Helen Solterer, Professor of Romance Studies, has been selected by the French government to be a member of L'Ordre des Palmes Académiques, a French honorary society that recognizes academics and educators for their contributions to the teaching and dissemination of French language and culture. Her selection marks the sixth current or emeritus faculty member of the department to receive the prestigious honor, an indication of the department’s international stature. Other Duke members of the order include emeriti professors Philip Stewart, Jean-Jacques Thomas and Alice Kaplan, as well as professors David Bell and Michèle Longino.
The Ordre des Palmes Académiques was originally created by Napoleon to pay tribute to the leading scholars at the University of Paris. It is one of the world’s oldest civil awards.
“I’m delighted that the French government is recognizing my contributions, writing, researching, and teaching literature and history in French,” Solterer said. “With France in the throes of political change right now, it’s wonderful that our Center for French and Francophone Studies culture is honored for all its collaborative work in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. Here at home, I’m glad to be a part of the tradition of Duke colleagues who’ve been awarded this distinction. Vive l’Université de Duke francophone!”