Dr Karine Zbinden

Karine Zbinden

Senior French Lectrice

Telephone: (0114) 222 2865
Email: k.zbinden@sheffield.ac.uk


BA and MA (University of Lausanne, Switzerland in English, French and Russian, mention Bien), PhD (University of Sheffield)


I grew up and was educated in Lausanne, Switzerland. I studied English, French and Russian at the University of Lausanne and enjoyed a semester abroad at the University of Saint-Petersburg, Russia. I also worked as Lectrice at the University of Kent at Canterbury for a year during my undergraduate studies. I came to Sheffield in 1997 to study for my PhD at the Bakhtin Centre. I later did a postdoc at the Bakhtin Centre from 2001 to 2004 and joined Oxford Brookes University as Early Career Fellow in 2004. I started working in the French Department here at Sheffield in 2008 as Senior Lectrice.

Research Interests

  • Critical Theory
  • The cross-cultural transmission of the works of Mikhail Bakhtin
  • An intellectual biography of Tzvetan Todorov, exploring how his thought of the past thirty years relates to his earlier, structuralist work, and how he reinvigorates the humanist agenda for our own time.
  • European and French Intellectual History and Translation and the Cross-Cultural Transmission of Ideas
  • The Cold War and its Impact on European Intellectual History

Current and Recent Research Projects

  • Tzvetan Todorov, Humanist
  • In March 2016, I conducted an interview (with Professor Henk de Berg, German) with Tzvetan Todorov, one of the world’s foremost public intellectuals. Todorov’s critical interventions cover an astounding range of topics, from narratology to the French Occupation, from painting to politics, and from Enlightenment philosophers such as Rousseau, Constant and Montesquieu to current affairs. His more recent work focusses on the internal threats to democracy and on the rise of Islamophobia.
  • I am co-editor (with Professor Henk de Berg) of the forthcoming collection of essays Tzvetan Todorov: Thinker, Critic, Humanist.
  • In March 2015, I co-organised (with Professor Henk de Berg) a highly successful international colloquium on Tzvetan Todorov (https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/slc/research/clusters/intelhist).
  • I am a member of the Intellectual History and Politics Cluster at the University of Sheffield (https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/slc/research/clusters/intelhist) and of the Cultures of the Cold War Network (http://www.coldwarcultures.group.shef.ac.uk/members/)

Key Recent Publications

  • Bakhtin between East and West: Cross-cultural Transmission (Oxford: Legenda, 2006)
  • ‘Tzvetan Todorov: The Replacement of Ethics by Aesthetics’, The Canadian Review of Comparative Literature, 31. 2 (June – July 2004) (special issue)
  • ‘La Quadrature du Cercle Bakhtine: traductions, influences et remises en contexte’, Les Cahiers du CTL, 45 (2005), edited by Irene Weber-Henking and Karine Zbinden
  • ‘Eloge de la nuance: un entretien avec Tzvetan Todorov, précédé d’une introduction en français et en anglais’, in La Revue canadienne de littérature comparée/The Canadian Review of Comparative Literature 29: 2– 3
  • ‘The Bakhtin Circle and Translation’, Yearbook of English Studies 36 (2006),157–67: I was invited to contribute to this issue on Translation by the editor, Nicola Bradbury
  • ‘Du dialogisme à l’intertextualité: une relecture de la réception de Bakhtine en France (1967–1980)’, Slavica occitania 17 (2003), 207–224
  • ‘In Praise of Nuance: An Interview with Tzvetan Todorov’, Salmagundi 140–141 (2004), 3–26
  • ‘De l’humaniste critique au critique-écrivain: Tzvetan Todorov et le « récit exemplaire »’, Variations 10 (2003), 167–179
  • ‘Mikhaïl Bakhtine et le Formalisme russe : une reconsidération de la théorie du discours romanesque’, “Le Discours sur la langue en URSS à l’époque stalinienne (épistémologie, philosophie, idéologie)”, Proceedings of Les Fondements philosophiques, épistémologiques et idéologiques du discours sur la langue en Union Soviétique, 1917-1950, Crêt-Bérard, Switzerland, 5-7 juillet 2002, organised by Prof. Patrick Sériot, University of Lausanne, Les Cahiers de l’ILSL 14 (2003), 339–353

Full List of Publications



  • MA FRE6653-54


  • Travaux Pratiques for FRE109-110, FRE201-202 and FRE301-302