A photo of Raphaëlle Burns

Raphaëlle Burns

Assistant Professor

E-mail: rjburns@humnet.ucla.edu Office: Royce Hall 233A

Office Hours: By appointment

Fields of interest: Medieval and Early Modern Literature; Cultural and Intellectual History; Law; Medicine; Journalism

Raphaëlle Burns teaches and writes about the literatures and cultures of medieval and early modern Europe, with secondary specializations in the history of journalism, medicine, and law. Her research focuses on ethics and the transmission of knowledge in early modern literature and has evolved along two main axes: on the one hand, the relationship between casuistry―that is, the professional practice of thinking ethical problems with and through particular cases―and the genre of the novella in early modern France, Italy, and Spain, and, on the other, the discursive production and circulation of “novelties” in the age of the first European news networks.

Her first book project, provisionally titled The Stories We Tell: Novellas, News, and the Uses of Casuistry in Early Modern Europe, examines representations of legal, theological, historiographical, and medical modes of case-thinking in the novella collections of Giovanni Boccaccio, Marguerite de Navarre, Matteo Bandello, and Miguel de Cervantes. It investigates how these collections reflexively stage practices of narrating and interpreting cases while extending the relevance of this professional art to the navigation of news and novelty in everyday life.


  • Ph.D., French and Comparative Literature, Columbia University
  • M.Res., Humanities and Cultural Studies, Birkbeck College, University of London
  • M.Res., Law, Birkbeck College, University of London
  • B.A., Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge