Department of Germanic Studies and the College
Sophie Salvo’s research focuses on German literature and culture from the 19th to the 21st century, with a specialization in gender studies. Her current book project traces the history of “women’s” or “gendered” language as a concept. She examines theories of “women’s language” in texts from a variety of times and places, written in German, French, and English, including 17th-century ethnographies of the Americas; 18th-century grammars; 19th-century philology and anthropology; early 20th-century Modernist literature; and late 20th-century and 21st-century feminist theory. She is interested in uncovering the origins of ideas about gender that are now accepted as commonplace, such as the assumption that men and women speak differently or that gender identity is (or should be) reflected in language. She is also interested in the representation of women in intellectual history, particularly the philosophical contributions of theological texts by women from the 19th and 20th centuries.
Salvo holds a BA in comparative literature from Harvard University. She received her PhD in Germanic languages from Columbia University and also completed a concentration in comparative literature and society.