Lance Pederson

Lance Pederson is a Ph.D. student who studies power, masculinity, and homosexuality in France and its colonial empire from 1660-1815. He obtained his B.A. from Hamline University where he majored in History with a double minor in French and Mandarin Chinese. He completed the first year of his Ph.D. program at the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign before following his advisor, Dr. Clare Haru Crowston, to the University of British Columbia. He is an affiliate and a graduate student fellow at UBC’s Center for European studies. His current research project focuses on rumors, poison, and the concept of male homosexuality as an “Italian vice” in the court of Louis XIV. More broadly, he aims to develop new approaches to studying queer experiences in the early modern period. His teaching philosophy is centered on presenting historical topics in straightforward and engaging ways that highlight how studying the past is crucial to understanding the world we currently live in.

Project Description

In 1670, Henrietta-Anne of England, who was married to Louis XIV’s brother, Philippe d’Orléans, died unexpectedly at the age of 26. An autopsy conducted after her death proved that she was not poisoned, but rumors claiming that Philippe’s most significant male favorite, the Chevalier de Lorraine, had worked with other male favorites to send poison from Rome, where he was in exile, to France. These rumors were not just an attempt to implicate an unpopular court figure in a scandal, but an extension of the commonly held perception that male homosexuality was an “Italian vice.” The accusations served as an attempt to distance the sexual preferences of Philippe d’Orléans and his inner circle from those of the rest of the court. This project aims to situate these rumors within a larger body of scholarship on how accusations of poisoning in Europe and its colonies often had gendered and racialized components.