Wednesday, April 9
Humanities 401
5:00 PM
Catherine Guisan
Why Memory Matters to European Integration: Between Norms and Clichés
Coordinated by Martine Sauret

With 27 member states the European Union has become a powerful symbol of European peace and prosperity. However, its citizens seem to have grown increasingly disillusioned and confused. As leaders and scholars reflect on the political meaning(s) of the European Union, few take into account issues of memory. Why is this so? And how to remember early peace-making attempts? This lecture will discuss attempts to establish the European Union as a “normative power” and why memory matters.

Catherine Guisan is a lecturer in the Political Science Department at the University of Minnesota and has taught at the University of Utrecht, Netherlands. She is the author of Un sens a l’Europe: Gagner la paix (1950-2003) (Paris: odile Jacob 2003). She has lectured widely in Europe on issues of European integration and political ethics.

Thursday, April 3
Humanities 401
11:45 AM
Peter Vantine
The Goncourts’ Hommes de lettres (1860): Portraying and Slaying the Press during the Second Empire 
Coordinated by Martine Sauret

Peter Vantine is a Ph.D. candidate in French at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he is completing his dissertation on “La métatextualité et les figures d’artistes dans les romans des Goncourt”. He is currently an Adjunct Faculty at The University of St. Thomas and a Visiting Instructor at Macalester College. His talk will compare a novel co-authored by brothers Edmond and Jules de Goncourt to several other contemporary literary representations of the press and of journalism’s relationship to politics, power, a growing readership and an increasingly commercialized literary marketplace.

Thursday, March 27
Humanities 401
11:45 AM
Susan Rosenstreich
Disappearing Act: France in Recent Quebec Fiction
Coordinated by Martine Sauret

What does it take to be a distinct culture? In the case of Quebec, it has meant a declaration of separation from France, the beloved motherland that orphaned its New World colony at the signing of the 1763 Treaty of Paris. Adopted by the British throne, the bereft colony remained stubbornly loyal to its far-off parent, ensconcing in poetry, theatre and fictional narrative carefully preserved memories of the France it had lost. And then, one fine day, France faded from Quebec’s view. Instead of being French, Quebec became itself, distinct, separate and powerful.

How did it happen? While it may appear to have been a sudden disappearing act, the fading of France from Quebec’s culture occurred over at least two generations, beginning with the generation that came of age in the late 1940s. By the middle of the 1970s, a new literary horizon had opened up in Quebec, a horizon that deliberately and literally erased France from its expanse. Three novels in particular, published over the ten-year period of 1974 to 1984, demonstrate this disappearing act. Une Liaison parisienne by Marie-Claire Blais, Régine Robin’s celebrated La Québécoite, and Michel Tremblay’s Des Nouvelles d’Edouard, each in its own way, put France in a picture from which that nation, along with its cultural prestige, was expressly erased.

This presentation follows the erasure process that took France out of Quebec’s picture. Beginning with the historical context, we follow the process through the reception and ramification of the three novels that depict the disappearance of France from Quebec’s culture. A fast-forward leap into the present puts finishing touches on this drama in which Quebec rises from cultural remnant to cultural regent.

Thursday, February 21
Olin Rice 150
11:45 AM
Abdourahmane Waberi 
The Call for Duty: African Writers and the Rwandan Genocide
Coordinated by Joëlle Vitiello

Abdourahmane A. Waberi is one of ten African writers who participated in a Panafrican project about post-genocide Rwanda (Rwanda; Ecrire par devoir de mémoire, Rwanda: Writing by Duty of Memory). Prof. Waberi will talk about his experiences in post-genocide Rwanda and the relationship between literary and ethical, philosophical and political discourses.

Friday, February 8
Humanities 401
12:00 PM
Alexis Peskine 
Paris Noir: Reflections From the Dark Side From the City of Light
Coordinated by Joëlle Vitiello

Alexis Peskine is a 27-year old artist. A graduate from Howard University and Maryland Institute College of Art as well as a Fulbright Scholar, he incorporates his experiences growing up in multicultural and multiracial Paris in his video, photography and mixed media art. From a Franco-Russian and Afro-Brazilian background and having received a French-American education, Peskine occupies a unique position to reflect on daily life in France. His multimedia images on “The French Evolution: Race, Politics, and the 2005 Riots” have been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary African Diaspora Arts in New York. For a review of his perspectives on France’s motto “Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité,” his analysis of Belgian cartoon-character Tintin, and take on French commercial images of the Senegalese soldier on the label of the Banania chocolate drink and Asterix the Gaul, view the New York Times Review at: http://travel.nytimes.com/2007/07/13/arts/13pesk.html?pagewanted=print

Tuesday, December 4
Humanities 401
12:00 PM
Martine Sauret
Si les explorateurs m'étaient conté : L'image des indiens dans les journaux d'explorateurs. (The image of the Indians in the First Stories of Explorers)

The image of Indians in the first diaries varies tremendously. We will examine how Columbus, Verrazano and Cartier reacted to their first encounters to the inhabitants of the New World and how their image changed rapidly through the years.

Saturday, November 3
Carnegie 06
1:00 PM
Stéphane Martin
The Quai Branly Museum : A new ethnographic museum in France
Coordinated by Martine Sauret

In 1995 Jacques Chirac began announcing his aim to found a new museum in Paris. The museum would be dedicated to the arts of Africa, Asia Oceania andthe Americas, thereby acknowledging the diversity of this art while giving special attention to dialogue between cultures. The intent was to create an institution entirely dedicated to the patrimonies of other countries and not solely to French culture. At once a study and research center, library, theater and concert hall, the Quai Branly Museum, which opened its doors to the public this past June 23, provides various possibilities to put on display numerous works and the cultures from which they come. Coming up with the idea, however, of an ethnographic museum in a country where the question of indigenous peoples isn’t discussed with as much intensity as it is in the United States, and where it directly impacts upon national identity, was not necessarily a given. It assumed the task of envisioning the specific way of displaying the artwork of these peoples, carrying on discourse about, them and portraying their representatives’ voices.

Thursday, November 1
Humanities 401
5:00 PM
Eileen Sivert
Rewriting Maternal Connections in Quebec: Anne Hébert "Le Premier jardin"
Coordinated by Martine Sauret

Beginning in the 1960s and 1970s, much of the literature and criticism treating the recent, and extraordinary, change in the role and the image of the Quebecmother was reactive. The formerly much admired Quebec mother (of an invariably very large family) was vilified in literature, and many critical studies portrayed her, and even childbearing itself, as an impediment to any kind of progress for women. After this abrupt rejection of traditional views of Quebec motherhood, came a tentative exploration of what it means to be both a woman and a mother in contemporary society. My aim is to rethink the realities of motherhood in modern society through a reading Anne Hébert’s 1988 novel, Le Premier jardin (The First Garden). 

Monday, October 22
Humanities 401
4:30 PM
Saloua Ben Zahra
Discussion of Tombéza by Rachid Mimouni
Coordinated by Martine Sauret

The purpose of my reading of Rachid Mimouni’s work and presentation of his title character Tombéza is to examine his representation of the unpresentable and articulation of the unspeakable. In his novel he gives a leading role to ahandicapped protagonist and voices with him a statement on the condition of the people in Algerian society. My aim is to explore the position of the physically disabled in a Post-Colonial Arab/Muslim society and to examine the function of disability as narrative within a piece of North African literature. We will investigate the gendered social causes and consequences of disability in a specific Maghrebian cultural setting. Such a context determines the predicament of the surviving disabled through society’s misreading of their different physical marks. A correction would be attempted through a supplement from an Islamic and progressive reading of physical difference..