Tuesday, April 9
11:45 AM Humanities 401
Nikolai Petrov
Visiting Assistant Professor, Macalester College
A Dialogue Through the Centuries: Haussmann's Paris - Luzhkov's Moscow

It may sound strange, but Moscow and Paris have a lot in common. Both used to be centers of huge empires, which competed at some points in history and collaborated at others. Many of the innovations in contemporary Moscow were inspired by Paris, from the adoption of administrative terms like "prefects" and "sous-prefects" to the use of bright green plastic brooms to sweep the streets. The Mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov, tried to play the roles of both Baron Haussmann (19th Century) and Jacques Chirac. There will be a description of the 19th Century Paris of Haussmann and the renewal of Moscow under Luzhkov with an emphasis on urban environment and the intersection of politics and city planning.

Tuesday, March 12
11:45 AM Art 113
Robert Warde
Associate Professor, Macalester College
Manet's Olympia: The Weight of Paint

From its first public showing in the Salon of 1865 to the present day, Edouard Manet’s “Olympia” has attracted a crowd. To understand the fuss, we need to think about this controversial work within the framework of Western art, within the context of mid-nineteenth century French society, in relation to the artist who created it, in light of the woman who modeled for it, as paint on canvas, and as an object winding its way through the world. That is what we will try to do.

Tuesday, February 26
11:45 AM Humanities 401
Dr. Mark Mazullo, Macalester College
Images of Paris in 19th Century Italian Opera

Professor Mazullo will speak about Paris as a dynamic presence in Giacomo Puccini's "La Boheme" (1896) and Giuseppe Verdi's "La Traviata" (1853).

Music historian Carl Dahlhaus writes in his influential book "Nineteenth-Century Music" that "In opera, nineteenth-century Paris was a milieu fully as unusual, and therefore as picturesque, as China and Japan." While Puccini's experiments in exoticising the Orient (in Madama Butterfly and Turandot) and the American West (in La Fanciulla del West) were yet to come when he composed his fourth opera in 1896, still the setting in Paris's Latin Quarter gave him the opportunity to fill his score with "local color" -- all but a requirement in a late-19-century music culture overflowing with nationalist tendencies.

Verdi, at mid-century, gave the French capital an even more tangible role in his most popular opera. In her first-act aria, Violetta, the courtesan around whom the story unfolds, describes herself as "A poor, lonely woman/ Abandoned in this teeming desert/They call Paris!" A master of musical dramaturgy, Verdi lets the pull of Paris in Violetta's mind alter the formal structure of this aria, giving subtle musical representation to her internal struggle, as she chooses between the intimacy of love in the country and the decadent pleasures of life in the city.

Wednesday, February 20
4:30 PM Olin Rice 250
Sheryl Mousley
Associate Curator for Film/Video at the Walker Art Center
French Women Film Directors: Women with Vision

Sheryl Mousley is Associate Curator for Film/Video at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis where she researches, creates, and produces contemporary media exhibition programs, retrospective series, and artist-in-residence projects for the museum's film/video programs. In addition, she curates each year a month-long festival, Women With Vision, an extensive showcase of film, video, and new media works directed by women. This year, several of the films showcased are by French directors. Sheryl Mousley will speak about the process of selecting the films and organizing such an event, as well as comment on the specificities of this year's films.

Tuesday, February 12
11:45 AM Humanities 401
Paul Solon 
Professor, Macalester College
France: The Revolutionary Nation and its Fate

French nationalism assumed its modern form during the era of the French Revolution and its inextricable linkage with the traditions of revolution help explain the constitutional instability of modern France. In little over 200 years the French nation has been ephemerally governed by two empires, three monarchies, five republics [so far], and an indeterminate number of dictatorships. Though revolutionary tradition seems to both sustain and revitalize the nation it clearly exacts high costs and this curious symbiosis surely cannot endure. When it passes, will the nation itself pass with it?

Tuesday, December 4
11:45 AM Humanities 401
Dr. Eva Pósfey, Carleton College
Mme de Maintenon and the Philosophy of Saint-Cyr

In the declining years of the reign of the Sun King, Françoise d'Aubigné marquise de Maintenon and second wife of Louis XIV, envisioned a school that came to be regarded both in France and abroad as a model institution for the education of young noblewomen. This presentation will focus on the uniqueness of Saint-Cyr's education within the context of gender roles in the late 17th century.

Some excepts from Patricia Mazuy's recent film "Saint Cyr" will be shown.

Thursday, November 15
11:45 AM Humanities 401
Dr. Armand Renaud
Emeritus Professor, University of Minnesota
Perception and Reality in the 17th Century

Three centuries, the 18th, 19th and much of the 20th, saw the 17th as the "Grand Siècle." High praise spawned detractors but titillating disclosures attracted wide attention only after post-revolutionary historians dwelled on the faults of the Old Regime to affirm the superiority of bourgeois institutions. Perspectives is the aim of the presentation.

Thursday, October 11
11:45 AM Humanities 401
Dr Mayra Rodriguez
Assistant Professor, Macalester. College
French Art at the Time of Louis XIV

Professor Rodriguez will talk about the architecture and painting produced in France during the reign of Louis XIV. Monuments to be discussed include the palace of the Louvre, the chateau and gardens of Versailles, and the paintings of Nicholas Poussin, Claude Lorrain, and Louis Le Nain.

Tuesday, September 25
11:45 AM Humanities 401
Dr. Mark Mazullo, Macalester College
Music in the Court of Louis XIV

Professor Mazullo will speak on the relationship between French and Italian operatic traditions of the 17th century. He will then present the work of the Sun King's "official" opera composer, Jean-Baptiste Lully (born Giovanni Baftista Lully, near Florence, 1632-1687) and will discuss Lully's opera "Armide" (1686). He will outline various components of French Baroque opera-the French Overture, the declamatory recitative style, the obligatory ballet music-and will place Lully's work in the context of the official court culture.