Kenneth T. Rivers, Ph.D.

Distinguished Professor Emeritus of French at Lamar University

Ken Rivers

Dr. Rivers taught French film, language and literature from 1989-2015 prior to his retirement into a busy life of travel and adventure with his wife, LU Distinguished Professor Emerita of Nursing, Dianna Rivers, Ph.D. In 2006, he was named Lamar University's Distinguished Faculty Lecturer, speaking on "The Meaning of the Movies: 100 Years of Cinema in the U.S. and Around the World." In 2010, Dr. Rivers was named University Professor.

He received two National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships and was the originator and longtime director of Study Abroad at Lamar. He has taught study abroad courses in over 10 European countries and was the founder and director of the Lamar French Film Fest. For many years, he sponsored the French Circle and the French Honor Society. He carries expertise in diverse fields such as international healthcare systems, cinema, satire and caricature, Balzac, and the effects of climate change upon culture and society. Numerous appearances in the media, including CNN.

His publications include the book Transmutations: Understanding Literary and Pictorial Caricature, the five-volume anthology; A Survey of French Literature, Third Edition; and numerous articles on the works of filmmakers such as Alfred Hitchcock, Yuri Mamin, and Cédric Klapisch. He has traveled to Cannes a number of times, including as a credentialed visitor to the Cannes Film Festival.


University of California at Berkeley

  • Ph.D. in French (1978)
    • Dissertation: “Caricature and Balzac, comparing the works of Balzac with the art of Daumier and others”
  • M.A. in French (1973)
  • B.A. in French; History minor (1971)

Academic Awards

Named Distinguished Professor Emeritus, LU, 2015

Winner of the University Professor Award, 2010, including lifetime title and award of $2500

Research Enhancement Grant of $5000 from Lamar Univ. Graduate Office for “Researching French Film History at Cinema Sites in Eastern France and Paris” Awarded April, 2009; research conducted May-June, 2010

Grant of $500 from Focus Publishing, 2009 for editing an anthology of Molière’s works

Winner of the Distinguished Faculty Lecturer Award at Lamar University for 2005; public lecture entitled: “The Meaning of the Movies: 100 Years of Cinema in the U.S. and Around the World,” given at Lamar University Theater on January 30, 2006

Research Enhancement Grant of $5000 from Lamar Univ. Graduate Office for “Research at Literary Sites in Northwestern France and Paris to Seek Biographical Information and Pictorial Materials about Authors for Use in a French Literature Anthology.” Awarded April, 2005; research conducted May-June, 2006

Winner of the Excellence in Teaching Award, College of Arts and Sciences, 1997, Lamar University

Recipient of three Teaching Excellence bonuses, $2000 each, awarded by LU, 1999, 1997, and 1995

Awarded two Grants valued at approx. $1500 each from American Council for International Studies, paying for expenses covering travel to Paris (March, 1996) and London (Jan.,1998) to research study abroad sites

Grants of $150 from Lamar Student Services, 1999, 2000 and 2001, to bring in National President of French Honor Society for lectures

Grant of $1390 from the Texas Committee for the Humanities to fund public lecture and workshops by visiting author Omar Castaneda, Sept., 1993

Chosen to referee a book manuscript of art theory for the University of Toronto Press, Sept., 1993

Nominated for the Lamar University College of Arts and Sciences Excellence in Research/Creative Scholarship Award, 1992

Elected President of East TX chapter of American Association of Teachers of French, 1998-2004; V.P. 1992-94, and 1997-98

Grant of $1800 from the Swann Foundation in 1991 in support of my book on caricature, which was nominated for the South Central Modern Languages Association book of the year award

Fellowship in NEH Summer Seminar, "Reading Ironies," under Lilian Furst, at Stanford University, summer 1987; stipend of $3500

Grant of $3000 from the American Council of Learned Societies to do research in Paris on the relationship between nineteenth century French literature and art, summer 1984

Fellowship in NEH Summer Seminar, "Society and the Literary Imagination," under Victor Brombert, at Princeton University, summer 1982; stipend of $2500

Honors as student at U.C. Berkeley: Distinction in General Scholarship; Honors Program in French with Distinction; and the Certificate of Completion in French, 1979

Grand Prize winner of KEST radio playwriting competition, San Francisco, 1974

Teaching Experience

Professor of French, 2001 until retirement in 2015, Dept. of English and Modern Languages, Lamar University, Beaumont, TX. Promoted to Associate Professor and granted tenure, April, 1995. Prior to that, Assistant Professor of French at Lamar Univ., 1989-1995. Graduate Faculty status awarded in 2000.

Coordinator of Global Studies in Dept. of English and Foreign Languages at Lamar Univ., 1992 onward; Director of Certificate in Global and International Studies program, 1999-2001; Chair of Foreign Languages component of department at Lamar University, 1991-93, 1995-96, 1998-1999, 2006-7

Visiting Assistant Professor of French (or other rank as noted):

  • 1988-89: College of San Mateo, California (instructorship)
  • 1986-88: Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida
  • 1984-86: U.C. Berkeley (teaching associate)
  • 1982-84: University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • 1981-82: Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS
  • Graduate Teaching Assistant, 1975-81: U.C. Berkeley

French Courses Taught

Taught every French course in the catalogue: French language, all undergraduate levels, including use of Video-based instruction and Direct Method of my own creation; French literature survey courses covering all centuries; 19th century French lit.; the short story; theater; the novel; comic literature; culture and civilization; conversation; composition; phonetics; survey of the history of French film; and a survey of World Cinema

Academic Administrative and Related Higher Education Experience

Originator and first Director of the Global and International Studies Certificate program at Lamar Univ., approved by Texas State University System Board of Regents in March, 1999. (This enables students in any major to take elective courses of international content and receive notation on transcript certifying international component to their B.A. or B.S. degree.)

Coordinator of Global Studies, Dept. of English and For. Lang., Lamar Univ., 1992 onward; ad hoc Director of Global Studies for LU 1992-2001; Chair of the LU Task Force on Global Studies, 1992-99; originator and administrator of the Language Study Abroad program of Lamar Univ., 1989 onward

Significant Professional Publications

Scholarly Books

A Survey of French Literature, a literary anthology in five volumes, Kenneth T. Rivers editor of new Third Edition (completely revising and updating earlier editions by the late Morris Bishop)
Volume One: French Literature of the Middle Ages and the 16th Century, Focus Publishing, R. Pullins Co., Newburyport, MA, 2005, 146 pages
Volume Two: French Literature of the 17th Century, Focus Publishing, R. Pullins Co., Newburyport, MA, 2005, 226 pages
Volume Three: French Literature of the 18th Century, Focus Publishing, R. Pullins Co., Newburyport, MA, 2005, 236 pages
Volume Four: French Literature of the 19th Century, Focus Publishing, R. Pullins Co., Newburyport, MA, 2005, 334 pages.
Volume Five: French Literature of the 20th Century, Focus Publishing, R. Pullins Co., Newburyport, MA, 2006, 253 pages
Transmutations: Understanding Literary and Pictorial Caricature (University Press of America, Lanham, MD, 1991, 330 pages); the first academic study ever written of how caricature functions in both literature and visual art, with an emphasis on theory of metaphorical tropes in caricature's primary mechanisms. Also includes the only comprehensive world-wide bibliography of works on caricature. Adopted in 1996 as the textbook in Dr. Arthur Stewart’s Philosophy of Aesthetics course, Lamar University

Contract for Publication

Signed contract with Focus Publishing to edit a 3-volume anthology of the plays of the French author Molière.

Biographical Entries in Encyclopedic Dictionaries

Biographical entries on French authors in Eighteenth Century Online Encyclopedia of Enlightenment and Revolution, published online at “Beaumarchais”, “Chateaubriand”, “Laclos”, “Lesage” “Maistre”, “Marivaux”, “Prévost” “Bernardin de Saint-Pierre”, and “Staël”

Biographical entries on French Filmmakers accepted for The Modern Age, 1914-2000: A Biographical Dictionary: “Cousteau”, “Gance”, “Godard”, “Resnais”, “Truffaut”


“Mobsters and Medicine: Healthcare Issues in The Sopranos and The Many Saints of Newark,” with Dianna Lipp Rivers, National Social Science Journal, 59(2), 29-36, 2023.

“Alfred Hitchcock’s Palette of Emotions: The Use of Color in Vertigo,” Lamar Journal of the Humanities 43(2), 45-52, Fall, 2018

“Realities of Foreign Language Translation in Medical Settings,” with Dianna Lipp Rivers and Edith E. Kirk, National Social Science Journal 44(2), 77-88, 2015

“Foreign Language Difficulties in American Healthcare: The challenges of medical translation, regulation, and remuneration,” with Dianna Lipp Rivers, National Social Science Technology Journal 43(1), 83-91, 2014

“’To Noble America in its Entirety’: A Rediscovered Letter of Gratitude from WWI France to a Cajun Hero’s Family,” Lamar Journal of the Humanities 37(1), 5-11, Spring, 2012

Obama Healthcare Scorecard: The Affordable Care Act in Real Life.” with Dianna Lipp Rivers, National Social Science Perspectives 46(1), 192-200, 2012

Abstract in the Education Today: Trends and Research booklet from the Lamar University Education Conference. Topic entitled: “Educational assessment of students’ viewing nursing movies and TV shows,” with Dianna Lipp Rivers and Brenda Nichols, March 29, 2011

Nursing on screen, nursing in class: Assessing students’ reactions to film and TV portrayals of nurses, their profession, and their image in society,” with Dianna Lipp Rivers, National Social Science Journal, 35(2) 139-145, 2011

“Assessing Students’ Reactions to Film and TV Portrayals of Nurses, Their Profession, and Their Image in Society,” with Dianna Lipp Rivers and Brenda S. Nichols, National Social Science Perspectives, 44(2), 211-219, 2010

“Twenty Years in the Midday Sun: Revisiting Roger Ebert’s Cannes,” Bright Lights Film Journal, online May 1, 2008 at

“The Meaning of the Movies: 100 Years of Cinema in the U.S. and Around the World,” published by Lamar University as part of the Distinguished Faculty Lecture series, 2006

“Cultivating Our Garden: Nature, Climate and Thought in Enlightenment Europe,” La République des Lettres 17: Essays on XVIIIth Century Culture and Literature 2005, 21-26

“The Whore Who Slew Socialism: France’s Elf-Aquitaine Scandal and its Political Fallout,” National Social Science Perspectives Journal, 23(1) 107-112, 2003

“Creativity on Ice: Climate Changes, Literature, and Cultural Dynamics in Europe Over the Past Millennium,” with William H. Hooke, Senior Policy Fellow, American Meteorological Society, accepted (2002) as monograph-length section of proposed anthology book, Climatology: Essays on Weather, Culture, and the Meteorological Imagination, ed. Todd Robert Peterson and Adam Sweeting

“Les Auteurs cachés,” Texas Foreign Language Association Bulletin, 11(2) 4-5, 2001

“Black Cats, Urban Renewal, and Magic Windows: Paris in Recent French Cinema,” Bright Lights Film Journal, 29, July, 2000, 11 pages, online July, 2000 at

“Alfred Hitchcock’s WWII French Films and the Limits of Propaganda,” Images, 9, Aug. 1999, online December, 1999, at

"Infinite Identities, Endless Environments: Jack London's The Star Rover," Lamar Journal of the Humanities, 23(2), 21-33, 1998

"Historical Patterns of French and Other European Healthcare Initiatives and Their Social Implications Today," with Dianna Rivers, National Social Science Perspectives Journal, 12(1), 153-162, 1997     

"Literature on Ice: Climatic Changes and European Cultural Dynamics," The European Studies Journal, 12(2) 61-83, 1995

"Climatic Changes and Societal Creativity in Europe from the Middle Ages to the Present," National Social Science Perspectives Journal, 4(3), 191-202, 1994

"The Count and Countess of the Left Bank," Educational Travel Review, Fall, 1993

"Ways of Knowing: Omar S. Castañeda's Cunuman," in Lamar Journal of the Humanities, 17(1) 17-36, 1992

"Cor-norama: Exclusion, Fathers, and Language in the Society of Le Père Goriot," Stanford French Review, 9(2), 153-68, 1985

"A or De? A Rule for the Infinitif complément," North Carolina Foreign Language Journal, 1984, 3(1), 6-7

"Translating Villiers de l'Isle-Adam: An Interview with Marilyn Gaddis Rose," Translation Review, 14, 29-32, 1984

"The Swirl: Eroticism in Balzac and Flaubert," French Literature Series, 10, 138-42, 1983

"Balzac and Visual Caricature," Revue du Pacifique, 3(2), 120-30, 1977