Sofie Lachapelle | College of Arts

Sofie Lachapelle

Sofie - photo
Department Chair and Professor
Phone number: 
(519) 824-4120 ex. 53214
2013 Mackinnon Extension


Ph.D. University of Notre Dame, Indiana, 2002
B.Sc. Université de Montréal, Québec, 1995


University of Guelph, 2005-
Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, postdoctoral fellow, 2002-04
Purdue University Calumet, visiting instructor, 2001-02


Medicine and opera
Science, culture, and entertainment
Science, children, and scientific toys
Religion and science
Aquariums and animal history
Modern France

areas of research for graduate supervision: 
history of science
science, culture, and entertainment
history of the human sciences
modern France

My monograph Conjuring Science: A History of Scientific Entertainment and Stage Magic in Modern France (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015) explores the relationship of science, magic and entertainment in nineteenth and early twentieth-century France, focusing on the world of conjurers and magic shows. I am presently working on a project dealing with the relationship of opera and physiology in late-nineteenth-century France.



Conjuring Science: A History of Scientific Entertainment and Stage Magic in Modern France (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015)

Investigating the Supernatural: From Spiritism and Occultism to Psychical Research and Metapsychics in France, 1853-1931 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011).

     articles and book chapters:

with Kimberly Francis, "Medicine Goes to the Opera: Vocal Health and Remedies for Professional Singers of the Belle Époque," 19th-Century Music, vol. 44, no. 1 (2020), 19-35.

"Touring a Once Pious Nation: Gender, Medievalism, Tourism, and Catholic Nation-Building in Early Twentieth-Century France," Women's History Review, 29, 1 (2019): 37-55.

"Prophecies of Pilgrimage: The Rise and Fall of Marie Bergadieu, the Ecstatic of Fontet," in Henk de Smaele, Tineke Osselaer, and Kaat Wils-Verhaegen, ed., Sign or Symptom? Exceptional Corporeal Phenomena in Medicine and Religion (Leuven: University of Leuven Press, ​2017), 55-74.

with John Donald et al. "On the Place of the Humanities and Social Sciences in the Engineering Curriculum: A Canadian Perspective," Global Journal of Engineering Education, vol. 19, no.1 (2017), 6-18..

with Kimberly Francis, "The Medical and the Musical: French Physiology and Late-Nineteeth-Century Operatic Training," Cambridge Opera Journal, 28, 3 (2017), 347-362.

with Heena Mistry, "From the Waters of the Empire to the Tanks of Paris: The Creation and Early Years of the Aquarium Tropical, Palais de la Porte Dorée," Journal of the History of Biology 47 (2014): 1-27.

with Jenna Healey, "On Hans, Zou and the Others:  Wonder Animals and the Question of Animal Intelligence in Early Twentieth-Century France," Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological & Biomedical Sciences 41 (2010): 12-20.

“Science on Stage: Recreational Physics, White Magic, and Scientific Wonder at the Nineteenth-Century French Theatre,” History of Science 47, part 3, no. 157 (September 2009): 297-315.

“From the Stage to the Laboratory: Magicians, Psychologists, and the Science of Illusion,” Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences 44, no. 4 (Autumn 2008): 319-334.

"Educating Idiots: Utopian Ideals and Practical Organization Regarding Idiocy inside Nineteenth-Century French Asylums," Science in Context 20, no. 4 (December 2007): 627-648.

“Attempting Science: The Creation and Early Development of the Institut Métapsychique International in Paris, 1919–1931,” Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences 41, no. 1 (Winter 2005): 1-24.

“Between Miracle and Sickness: Louise Lateau and the Experience of Stigmata and Ecstasy,” Configurations 12 (2004): 77-105 .