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Jesse Keruskin

Profile picture for Jesse Keruskin

Contact Information

MC 158, 707 S. Mathews Avenue
Urbana, IL 61801

Office Hours

Summer 2024 (General): Please email me to set up an appointment
Summer 2024 (French 101 Online): Office Hours & Zoom Link available on Moodle
PhD Candidate, Teaching Assistant


At my childhood home in rural Pennsylvania, I spent many a night observing constellations and planets through my bedroom window and backyard telescope. My endless fascination with the mechanisms and mysteries of the natural world grew through my discovery of Rousseau’s Rêveries du promeneur solitaire and my eventual exposure to Sixteenth-century French humanist poetry, the latter of which has afforded me the opportunity to creatively explore the intersectionality and literary applications of my interests in astronomy and music. Through my studies and research in French and Francophone literatures, I have come to understand the universe as not only a linguistic and literary construct that transcends its mathematical foundation but also a dynamic landscape that can be both politically and poetically constructed and deconstructed. Outside of academics and teaching, I enjoy creative writing, drawing, collecting antiques and classical music. I also study and practice Hellenistic Astrology.

Research Interests

Sixteenth Century French Literature (with an emphasis on lyric poetry)

Early Modern Astronomy, Navigation & Cosmography

Magic (especially conceptions of Greco-Roman magical practices), Mysticism (with a focus on Ancient Greek Mystery Rites and Neoplatonism), Necromancy, Divination & Herbalism

Hellenistic & Renaissance Astrology

Philosophy of Space and Time

Classical Intertextuality



Ph.D. French Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (In Progress, 2022-Present)

A.M. French & Francophone Studies, Brown University (2022) 

M.A. French Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2020)

B.A. French, Washington & Jefferson College (2018)

French Language Exchange Program, Université Paul Valéry Montpellier III (2015-16)

Ezio Pinza Council for American Singers of Opera (EPCASO), Istituto Musicale Opitergium (2014)

Awards and Honors

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Departmental Fellowship (2023)

K.A. Looney Senior Award for Excellence in Teaching French (2023)

Graduate College Conference Presentation Award (2022)

FRIT Conference Travel Award (2022)

K.A. Looney Junior Award for Excellence in Teaching French (2020)

Minn Fellowship (2019)

Larkin Burl Price Scholarship (2018-19)

Washington & Jefferson College

A. Richard Oliver Award in French Studies (2017)

Courses Taught

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

FR 101: Beginner French I (Summer 2024)

FR 207: Writing & Grammar Workshop (Spring 2024)

FR 104: Intermediate French II (Fall 2022, Spring 2023 & Spring 2024)

Brown University

FREN 0400: Intermediate French II (Fall 2021)

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

FR 104: Intermediate French II (Spring 2020)

FR 133: Accelerated Intermediate French I (Fall 2019)

FR 103: Intermediate French I (Fall 2019)

FR 102: Beginner French II (Fall 2018 & Spring 2019)


March 2024: "Cosmography of the Necropolis: Space and Necromantic Mapping in Joachim Du Bellay's Antiquitéz de Rome," Renaissance Society of America Conference, Chicago IL

November 2022: Amy L. Clay and Jesse Marie Keruskin, "Connecting the Arts & Sciences through Renaissance & Modern Day Texts," ACTFL, Boston MA

January 2022: “‘Rome l’Univers et l’Univers Rome’: Astronomical Modeling in the Antiquitez de Rome,” MLA Conference: Joachim Du Bellay at 500 years, Washington DC

October 2021: “’La haulte Idée à mon univers mere’ : la mécanique celeste des Erreurs amoureuses,” Colloque International “Pontus de Tyard et la varietas,” Bissy-sur-Fley, Bourgogne

November 2019: “’Un dyptique de deux mondes’ : une exploration de la dichotomie céleste-terrestre dans les Hymnes de Ronsard,” Midwestern Modern Languages Association (Loyola University Chicago), Chicago IL

September 2019: “’L’étoile descendante’ : The Moon and Feminine Incompleteness in Étienne Jodelle’s Sonnets à Diane”, St. Hilda’s College, University of Oxford


March 2021: “Performance and Listening as Musical Intimacy,” Équinoxes Graduate Student Conference (“Saisir l’intime”), Brown University, Providence RI


July 2021: Introduction to Early Modern Astronomy and Astrology for FREN 1000B: “Littérature et culture: Chevaliers, sorcières, philosophes, et poètes," Brown University, Providence RI