Wednesday, April 30
4:30 PM Humanities 401
Dr. Zachary Polsky
Visiting Professor, Macalester French Dept
Machines and Machinery in Seventeenth–Century France (and Beyond)

Machines have become a part of our everyday lives in the twenty-first century. They wake us up in the morning, make us coffee, allow us access to our bank accounts, and even record our most personal feelings and ideas. This presentation focuses on the role and the effect of machines in seventeenth-century France, the first great machine-building century in French history and perhaps Western history as well, when theatrical machines ruled the stage – the most popular form of entertainment at the time—and Blaise Pascal built the first machine à calculer, the ancestor of today’s computers and other calculating machines. But what exactly is a machine? How does it really work? Does the machine have an effect on its user, and vice-versa? In responding to these questions with respect to the period in question, we can begin to understand some of the most fundamental aspects of our ongoing and evolving relationship with the machines of today and tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 11
11:45 AM Humanities 401
Jérôme Loisel
Laval University, Québec Canada
Essai and Society in Modern Québec

In the early 1960’s, Quebec society underwent drastic change. This period, which is now known as the “quiet revolution,” set down the basic infrastructure for modern Quebec. Literature was an actor for change and one of its primary tributaries, especially through the genre known as the essai. This presentation will give an overview of modern Quebec, the essai as a literary genre, and of their intersections

Tuesday, February 25 
11:45 AM Olin Rice 350
Alain Mabanckou
Writer 
Understanding Immigration in Two African Novels: An African in Paris (1956) and Blue Blanc Rouge (1998)

Congolese writer Alain Mabanckou studied Law and Political Science in Brazzaville and in Paris. While pursing his writing he has acted as legal consultant for the French Company Suez-Lyonnaise des Eaux. He is currently Visiting Distinguished Artist at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. He has published six volumes of poetry and four novels, Bleu Blanc Rouge (1998), L’enterrement de ma mere (2000), Et Dieu suel sait comment je dors (2001), and Les Petits-fils négres de Vercingetorix (2002). His fifth novel will come out in Paris in September 2003. He has written short stories and articles as well. He received the Grand Prix littéraire de l’Afrique noire for his first novel in 1999.

Thursday, November 14
11:45 AM French House
Dr. Boliya Ngoy
Post-Mobutu Politics in Congo

Dr. Boliya Ngoy, the President of Congo Protestant University in Kinshasa (Former Zaire) will speak about “Post-Mobutu Politics in Congo”, including Linguistic and Cultural Politics.

Dr. Ngoy is currently pursuing post-doctoral studies in the United States.

Thursday, September 19
12:00 PM French House
Peter Eyvindson
Writer
Haitian Life

Sony is from Haiti. He is visiting Macalester for a few days. Peter Eyvindson is a prolific Canadian author. He writes children's books. He traveled to Haiti a few years ago, met Sony and wrote his story. Sony has overcome several obstacles, partly through dance therapy.

Sony and Peter will speak about Haitian life and culture, and about Sony's story.