College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Bruce Hayes

Department of French and Italian
Chair, Department of French & Italian
Associate Professor
Primary office:
Wescoe Hall
Room 2104
University of Kansas
1445 Jayhawk Blvd
Lawrence, KS 66045-7594
Second office:
Wescoe Hall
Room 2067


Ph.D., M.Phil., M.A. in French Studies, Yale University

M.A., B.A. in French Studies, Brigham Young University

Bruce Hayes is an associate professor of French literature and culture at the University of Kansas, where he has taught since 2001. He specializes in late medieval and Renaissance literature and culture, with a particular focus in popular culture and humor. His current book-length project, Castigating Comedy: Polemical Humor before and during the French Wars of Religion, explores both regionally (Nérac in southern France, Rouen, Geneva, and Paris) and historically (1534, the Affaire des placards to 1572, the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacres), the ideological and polemical uses of comedy during this turbulent time in France’s history. His work has appeared in journals and series such as Études RabelaisiennesCahiers d’Humanisme et RenaissanceFrench Forum, and Renaissance and Reformation. In 2010, he published a monograph, Rabelais's Radical Farce: Late Medieval Comic Theater and Its Function in Rabelais (Ashgate), which has been called “a thought-provoking contribution to late medieval and Renaissance studies” (Renaissance Quartlerly). Awards and fellowships he has received include a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend, an American Philosophical Society Franklin Grant, and a Newberry Library Fellowship. At KU, he is currently the department’s Director of Graduate Studies and has been appointed as Faculty Fellow for Graduate Studies for 2013-14. He is also currently a Hall Center for the Humanities Research Fellow.



Recent Graduate Courses Taught

Masculinity in the Renaissance

Rabelais and Montaigne

Poésie lyrique à la Renaissance

Events, Ideologies, and Literature Surrounding the French Wars of Religion

Introduction to Graduate Studies

Recent Undergraduate Courses Taught

The Obscene and the Grotesque in French Literature

French Literature of the Renaissance

The French Wars of Religion

La France d’aujourd’hui

Survey of French Culture, Middle Ages and Renaissance

Introduction to French Literature


Areas of Interest

French Renaissance Literature and Culture, Renaissance Studies, Late Medieval and Renaissance Drama, Humor Studies

Selected Publications


Rabelais’s Radical Farce: Late Medieval Comic Theater and Its Function in Rabelais.  Aldershot, UK: Ashgate Press, 2010.

Co-edited special issue:

Œuvres et Critiques 38.2 (2013): “Jean Boucher, 1548–1646 ( ?) : prêtre, prédicateur, polémiste”


“Le risus sardonicus de Jean Boucher.” Œuvres et Critiques 38.2 (2013). Forthcoming.

“The Transgressive Ethics of the Trickster in Late Medieval and Post-Reformation French Farce.” At Whom Are We Laughing? Humor in Romance Language Literatures. Zenia Sacks DaSilva and Gregory M. Pell, eds. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2013: 41-54.

“Les perplexités de la masculinité : cynisme, scepticisme et caritas chrétienne dans le Tiers livre de Rabelais.” Les Interférences des écoles de pensée antiques dans la littérature de la Renaissance. Edward Tilson, ed. Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2013: 205-20.

“‘De rire ne me puys tenir’: Marguerite de Navarre’s Satirical Theater.” La Satire dans tous ses états.  Bernd Renner, ed. Cahiers d’Humanisme et Renaissance. Geneva: Droz, 2009: 183-200.

“A Decade of Silence: Rabelais’s Return to Writing in a More Dangerous World.” Études Rabelaisiennes 46 (2008): 101-13.

“Putting the ‘Haute’ Back into the ‘Haute Dame de Paris’: The Politics and Performance of Rabelais’s Radical Farce.”  French Forum 32 (2007): 39-52.

Current Project

Book: Castigating Comedy: Polemical Humor before and during the French Wars of Religion



Our Statement on Diversity in support of Rock Chalk Invisible Hawk and the University of Kansas Black Student Union’s efforts to combat racism.
The School of Languages & Cultures serves as a gateway to understanding the diversity of the world, through learning languages, literatures, and cultures, past and present. Through its research and teaching, the SLLC offers students opportunities for deep engagement with a wide range of languages, literatures, and cultures that provide the knowledge and skills to interact with and understand the world. The faculty and students who teach, research, and learn in the SLLC consider issues of diversity fundamental to all of our work. The study of others' languages, literatures, and cultures enables us to develop deep empathy and perspective informs the way that we approach issues before us, whether on a personal, local, regional, national, or global scale. Therefore take it as axiomatic that the SLLC stands for a campus that is committed to the meaningful sharing, contemplation, and discussion of ideas that emerge from multiple cultural perspectives and experiences. We continually rededicate ourselves to the principle of diversity. We strive to create an atmosphere where all students and faculty feel comfortable and welcome to express their views as well as work together to solve conflict. Further, we view our mission as a center of diversity on a flagship campus as requiring us to lead by example.

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