Jenai Engelhard Humphreys

Graduate Student in French,
Teaching Fellow in French
718 Commonwealth Ave., Room B04
BA, University of California at Irvine
MS, Boston University


Jenai received her BA from the University of California, Irvine, where she earned degrees in English Literature and Theater Arts. She went on to obtain a Master’s in Journalism at Boston University. Since then, she has written for local and international publications, including the Boston Globe, Quillette, the Sun Chronicle of Attleboro, and Vita Bella Travel. After working in journalism, Jenai decided to pursue her long-time passion for literature in the form of graduate studies in French.

Her dissertation, titled Decadence Embodied: Anorexia, Allegory, Marrow, argues for the recognition of a twenty-first century phenomenon of literary decadence, one that can be understood only in relation to the aftermath of France’s colonial past and subsequent loss of Empire. This research was awarded a Boston University Center for the Humanities prize in 2016. Her previous work on Susan Sontag’s Notes on ‘Camp’, which has influenced her articulation of decadence, was published in 2017 in an article titled “Un regard camp sur Manon Lescaut : l’esthétisation du moral” in the journal Eighteenth Century French World. She recently spent a year abroad teaching at the ENS in Lyon.