Marianne Ruel Robins
Professor of History
Phone: (805) 565-6197
Office Location: Deane Hall 203
Monday 2:00-3:00 pm
Wednesday 2:00-3:00 pm
and by appointment
Perspectives on World History, Medieval Mediterranean
Dr. Marianne Ruel Robins joined the Westmont history faculty in 1996. She comes from Paris, France, where she completed her doctoral work in history at the University of Paris I, La Sorbonne. Professor Robins’ dissertation, “French Attitudes towards Dancing, 16th-18th Centuries” was published in the fall of 2006. At Westmont, Dr. Robins teaches World Civilization and upper division classes in Early Modern Europe, Ancient and Medieval History, and The History of France. Dr. Robins is a recipient of the Westmont’s Teacher of the Year Award. She has four children and is married to Dr. Jon Lemmond. They both led the Spring 2011 Westmont Mediterrean Semester.
- Les Chrétiens et la Danse. Paris: Champion, 2006.
- Paroles d’Évangiles. Quatre Pamphlets allemands des années 1520. Paris: Publications de la Sorbonne, 1996. Reviewed in Sixteenth Century Journal, XXVII, 3 (1997), 1033-1035.
- (2002) “Corps à corps: la querelle des denses et ses enjeux confessionnels (1550-1650)”, published in De Michel de L’Hospital à l’Édit de Nantes: politique et religion face qux Églises, actes du colloque international de Clermont-Ferrand (juin 1998), rassemblés et édités par Thierry Wanegffelen, “Histoires croisées”, Presses Universitaires Blaise Pascal, ISBN 2-84516-159-X.
- (1996) “Un prophète en son pays: la Lettre chrétienne d’une dame de la noblesse d’Argula von Stauffen”, in Paroles d’Évangiles, p. 97-160.
- (1994) “Les Chrétiens et la Danse dans l’Europe du Nord-Ouest”, Historiens et Géographes (Spring 1994), 171-180.
- (2002) Review of Les Ouvriers d’une Vigne Stérile: Les Jésuites et la Conversion des Indiens au Brésil 1580-1620 by Charlotte de Castelnau-L’Estoile, Sixteenth Century Journal 33 (2002).
- (2001) Review of The History of Morris Dancing, by John Forrest, Sixteenth Century Journal 32 (2001) 911-12.
- (1999 Review of Adversaries of Dance. From the Puritans to the Present, by Ann Wagner, Church History 68 no. 3 (Sept. 1999), 733-35.
- (1997) Review of Keeping Together in Time: Dance and Drill in Human History, by William H. McNeill, Sixteenth Century Journal 28 (1997), 945-946.
Summary of Latest Publication:
Christian Attitudes towards Dance in Early Modern France
Dancing generated some important political and religious debates in the Early Modern France. This work analyzes those debates, beginning with their precedents in medieval sermons and in the danse macabre. During the sixteenth century, the quarrel became confessional in nature, as the rejection of dancing became a means to define the Protestant community. Over the next two centuries, that confessional dimension of the debate intersected with complex social and cultural trajectories. Differing attitudes toward dance often reflected contrary understandings of the body. For the courtly tradition, the body offered the best means to literally incorporate signs of high birth and proper education and training. For many religious authorities, the body was a veil rather than a telling sign. While the debates about courtly or elite dancing raged, a movement to repress popular dancing swept across the kingdom. Authorities of both Church and State argued that dancing was contrary to social and moral order. It was an occasion for unruly social gatherings, and therefore violence, as well as an occasion for sexual encounters, and therefore promiscuity. The repressive measures directed against dancing did not however succeed in ridding the French of their ingrained habits. Dancing continued to function as a ritual that reflected, enhanced and projected visions of the social order within rural communities. As a form of courtship, it also aided the social body in its need to reproduce itself. Finally, dancing as religious ritual expressed an inclusive understanding of the realms of the living and the dead, and a familiarity with God and the saints that opponents of dance read as irreverence. Indeed, it was on the latter front, the attempt to convince its flock that dancing was irreverent and inappropriate for worship, that the Church was perhaps most successful. And that very success deprived the Church from one of its most significant religious rituals.