Spring 2013 Schedule

Spring 2013 Schedule

Tuesday, January 29, 11:30-1:00

4226 Dwinelle (French conference room) - Coffee and cookies provided

Discussion of the introduction to Nicholas Dew's Orientalism in Louis XIV's France

Reading: Posted under "Share Files."


Wednesday, March 6, 12:00-2:00

4104 Dwinelle (Comparative Literature conference room) - Lunch provided

Discussion of the recent collection French Global: A New Approach to Literary History (eds Christie McDonald & Susan Rubin Suleiman, Columbia University Press, 2010).

Readings: Posted under "Share Files." The chapters we'd like to discuss are:

- Introduction: The National and the Global

- Chapter 19: French Literature in the World System of Translation (Gisele Sapiro)

- Chapter 20: Intellectuals Without Borders (Lawrence D. Kritzman)

- Chapter 29: Choosing French: Language, Foreignness, and the Canon (Susan Rubin Suleiman)

NB. I have also uploaded a chapter by Francoise Lionnet, but we don't plan to discuss that text during the meeting.

These chapters all address a couple of the overarching questions of the collection: what is Francophone literature? Is it still something we can or should define? How should we, as readers and critics, approach definitions like "Francophonie" or "litterature-monde"? We look forward to discussing these questions, and more, over lunch on March 6th.


Wednesday, April 3, 11:00-1:00

4104 Dwinelle (Comparative Literature conference room) - Lunch provided

"Bras-Coupé in Translation: A French Glimpse at Colonial Louisiana"

Sarah Jessica Johnson, Ph.D. Student in the English Department

The French short story "Bras-Coupé," published in 1856 by Louis Armand Garreau, is the only French version that I have found of the story of this infamous New Orleans slave, "Bras-Coupé." This fugitive slave of literary legend reappears in George Washington Cable's 1880 novel The Grandissimes and Lafcadio Hearn's journalistic response of the same year to that novel. The stories of Bras-Coupé are all based on the slave named Squire who lived in New Orleans in the 1830s. As his nickname suggests, Squire lost an arm while fleeing for his life to the swamps surrounding New Orleans. He grew in the mind of the public to be a threat to the security of the city, for he was believed to be organizing a large slave revolt. He was killed in 1837, but his story was printed in the newspaper and would be retold time and again. Returning to Garreau's french version of the story, I ask the following questions: What compelled this Frenchman to rewrite Bras-Coupé's story as a scathing critique of US American Slavery? Considering Garreau's time lived in Louisiana and his use of Creole dialects, can this be thought of as a francophone text? What does it mean for him to criticize a former French colony? Can we thus discuss this also as a Postcolonial text? 

Reading: Posted under "Share Files."


Wednesday, May 1, 12:00-2:00

4104 Dwinelle (Comparative Literature conference room) - Lunch provided

"The Calculus of Disaster: Citizenship and Economics following the 1891 Hurricane"

Chris Church, Ph.D. Candidate in the History Department 

My dissertation uses natural disasters as a lens through which to explore the socio-political and cultural struggles of fin-de-siècle France and its colonies, because disasters bring to the fore existing racial and social tensions and they hold to the fire France’s ideological convictions: assimilation and citizenship. The chapter before the one being discussed explains how Frenchmen socially identified with and supported distant "compatriots" in the Caribbean who suffered during the 1890 Fires.  Chapter 5 (the one being discussed) examines the role played by economics in distinguishing "colonial" populations from "metropolitan" ones, looking at how the French business elite attempted to distance themselves from the French Caribbean in the aftermath of the 1891 hurricane. The following chapter turns toward politics in order to show how the strike of 1900 fore-grounded labor unrest in metropolitan France and how French socialists rallied to the cause of their "compatriots" in the Caribbean. The dissertation ends with the deadliest natural event in the Western Hemisphere—the 1902 eruption of Mount Pelée and the destruction of Saint-Pierre, "the Paris of the Antilles"—to discuss the strong cultural bonds which united Frenchmen, the politics that divided them, and the prejudices that plagued them.

Reading: Posted under "Share Files" (available only to project members).