Janell Watson, professor of French in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, has received the university’s 2017 Alumni Award for Excellence in Research.
Sponsored by the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, the Alumni Award for Excellence in Research is presented annually to as many as two Virginia Tech faculty members who have made outstanding research contributions.
Watson is a skilled scholar in what is deemed contemporary “French theory,” which is made up of transdisciplinary theoretical analysis that combines language, culture, politics, psychoanalysis, ethnography, information technology, political ecology, and globalization. Having published two books covering the topic of French thought, she has proven herself a leading researcher in the field.
In her most recent publication, Watson established herself as an expert on Felix Guattari, a psychoanalyst, philosopher, and social activist. Her first book discusses literature and material culture and showcases her comprehensive analysis of theoretical literature and cultural studies.
Moreover, Watson has published work featuring other leading intellectuals in the French tradition. These include feminist Julia Kristeva, psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan, gender theorist Judith Butler, philosopher Roberto Esposito, and philosopher Michel Serres. This work has allowed her to appear in a range of fields, from gender studies to biblical studies and from continental philosophy to political theory.
Watson is currently a member of the editorial board of the international journal Deleuze Studies and frequently serves as a keynote speaker and workshop leader at the journal’s annual international conferences. She has received several grants to fund her work and has continually presented and organized conferences surrounding her research.