Déborah Blocker (Ph.D. in French Literature and Culture, Paris III, 2001) is Associate Professor of French. She specializes in the social and political history of literary practices in early modern France and Italy. Her research focuses on theater, learned societies and the development of aesthetics, relying heavily on rare books and manuscripts. Professor Blocker’s first book (Instituer un ‘art’: politiques du théâtre dans la France du premier XVIIe siècle, 2009) analyzes the development of the art of theater in France in the first half of the 17th century from a socio-political perspective. She subsequently researched the social and political circumstances in which new understandings of art emerged in the academic culture of the late Renaissance through an in-depth archival study of a Florentine academy. This book will appear as Le Principe de plaisir: savoir, esthétique et politique dans la Florence des Médicis (XVIe-XVIIe). Professor Blocker’s current research project (De la retraite au ralliement: politiques du plaisir lettré dans la France moderne, 1550-1700) seeks to contextualize the aesthetics of literary and social pleasure that flourished in 16th and 17th century France from a comparative standpoint.