Robert Ferguson headshot

Robert Gary Ferguson

Unit: College of Arts and Sciences
Department: Department of French Language and Literatures
Office location and address
345 New Cabell hall
1605 Jefferson Park Ave
Charlottesville, Virginia 22904
Bachelor of Arts (B.A., Hons, First Class), Durham University, U.K.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Durham University, U.K.

Gary Ferguson is a specialist of the literature and culture of sixteenth-century France, and of early modern Europe more broadly. His research focuses on the areas of gender, sexuality, and queer studies; women’s writing; and the history of religion.

His latest book, Same-Sex Marriage in Renaissance Rome: Sexuality, Identity, and Community in Early Modern Europe, explores the case of a group of mostly Iberian men living in Rome, executed in 1578 for reportedly having celebrated weddings between themselves at the church of Saint John at the Latin Gate. Meticulously analyzing the available sources, including the Travel Journal of the French essayist Michel de Montaigne, Ferguson examines what they reveal about the individuals involved, their actions, how they might fit into a history of marriage, and their import for the history of sexuality. An article about the book was published by The Conversation; a longer interview can be found on the NOTCHES blog.

Ferguson’s previous book, Queer (Re)Readings in the French Renaissance: Homosexuality, Gender, Culture (2008), was among the first to bring questions from the history of sexuality and queer theory to bear on both canonical and lesser-known literary texts from sixteenth-century France. Ferguson has also published extensively on women writers, notably Marguerite de Navarre and Anne de Marquets, and on religious questions.

Before moving to UVA in 2015, he taught at the University of Delaware, where he held the Elias Ahuja Professorship of French.

FREN 3032: Text, Image, Culture
Credits: 3
In this course, students will discover and engage critically with a broad sampling of French and Francophone cultural production representing a variety of periods, genres, approaches, and media. Students will read, view, write about and discuss a range of works that may include poetry, painting, prose, music, theater, films, graphic novels, photographs, essays, and historical documents. Prerequisite: FREN 3031.
FREN 3050: History and Civilization of France: Middle Ages to Revolution
Credits: 3
The social, political, economic, philosophical, and artistic developments in France from the Middle Ages to the French Revolution. Prerequisite: FREN 3032.
FREN 4585: Advanced Topics in Cultural Studies
Credits: 3
Advanced seminar in French and Francophone literature and culture. Topics vary. May be repeated for credit for different topics. Prerequisite: At least one literature or culture course beyond FREN 3032.
FREN 4998: Pre-Thesis Tutorial
Credits: 3
Preliminary research for thesis. Prerequisite: Admission to the Distinguished Majors Program.
FREN 4999: Thesis
Credits: 3
Composition and defense of thesis. Prerequisite: FREN 4998 and good standing in the Distinguished Majors Program. Note: The prerequisite to all 5000-level literature courses is two 4000-level literature courses with an average grade of B, or the instructor's permission.
FREN 5520: Topics in Sixteenth-Century Literature
Credits: 3
Topics may include Montaigne, the European novella, poetic recreations of the ancients, literary Lyon, and Rabelais and his world.
FREN 8520: Seminar in Sixteenth-Century Literature
Credits: 3
(a) Rabelais. (b) Montaigne.
FREN 9999: Dissertation Research
Credits: 1–12
For doctoral dissertation, taken under the supervision of a dissertation director.

Vice-President of the Société française d’Étude du Seizième Siècle (2009-)
Comité de lecture, Seizième Siècle (2009-)
Series Editor, with Meredith K. Ray, The Early Modern Exchange, University of Delaware Press (2015-)
Member of Council of the Sixteenth Century Society and Conference (2015-2017)
International Expert, AERES – Agence d’évaluation de la recherche et de l’enseignement supérieur (2010)
Member of the Delegate Assembly, Modern Language Association of America (2008-2010)
University of Delaware, General University Research Grant (2010)
Folger Institute, Washington D.C., Grant-in-Aid (1992)
National Endowment for the Humanities, Summer Stipend (1992)
University of Delaware, General University Research Grant (1992)
British Academy, Three Year Major Studentship (1985-1988)