Rachel Nuñez

Rachel Nuñez

In all of my courses, students read and analyze primary sources – the “raw material” of history. Whether we’re looking at the “Declaration of the Rights of Man,” a speech by a 19th-century feminist, or the debate between Hindu and Muslim nationalists in India, primary sources allow us to grapple with the complexity, indeed the messiness, of the past. I push students to come up with their own interpretations of texts (backed up with evidence, of course) and to ask thoughtful and probing questions. I view teaching as an extended conversation, one in which I have expertise but not all the answers. I also put a lot of emphasis on the writing process since I believe that clear writing and clear thinking are connected.

Areas of Expertise

  • European history (emphasis on France), 1789 to the present
  • History of women and gender
  • Nationalism
  • Imperialism

Courses Taught

  • Modern Europe
  • Nations, States, and Violence
  • Women in Ancient and Medieval Europe
  • Women in Early Modern Europe
  • Women in Modern Europe
  • Revolutionary France
  • The Body and Sexuality in European History
  • Gender and Imperialism
  • 18th-Century Europe: Enlightenment and Revolution
  • History of Shopping: Gender and Consumer Culture


  • Ph.D., Stanford University
  • B.A., Rice University

Publications & Articles

  • "Rethinking Universalism: Olympe Audouard, Hubertine Auclert, and the Gender Politics of the Civilizing Mission," French Politics, Culture & Society, Spring 2012
  • "Between France and the World: Cosmopolitanism and Nationalism in the Work of Flora Tristan," Proceedings of the Western Society for French History, 2006


Helping to organize the most recent Hollins Biennial Conference on Women and Leadership and our annual Women’s History Month speaker.

Research Interests

My current project explores 19th-century French feminist engagement with nationalism and imperialism, focusing on Flora Tristan, Olympe Audouard, and Hubertine Auclert.