graduate Seminar)

Dr. Brevik-Zender is co-organizer of the Global 19th Century Workshop at UCR, which supports faculty and graduate student interdisciplinary research on all aspects of the material, cultural, intellectual, and scientific intersections of practices and formations of knowledge in the long 19th century.  For more information see UCR’s Center for Ideas and Society.


Fashion, Modernity, and Materiality in France: From Rousseau to Art Deco State University of New York (SUNY) Press, 2018.

Fashioning Spaces: Mode and Modernity in Late-Nineteenth-Century Paris (University of Toronto Press, 2015).

Articles and Book Chapters:

Critiquing the Global Clothing Chain in Mauritius: Christine Duvergé’s The Lives of Loréna [Les Vies de Loréna].”  Special Issue on Fashion’s Borders. Edited by Jane Garrity and Celia Marshik. English Language Notes 60.2 (2022): 92-105.

“Time, Worn: Late Castiglione,” Special Issue on Photography and the Body, Edited by Raisa Rexer and Anne Linton. Yale French Studies 139 (2021): 47-66.

“Expanding Interiors: Architectural Photographs of the Countess de Castiglione.” In Ephemeral Exhibition Spaces. Domestic Spaces, Nations and Empires.  Eds. Dominique Bauer and Camilla Murgia.  Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2021. 77-110.

“‘Couragé et Libe®té’: The Commune de Paris 1871 Menswear Brand in the Age of the Gilets Jaunes.” In “la Commune n’est pas morte….” Special Issue edited by Robert St.Clair and Seth Whidden, Nineteenth-Century French Studies 49.3&4 (2021): 567-584.

“Crypto-colonialism, French Couture, and Thailand’s Queens:  Fashioning the Body Politic 1860-1960.” Nineteenth-Century Contexts https://doi.org/10.1080/08905495.2019.1652044.

Fashion’s Trace: The Material Eternal in Sand’s Indiana, Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, and Maupassant’s Bel-Ami.” In Fashion, Modernity, and Materiality in France: From Rousseau to Art Deco. State University of New York (SUNY) Press, 2018. 109-134.

Unpacking Texts: Émile Zola’s Pages d’Exil as Suitcase Narrative.” Nineteenth-Century French Studies 45.1-2 (2016): 82-97.

Family Matters: Mallarmé’s Gazette du monde et de la famille.” Modern Language Review 3.3 (2016): 684-702.

“Literary Representations: Fashion in the Age of Empire” A Cultural History of Dress and Fashion, The Age of Empire (Volume 5 of 6).  Editor Susan Vincent, Volume Editor, Denise Baxter.  London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2016.

“Interstitial Narratives: Rethinking the Feminine Spaces of Modernity in Nineteenth-Century French Fashion Plates.” Nineteenth-Century Contexts. 36.2 (2014): 91-123.

Fashion and Fin-de-siècle Feminisms in Rachilde’s La Jongleuse.” The French Review 87.3 (2014): 131-144.

“Writing Fashion from Balzac to Mallarmé.” Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity. Ed. Gloria Groom. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012. 36-45. (Translated in French as “Ecrire la mode, de Balzac à Mallarmé” in L’Impressionnisme et la Mode. Trans. Alice Ertaud. Ed. Gloria Groom and Guy Cogeval. Paris: Musée d’Orsay/Skira-Flammarion, 2012.)

“‘A place where we ache to go again’: Fashion and Nostalgia in Mad Men.” Lucky Strikes and a Three Martini Lunch: Thinking about Television’s Mad Men. Eds. Jennifer C. Dunn, Jimmie Manning and Danielle Stern. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012. 27-43.

“Fashion and Fractured Flânerie in Guy de Maupassant’s Bel-Ami.” DIX-NEUF, Journal of the Society of Dix-Neuviémistes. 16.2 (2012): 224-242.

“Undressing the Costume Drama: Catherine Breillat’s Une vieille maîtresse.” Adaptation. 5.2 (2012): 203-218.

“Let Them Wear Manolos: Fashion, Walter Benjamin, and Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette.” Camera Obscura. 26.3 (2011): 1-33.

“Decadent Decors and Torturous Textiles: Fashion and Interior Design in the Fin-de-siècle Novels of Rachilde.” Fashion, Interior Design and the Contours of Modern Identity. Eds. Alla Myzelev and John Potvin. Surrey, UK: Ashgate, 2010. 105-123.

“Tracking Fashions: Risking it all at the Hippodrome de Longchamp.” The Spaces and Places of Fashion, 1800-2007. Ed. John Potvin, London: Routledge, 2008. 19-33.

Awards and Honors:

2017-2018 Fulbright Scholar to the U.K. – Visiting Professorship, University of Aberdeen, Scotland

Borchard Foundation Grantee and Convener, International Colloquium in France, July 2015, Château de la Bretesche, Missillac, France

Borchard Foundation Scholar in Residence, January – May 2013, Château de la Bretesche, Missillac, France

2011-2012 University Honors Faculty Mentor of the Year

Fashioning Spaces