I specialize in Enlightenment Studies, Gender Studies, Plant Studies, and Ecocriticism.


My first book, Marivaux et la science du caractère (Oxford, UK: The Voltaire Foundation, 2013), explored moral classifications in Early Enlightenment literature in relation to 18th-century debates on taxonomy in the natural sciences.


I am at work on my second book project, tentatively entitled The Dreams of Plants, where I am examining processes of acculturation of plants knowledge in 18th-century French fiction. Drawing from anthropology and the environmental humanities, my research questions early modern and early Enlightenment cosmologies as cultural mediations of vegetal alterity.


My investigations in the field of women in science led to the discovery of the manuscripts of Mme Dugage de Pommereul (1733-1782), an unknown woman botanist. I have published the first account of Mme Dugage’s life and work in Harvard Papers in Botany (2018) and recounted the obstacles encountered while doing archival research in an edited volume (2020) on the visibility/invisibility of women’s knowledge.


I have continued my work on women in science with a study of Clémence Lortet’s “Botanical Walks”, in collaboration with botanist Marc Philippe (Lyon I, France). My introduction and English translation of this manuscript have recently appeared in Huntia (The Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, 2020).


I have two forthcoming publications: the first on Diderot’s plant blindness in regard to his zoocentric materialism in Diderot Studies; the second on the (in)dividuality of trees in a special issue of L’Esprit Créateur.


I have also published several critical editions: Crébillon’s Correspondance (2002); Bachaumont’s Memoires secrets (2010); Tiphaigne de La Roche’s Questions sur l’agriculture (2019).


I am past President of the Society for Eighteenth-Century French Studies, an affiliate of the national American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (2019-21).


Ph.D. Princeton University

Other Publications

Selective Bibliography

  • Marivaux et la science du caractère [Marivaux and the Science of Character] SVEC 2013:06. (Oxford, UK: The Voltaire Foundation, 2013), xii+ 320p. [ISBN: 978-0729410670]. 

  • In coll. With M. Philippe, “A Woman Botanist in Rousseau’s Footsteps: Clémence Lortet’s Botanical Walks (ca.1811),” Huntia 18(2) 2020, Hunt Institute for Botanical Information, p. 33-66.

  • “Botanical Palimpsests, or Erasure of Women in Science: The Case Study of Mme Dugage de Pommereul,” Harvard Papers in Botany 23:1 (2018): 89-108. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elisabeth_Julienne_Pommereul

  • Critical edition of Tiphaigne de la Roche’s Questions relatives à l’agriculture et à la nature des plantes in the first modern critical edition of his Complete Works, under the direction of Jacques Marx (Paris, Classiques-Garnier, 2019): 593-696 (Introduction: 593-633; edited text: 635-691; variations: 693-696) [ISBN: 978-2-406-07889-0].

  • “L’Anti-Tournefort ou la botanique d’une paresseuse,” in M. A. Bernier, M.-L. Girou-Swiderski (eds.), Madame d’Arconville, moraliste et chimiste au siècle des LumièresEtudes et textes inédits (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment, 2016), p. 211-220.

  • “Une vie biffée : Mme Dugage de Pommereul (1733-1782), botaniste au Jardin du roi,” C. Trotot, C. Delahaye, I. Mornat (dir.), Femmes à l’œuvre dans la construction des savoirs. Paradoxes de la visibilité et de l’invisibilité, Collection Savoir en Texte, Université Gustave Eiffel, online, 2020, p. 61-83.

  • “Les charmes de la physique selon François-Joseph Hunauld: merveilleux végétal et machines-cadavres,” Fééries nº15, 2018 [2019], 20 pages, online.

  • Lortet, P., Audibert, C., Bärtschi, B., Benharrech, S., Chambaud, F., Philippe, M., Thiébaut, M., “Les Promenades botaniques de Clémence Lortet, née Richard (1772-1835),” Bull. mens. Société linnéenne de Lyon, 87 (7-8) 2018: 199-254.

  • “Françoise-Madeleine Basseporte, peintre de fleurs et de plantes au XVIIIe siècle” in botany magazine La Garance voyageuse, Revue du Végétal, 133, Spring 2021, p. 32-35.

  • Entry on Mme Dugage de Pommereul for the Dictionary of Old Regime Women (SIEFAR), June 2019.http://siefar.org/dictionnaire/fr/Elisabeth_Julienne_Pommereul.

  •  In coll. with M. Philippe (Department of Ecology, Univ. Lyon I), “Elisabeth Dugage de Pommereul (1733-1782), une grande botaniste oubliée” in botany magazine La Garance voyageuse, Revue du Végétal, 126, Summer 2019, p. 6-11.

Blog Posts


    Forthcoming & In Preparation

    • “Trees as Dividual Beings: Vegetal Plurality in Early Modern France,” Natania Meeker and Antónia Szabari (ed.), Libertine Botany: Vegetal-Human Intimacies. Special issue of L’Esprit Créateur. Publication forthcoming in Fall 22/Spring 23.

    • “Diderot a-t-il une pensée pour le végétal ? Une lecture écocritique des Salons,” Diderot Studies 40 (Geneva, Droz, 2021), volume on « Diderot et le paysage ». Publication forthcoming in Fall 21.

    • Vegetal Agency: The Sap Controversy in Early 18th-Century France,” Notes & Records of the Royal Society, UK. 

    • “Malesherbes, an early Linnaean? A translation of his “Explanation of a few botanical terms” (ca17461752)”, 62 pages, Huntia, Hunt Institute for Botanical Information, in preparation.

    Upcoming Talks and Conferences

    Sarah Benharrech (University of Maryland), “Culture, Misculture, and Acculturation: the Status of Cultivators’ Knowledge in Gardening Treatises.” Agricultural Knowledge and Practices in the Eighteenth Century 52nd ASECS Annual Meeting Baltimore MD March 31 – April 2, 2022. 



    American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ASECS)

    Société Internationale pour l’Etude des Femmes de l’Ancien Régime (SIEFAR)

    International Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ISECS)

    Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts (SLSA)

    History of Science Society (HSS)

    Sarah Benharrech

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