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W&L’s Kristina Roney Receives Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award The assistant professor of French will utilize the scholarship to perform research in Paris.

Kristina-Roney-scaled-600x400 W&L’s Kristina Roney Receives Fulbright U.S. Scholar AwardKristina Roney, assistant professor of French

Kristina Roney, assistant professor of French at Washington and Lee University, has been selected as a 2024-25 Fulbright U.S. Scholar for France.

Roney received the Fulbright-CY Initiative Award, a grant offered through the CY Cergy Paris Université and ESSEC Business School. Together, they form one of France’s 17 Universities of Excellence. The scholarship is for 10 months, beginning Sept. 1, 2024, and lasting through June 30, 2025.

“I feel honored to be selected as a 2024-25 Fulbright U.S Scholar to France,” said Roney. “The opportunities available in France are highly selective with many of them geared toward science and technology. It is a privilege to receive one for research in French literature, and I am thankful to my colleagues across campus, who were very generous with their time and advice, for their guidance, support and feedback.”

Roney will be utilizing the scholarship to perform research on her manuscript, titled “Balzac, Society and the Birth of Modern Finance.” Honoré de Balzac (1799-1850) was a French novelist and playwright considered to be one of the founders of the realism literary movement in Europe. His work aimed to depict a detailed portrait of contemporary 19th-century French society, during a period when France entered the early stages of the Industrial Revolution.

Balzac authored 94 novels and short stories known collectively as “The Human Comedy.” He used Paris as the backdrop for much of his writing, and Roney will likewise be based in the iconic French metropolis. The location will give her access to a wealth of resources, including the Bibliothèque nationale de France (National Library of France), which features every work ever published or distributed in France. At CY Cergy Paris Université, she will work in collaboration with AGORA, a multidisciplinary research center in human and social sciences that focuses on changes in contemporary societies mainly in Europe, Asia and the Americas.

“Balzac’s literature is rich in financial and economic details,” said Roney. “While his work has been studied from many different angles, this is an area that has been neglected. I am excited to contribute the expertise and experience garnered from my prior career in accounting and finance to studies on the author. The wealth of resources available in Paris will allow me to finally bring this manuscript to fruition.”

Roney’s study of Balzac’s works combines her two career interests as she takes a historical economic approach to literary analysis. Roney focuses on the period surrounding the Industrial Revolution, as France evolved from an agricultural society to an industrial one.

“We must investigate what is happening in the economy when a story is written,” said Roney. “Looking at how the economy impacts culture can influence how we read and understand a text. Cultural products, such as literature, provide testimony to the human experience taking place behind historical events. My research focuses on the financial details within Balzac’s work to study the birth and evolution of modern financial markets in a way that bridges the humanities and business disciplines and demonstrates how they complement one another.”

Roney is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and began her professional career in accounting and finance after garnering a Bachelor of Arts in French language and literature from Lehigh University and a Master of Taxation from Arizona State University. She later earned a master’s degree and Ph.D. in French literature from the University of Kansas. She joined the W&L faculty in 2019 after serving as an advanced lecturer at KU.

Fulbright Scholar Awards are prestigious and competitive fellowships that provide unique opportunities for scholars to teach and conduct research abroad. Fulbright scholars also play a critical role in U.S. public diplomacy, establishing long-term relationships between people and nations. Alumni of the Fulbright Program include 62 Nobel Laureates, 89 Pulitzer Prize winners, 80 MacArthur Fellows and thousands of leaders and world-renowned experts in academia and other fields across the private, public and nonprofit sectors.

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