Associate Professor
Focuses on 18th-century French literature, French Enlightenment political and moral philosophy and economic ideas, French imperialism in the Pacific, francophone literature from the Pacific, science fiction, and critical theory


Andrew Billing’s principal research interests include the French Enlightenment, eighteenth-century political and moral philosophy and political economy, Rousseau, 18th-century French literature, French imperialism in the Pacific, early science fiction, and critical theory. 

Originally from Aotearoa/New Zealand, Professor Billing has a secondary research specialization in francophone literature from the Pacific region. He has published and presented at conferences in this area, in particular on the fiction of Titaua Peu.

At Macalester College, he has taught courses on the French Revolution and eighteenth-century French political ideas; on the animal/human distinction in the French Enlightenment; science fiction and technology in French literature and film; francophone literature from the Asia/Pacific region; and on colonial and postcolonial writing from Aotearoa/New Zealand, Tahiti, and Hawai’i. He has also collaborated with a student on translations into English of articles from Diderot and D’Alembert’s Encyclopédie.

His book, Animal Rhetoric and Natural Science in Eighteenth-Century Liberal Political Writing: Political Zoologies of the French Enlightenment (Routledge, 2024), explores how five important eighteenth-century French political authors—Rousseau, Diderot, La Mettrie, Quesnay, and Rétif de La Bretonne—constructed a “political zoology” in their philosophical and literary writings informed by animal references drawn from Enlightenment natural history, science, and physiology.

Recent publications include “Mercier’s Clinic: Public Health Utopianism in L’An 2440, rêve s’il en fut jamais,” in Eighteenth-Century Fiction 35, no. 4 (2023); and “Political Right, Political Economy, and the Economic Cycle in Rousseau, Quesnay, and Condillac,” in Frameworks of Time in Rousseau, eds. Masano Yamashita and Jason Neidleman (Routledge, 2024).

With Professor Juliette Cherbuliez of the University of Minnesota, he edited a special edition of L’Esprit Créateur, titled Paris, Imagined Capital: Economic Transition and Modernity (17th to 19th Centuries). He also participated in and helped lead a workshop on the Abbé Raynal’s Histoire philosophique et politique des établissements et du commerce des Européens dans les deux Indes, hosted by the Consortium for the Study of the Premodern World at the University of Minnesota.

Professor Billing received his BA from the University of Otago, MA from the University of Canterbury and his PhD from the University of California, Irvine, with a doctoral dissertation on Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s political fictions.