Jean Petrolle

Jean Petrolle - Columbia College Chicago

Jean Petrolle

Associate Professor


Jeanne Petrolle, Ph.D. received her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois. Her first book, Women and Experimental Filmmaking (University of Illinois 2005), is an edited collection of essays exploring women’s contributions to the tradition of experimental filmmaking. Her second book, Religion without Belief: Contemporary Allegory and the Search for Postmodern Faith (SUNY, 2007), examines how virtual reality movies, feminist experimental novels, avant-garde feminist film, and Amerindian novels use allegory to entertain religious questions for a postmodern world. She has published articles and essays about post-1960s literature, film, and painting in such scholarly and literary journals as Journal of Modern Greek Studies, Quarterly Review of Film and Video, Image: A Journal of Art and Religion, and Calyx, and to a variety of anthologies covering contemporary literature, film, and the teaching of writing.

Petrolle’s current book manuscript, “Dancing with Ophelia: Reconnecting Madness, Creativity, and Love,” is presently under review. An excerpt from the manuscript appeared in Hektoen: A Journal of The Medical Humanities. Petrolle’s current research contributes to the emerging field of the medical humanities, a transdisciplinary intellectual project that applies insights drawn from literature, philosophy, art, religion, and history to the study and practice of medicine. Combining feminist theory, Jungian psychoanalytics, and cross-cultural psychiatry with close reading and participant-observer ethnographic methodology, “Dancing with Ophelia” problematizes the medicalization of madness as “mental illness.” The manuscript seeks to enhance contemporary understanding and treatment of mental illness by exploring portrayals of madness in literature and art, focusing on the life and work of two artists who experienced psychiatric crises.

Petrolle teaches Introduction to Cultural Studies, Literature/Culture/Power, Literature and Visual Culture, Literature and Film, and a range of courses in women’s literature, twentieth century literature, and the Bible as Literature.


B.A., English Southern Connecticut State University 1991
M.A., English Southern Illinois University 1993
Ph.D., English University of Illinois Chicago 2004