DeRoo wins Wylie Prize in French Cultural Studies

Rebecca J. DeRoo, Ph.D., assistant professor of art history & archaeology in Arts & Sciences, has won the 2008 Laurence Wylie Prize in French Cultural Studies for her book “The Museum Establishment and Contemporary Art: The Politics of Artistic Display in France after 1968” (2006).


Published by Cambridge University Press, the volume provides an in-depth account of protests that shook France and served as a catalyst for a radical reconsideration of artistic practice — a reconsideration that has shaped both art and museum exhibitions to the present day.

“The Museum Establishment” was selected from 57 nominees. Jury chair Brigitte Lane, Ph.D., associate professor of French at Tufts University, described it as “a splendid study,” adding that, “we are sure that it will inspire many students, faculty and readers outside academia, in terms of rethinking what a museum and its purpose might be.”

DeRoo received the award April 22 at Tufts, where she also lectured on “Reinventing French Museums in the Aftermath of 1968: Annette Messager’s Art of the Everyday.”

The Wylie Prize was created in 1995 by the Association of French Cultural Studies to honor the memory of Laurence Wylie (1909-1995), a pioneering anthropologist who specialized in the study of French culture and civilization.

In addition to Lane, the prize committee included Tom Conley, Ph.D., of Harvard University; Stephane Gerson, Ph.D., of New York University (himself the 2006 recipient); and Jean-Francois Briere, Ph.D., of the University at Albany, State University of New York.

DeRoo, a scholar of contemporary art, has previously received fellowships from the Fulbright Commission, the Javits Foundation and the Killam Foundation, as well as an award from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

She has contributed to numerous journals and publications, including Parallax, Critique d’Art and The Oxford Art Journal. In 1999, she curated the exhibition “Beyond the Photographic Frame” that was supported by a Rhoades Foundation Fellowship for the Art Institute of Chicago.

She is studying ironic dimensions in the films of French director Agnes Varda.