Lecturer of French
Undergraduate Advisor for first and second year French

B.A., University of Cambridge
B.A., University of Manchester
Ph.D., Princeton University

Dr O’Brien is of mixed origin; she grew up in Belgium, bilingual (trilingual when very small), and her background has shaped a broader concern with hybridity, migrancy, cosmopolitanism, and tolerance. She has been at UBC since 2009. Before then, she taught at Princeton University, Trinity College Dublin (Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies), and University College Dublin. She has also worked in bookselling, freelance web-design, and translation.

She teaches French language, literature, and culture. Her research is on Medieval literature and culture (mainly Old French and Occitan poetry), connections between medieval and post-medieval textuality and hypertextuality, the purpose of reading and its practice in interactive communities, and the integration of teaching and research in/as learning. Her other interests (some of which conjoin her teaching and research) include speculative fictions of many forms and from many times (Medieval romance, bande dessinée and graphic novels, SF, cinema), and food.

C.V. (2014)


  • French language, literature, and culture
  • Medieval Occitan poetry
  • Medieval and Early Modern literature and culture
  • “Applied Medievalism”:
    • the integration of teaching and research in/as learning:
      translatio, translation, comparative literature, philology, and cultural studies;
      cultural literacy and literary culture
    • teaching literature and reading:
      using multiple and mixed (including digital) technologies in teaching, learning, reading and other literary activities, and research;
      reading, reception, and refashioning;
      commentary and criticism
    • practical applications and theoretical implications:
      how teaching literature helps to think about literature itself, in its broad sense and broader context;
      pre- and post-modern textuality and hypertextuality;
      feminism, gynarchism, hybridity, marginality, migrancy, cosmopolitanism, and tolerance
  • Current and past projects, publications, writing, work in progress, etc.: metametamedieval.com


Course materials produced while at UBC:

Current and past projects, publications, writing, work in progress, etc.:

Winter 2018

FREN101 Beginners' French I Sections

Basic vocabulary, the rudiments of grammar and familiarization with cultures of the French-speaking world.

Winter 2018

FREN102 Beginners' French II Sections

A continuation of FREN 101.

Winter 2018

FREN112 Elementary French II Sections

A continuation of FREN 111.

Winter 2018

FREN111 Elementary French I Sections

Continued improvement in listening, speaking, reading and writing.