Skip to Content

### French education ministry bestows knighthood upon Fette

Courtesy of Julie Fette

By Julie Fette

On 3/5/24 at 9:53 pm

Julie Fette, a French Studies associate professor, was honored as a knight in the Order of the French Academic Palms, known as the Ordre des Palmes académiques, by the French Ministry of National Education on July 14, 2023, Bastille Day, a significant French national holiday.

As per the French Embassy in Houston, this recognition is bestowed in acknowledgment of an individual’s merit, talent, and exceptional contributions to the dissemination of French culture.

Fette shared that her interest in French studies during her graduate studies stemmed from its interdisciplinary nature. Her research for her dissertation delved into the topics of racism and antisemitism within French professions like law and medicine, which later culminated in her book titled “Exclusions: Practicing Prejudice in French Law and Medicine, 1920–1945.”

During that period in France, marked by significant immigration, there were instances where non-French individuals aspiring to become doctors or lawyers faced discrimination. Fette remarked, “The French decided, ‘Well, maybe we don’t want naturalized citizens to be doctors or lawyers.’”

Currently, Fette is involved in teaching a course on French children’s literature and an introductory class on French society and culture. She is also in the process of writing a book that explores the representation of gender in contemporary children’s literature.

Reflecting on her research, Fette expressed her hopes for more progressive and egalitarian representations in modern literature but noted that there is still progress to be made. She remarked, “I don’t think it’s particularly French … I think if I took a cold hard look at American children’s literature, I would probably find some similar things.”

Elizabeth Pan, a junior at Sid Richardson College, has collaborated with Fette on research related to French children’s literature and is currently enrolled in a course focusing on French literature for children and teenagers.

Pan highlighted Fette’s dedication to studying gender portrayals in literature to enhance inclusivity, especially for younger audiences who are in the process of understanding gender stereotypes.

Moreover, Moramay López-Alonso, a history and economics professor, along with a management studies lecturer, partnered with Fette on an online Coursera course centered on America through the eyes of foreign learners.

López-Alonso praised Fette’s collaborative approach, emphasizing the freedom she provided in developing the course content. The collaboration spanned seven months and resulted in a rich and engaging learning experience.

A student of Fette’s, William Tsai, credited her mentorship for inspiring his pursuit of a major in French studies and opening up new research opportunities. Tsai, a senior at Will Rice College, commended Fette for her passion for research and teaching, noting the profound impact she has had on the growth of the French department at Rice University over the past three years.

Enjoy what you’re reading? Sign up for our newsletter