Masano Yamashita
Associate Professor

HUMN 329

Office Hours:
2024 on research leave


BA., King’s College London

Ph.D., New York University

Masano Yamashita was born in Japan and educated in the United States, France, and England. Her research focuses on eighteenth-century French literature and social thought. Yamashita’s first book, Jean-Jacques Rousseau face au public: problèmes d’identité (Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment, 2017) studies the communicative, social and literary issues that accompany the development of early modern information societies. Yamashita interrogates the complexities of writing and performing philosophy in an emergent culture of public information and distracting “noise.”  Her current book project investigates the relationship between chance, accidents and inequality in eighteenth-century France.

Other research projects have appeared in L’Esprit CréateurEuropean Drama and Performance StudiesForum for Modern Language StudiesOrbis litterarum, as well as in edited volumes bearing on themes such as play, theatricality, the body, and the interrelation between nature and culture.

She was a recipient of a Center for the Humanities and the Arts Faculty Fellowship in 2016 and was recently elected to the MLA French Eighteenth-Century Division Executive Committee (2018-2023). She currently serves as vice president of the Society of Eighteenth-Century French studies and is President of the Rousseau Association. She also works as a member of the editorial board of Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment and the advisory board of Eighteenth-Century Studies.

Masano enjoys teaching the French Revolution and human rights, French fashion and culture, the female Bildungsroman, as well as contemporary cinema and coming-of-age narratives.



Jean-Jacques Rousseau face au public: problèmes d'identité (Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment, 2017.

Frameworks of Time in Rousseau, eds. Jason Neidleman and Masano Yamashita, Routledge Studies in Cultural History,  2023.

Recent Articles and Book Chapters:

“Playthings of Fortune: Lots and Inequality in l’abbé Prévost,” Modes of Play in Eighteenth-Century France, eds. Reginald McGinnis and Fayçal Falaky, Bucknell University Press, 2021,  p. 64-81.

“Selfhood in the Early Finance Capitalism of Manon Lescaut,” Forum for Modern Language Studies, vol. 56, issue 4, 2020, p. 468-480.

“Destiny’s Child: Accidents and Repetition in La vie de Marianne,” Orbis Litterarum, vol. 75, issue 3, June 2020, p. 103-113.

Julie, or the New Eloise,” in The Cambridge Guide to the Eighteenth-Century Novel1660-1820, ed. April London, Cambridge University Press, in production

“Laconism and the Literary Politics of the Social Contract,” Silence, implicite et non-dit chez Rousseau/ Silence, the implicit and the unspoken in Rousseau, ed. Brigitte Weltman-Aron, Ourida Mostefai, Peter Westmoreland, Boston/Leiden: Brill, 2020.

“Fate and Consolation in the Late Rousseau,” Sens Public, September issue, 2019. accessible at

“Rousseau and the mechanical life,” Rousseau, between Nature and Culture: Philosophy, Literature and Politics, eds. Anne Deneys-Tunney and Yves Zarka. Boston, MA: De Gruyter, 2016, p. 67-81.

“Poverty as Spectacle: Marivaux’s Beggars and Chance in Enlightenment Paris,” L’Esprit Créateur, 55.3 (Fall 2015): p. 59-71.

“Mute Performances: Silence and Deafness in Diderot’s Theater Criticism,” European Drama and Performance Studies, n˚2, Paris, Classiques Garnier, 2014, p. 307-325.

“Le philosophe et ses masques: statut du visible et mise en scène de la sincérité chez Rousseau,” Rousseau et le spectacle, eds. Jacques Berchtold, Christophe Martin, Yannick Séïté. Paris: Armand Colin, 2014, p. 371-385.

“Love as habituation in Rousseau,” L’Esprit Créateur, 52.4 (Winter 2012), p. 55-67.

“The Revolutionary Return of the Orator: Public Space and the Spoken Word in the Work of Jean-Jacques Rousseau,” Rousseau and Revolutioneds. Holger Ross Lauritsen and Mikkel Thorup. London and New York: Continuum Studies on Political Philosophy, now Bloomsbury Press, 2011, p. 161-174. 

Blog: Rousseau and the perils of public addressMay 3, 2017