Lecturer of 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 marginalia and romance, bande dessinée and graphic novels, SF, cinema), and food.

C.V. (2019)


(1) French language, literature, and culture

(2) Medieval French and Occitan poetry, and Medieval Studies

(3) Applied Medievalism:

  • the integration of teaching and research in/as learning:
    —translatio, translation, philology, and comparative literature
    cultural literacy and literary culture
    interactive transformative learning-centred learning and innovative sustainable knowledge-centred learning
  • teaching literature and integrated reading and writing:
    using multiple and mixed (including digital) technologies in teaching, learning, reading and other literary activities, and research
    reading, reception history, and remixing
    commentary and criticism
  • practical applications and theoretical implications:
    how teaching literature helps to think about literature itself, in its broad sense and broader context
    culturally-enriched language-learning
    feminism, marginality, hybridity, migrancy, ecocriticism, and cosmopolitanism



FREN 101 & 102: Beginners’ French I & II (2018-19); older versions are archived and remain openly accessible (2012 and 2013-18’s FREN 101 and FREN 102)

RMST 221B: Literatures and Cultures of the Romance World I: Medieval to Early Modern: “Animal Reading” (2019)


Consent in medieval Occitan poetry, and its medievalist application elsewhere in the 21st century. Article-length early versions online as “The Joy of Consent: Feeling Together” (2018) and “Translating Rape in Flamenca” (2019: prologue, part 1, part 2).

English translation of the 13th-century Old Occitan Bertran de Marseille Life of Sainte Énimie; more about it here, dedicated website here.


Reading (and) Courtly Love in Flamenca, via the Charrette Project.” Dame Philology’s Charrette: Approaching Medieval Textuality through Chrétien’s Lancelot (Essays in Memory of Karl D. Uitti), ed. Gina Greco and Ellen Thorington (Tempe, AZ: Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, Arizona State University Press, 2012): 195-214.

Making Sense of a Lacuna in the Romance of Flamenca.” TENSO – Bulletin of the Société Guilhem IX 20.2 (2005): 1-25.


(1) Writing online: essays, commentary, and other critical creative longer-form non-fiction (and some very short stories).

(2) Courses designed and course materials developed while working at UBC:

French language, literature, and culture

Romance Studies

Medieval Studies

Most of the materials above are freely accessible (Creative Common BY-NC-SA), though some parts of some sites are only for students in that course (ex. online discussion) or for instructors teaching it.