Tuesday, April 28
Olin Rice 100
Philippe Tanzzman and Marie-France Collard (Le GROUPOV)
Coordinated by Joelle Vitiello
The French & Francophone Studies Department will present a screening of the film Rwanda 94 by Marie-France Collard. The film records the play Rwanda 94by the international theater group, Le GROUPOV, based in Liège, Belgium. Le GROUPOV is an experimental and performance group that constantly researches new ideas about stage performance and representation. Disturbed by the deafening silence that surrounded the genocide in Rwanda in 1994 in Europe, le GROUPOV proposed restoring to the theater the voice and body of those who no one wants to hear. They spent five years collecting testimonies of survivors, and conducting research in order to find the appropriate forum from which “to speak the unspeakable.” Le GROUPOV has performed Rwanda 94 in Avignon for the International Festival, in Belgium, France, Montreal, and has conducted many workshops in schools in Europe. Le GROUPOV also presented their performance in Rwanda. Marie-France Collard made a film based on the responses to the performances in Rwanda and in the recollections and portrayal of the current situation of survivors, Rwanda: Through Us, Humanity.
Philippe Tanszman, producer and actor with Le GROUPOV, and Marie-France Collard, producer and film-maker, will introduce the film based on the performances of Rwanda 94, a multi-genre dramatic representation.
Wednesday, April 29th in Olin Rice 100 at 5:30 PM Philippe Tanszman and Marie-France Collard will talk about the process of the play and of the filmRwanda 94 and will respond to questions.
Wednesday, April 22
Understanding Political Reconciliations: European Experiences
Coordinated by Martine Sauret
Political reconciliation has become a major goal in domestic and international politics since the end of the Cold War in 1989. But what does it mean exactly? This lecture focuses on a few “success stories,” albeit very imperfect ones, to learn from what has worked rather than from what failed. It examines European experiences of international reconciliation, starting with the rapprochement between France and Germany in the 1950s, and after 1989 the attempts at reconciliation that followed in other parts of Europe.
In light of these European experiences, should reconciliation be considered at best a fragile, temporary equilibrium between opposite political forces that must be reenacted with each passing generation? Or can it bring a definitive end to longstanding conflicts? Is reconciliation an action that rests on religious faith? Or could it/should it be motivated by political conviction only or economic interest? Is there a dark side to reconciliation that undermines justice? Have trials helped or hindered reconciliation? While there may be no one right answer to these questions, this lecture reviews some of the many ways of thinking and acting out political reconciliation.
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 à 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.
Monday, April 20
French Museums in the 21st century: challenges and perspectives
Coordinated by Anne Carayon
Museums in France have long functioned not merely as sites for the preservation and presentation of art, but also as emblems of national identity, reservoirs of collective memory, and centers for the education of the public. In the 21st century French Museums are faced with unprecedented historical, financial, administrative, and political challenges: globalization and export of French art and culture, the ethics of lending artworks for a fee, the neglect of permanent collections in favor of blockbuster temporary exhibitions, the necessity of being profitable due to less governmental support, the centralized character of culture in the French political system, the requirements for introducing contemporary art in the context of a rich cultural heritage. Discussion will include some of the most recent (and controversial!) projects, their ideology and aims, such as the Louvre in Atlanta, the Louvre in Abu Dhabi and the Jeff Koons retrospective in Versailles.
Dr. Anna Tahinci has a Master’s in History and Archaeology from the University of Athens. She earned her Ph.D. in Art History at the University of Paris I, Panthéon-Sorbonne with a dissertation on “The Collectors of Rodin’s sculptures during his lifetime.” She has worked at the Musée Rodin, the Musée d’Orsay, the Louvre and the Harvard University Art Museums. In 2004 she co-curated the sculpture exhibition that was organized in Athens for the Olympic Games. She is currently a consultant co-curator for the preparation of the exhibition “Rodin in America” at Stanford University.
Wednesday, April 8
Franco-American rapprochement; towards a new transatlantic relationship?
Coordinated by Martine Sauret
For many French people, the American “hyper-power” could pose a global threat, and, as such, they believe they must keep their distance. In this way, we create the false image of a France that is different, a France that alone holds the recipe for democracy and the defense of diversity and cultures against U.S. hegemony. Breaking with that systematic defiance, the first visits by president Sarkozy to the United States were criticized as signs of allegiance.
Has France gone from independence to submission? Is it a temporary appeasement or a true rapprochement between old allies? Will the Atlantic alliance come apart under the pressure of a “continental drift” that will continue distancing the United States from the Old World? Or, on the contrary, is the relationship soundly based on shared values and interests?
Despite their differences, France and the United States share not only the same ideals (democracy and human rights) and the same problems (those of an open society), but also the same enemies. Terrorism, nuclear proliferation, violence in the Middle East, and China and Russia’s excesses do not threaten only Americans, and the United States cannot face them alone. How is it possible to even imagine an effective fight against global warming without American cooperation?
With the upcoming election of a new American president, isn’t this the time to reshape the European-American alliance and to create a new transatlantic relationship that is based on openness, balance, and clarity?
Nicole Bacharan is a historian and political scientist specializing in American society and French-American relations. She is a researcher with the National Foundation for Political Science (Science-Po) and a National Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University in California.
Thursday, April 2
Olin Rice 100
Radically Fantastical: Metamorphosis and the “Racialized” Event and the New Un-French Novel
Coordinated by Andrew Billing
French artists and theorists of the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries display acute ambivalence when faced with the problem of how to define, represent and assess social events and historical shifts that appear to exceed the conceptual capacities of the era and situation that have preceded and “given birth” to those very shifts and events. This paper will argue that a crucial and overlooked source of provocative enquiry into the contemporary, post-modern and post colonial subject’s reaction before a cataclysmic shift can be located in the contemporary French “fantastic” novel, and more particularly in the ethnic inflections that troublesome genre is accorded in the recent work of such authors as Marie NDiaye and the Algerian writer Mohammed Dib.
Andew Asibong is a Lecturer in 20th and 21st-century French and francophone literature, thought, and film at Birkbeck, University of London. Before coming to Birkbeck in 2006, he taught at the University of Paris X (Nanterre), King’s College London, and the University of Nottingham. He is an affiliate member of the Centre for the Interdisciplinary Study of Sexuality and Gender in Europe, a
Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and co-director of Birkbeck Research in Representations of Kinship and Community. Andrew’s publications include a recent book on Francois Ozon, a forthcoming edited volume with Shirley Jordan entitled “Marie NDiaye: L’Étrangeté à l’oeuvre,” and numerous articles and book chapters on Ozon and NDiaye amongst other contemporary writers.
Monday, December 1
Olin Rice 250
Dr. Anna Tahinci
From self-image to self-destruct: Camille Claudel (1864-1943) and Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) in perspective
Coordinated by Martine Sauret
The relationship between the French sculptors Camille Claudel (1864-1943) and Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) has attracted a great deal of attention over the last two decades: exhibitions, biographies, catalogues raisonnés, articles, novels and films have tried to acquit Camille’s artistic reputation and vindicate the originality of the fin de siècle sculptress. Camille is often seen as an underestimated genius and as a victim of circumstance. Her tragic life, her relationship with Rodin and, after their separation, the thirty unproductive years she spent in a psychiatric hospital, makes it difficult to arrive at a fair judgment of her qualities as a sculptress. In this perspective, it is appropriate to investigate on Camille’s self-image, on how she represented herself in her artistic production, on how she transposed her own experience into symbolic images or personal mythology. The sculptures of Camile Claudel that contain the most obvious autobiographical element were conceived as representations of her mental conceptions, works in which the artist proved her abilities to portray herself as a female figure which acquires the symbolic dimension of love and destiny. Torn between desire and despair, Camille tried to extinguish her own life and happiness and commited suicide in effigy, she constantly seemed to reach out and try to grasp an unattainable mythology, which she never seemed able to obtain.
Wednesday, November 12
Boubacar Boris Diop
L’Afro-pessimisme: actualité et enjeux
Coordinated by Joelle Vitiello
Senegalese writer Boubacar Boris Diop will talk about the legacies of afropessimism theories from the early nineties to contemporary discourses about Africa in Western and African media, politicians’ discourses, and African intellectuals’ positions.
Boubacar Boris Diop is a major writer, playwright, journalist and essayist from Senegal. His novels include Le temps de Tamango (1981), Les tambours de la mémoire (1991), Les traces de la meute (1993), L’impossible innocence (2004), and Kaveena (2006). In 1998, Diop participated in a project called “Duty of Memory: Writing about Rwanda” sponsored by Fest’Africa in France. His novel, Murambi (2000), was translated in English as Murambi: The Book of Bones, (Indiana University Press, 2006). It will be staged in New York City in 2009. Diop has also written short stories, plays (Thiaroye, 1981, and Grandakar-usine) and essays, L’Afrique au-delà du miroir (2007), Ecris et tais-toi (2006), and in collaboration with Odile Tobner-Biyidi and François-Xavier Verschave, Négrophobie (2005). He wrote a novel in Wolof, Domi Goolo in 2004 and performed a reading of it with the Senegalese Association of the Twin Cities at Macalester in April 2005.
Thursday, November 6
Prélude to Suite française
Olivier Philipponnat was in 1967 in Épernay, in the Marne department, Olivier Philipponnat is the author ofRoger Stéphane, enquête sur l’aventurier (with Patrick Lienhardt, Grasset, 2004), a highly-praised biography of the founder ofL’Observateur and pioneer of cultural television.
La Vie d’Irène Némirovsky (Grasset/Denoël, 2007), the first comprehensive biography of the author of Suite française (Denoël, 2004; Knopf, 2006), is based on letters, archives, and drafts as well as previously unseen texts. The book received Le Point’s 2008 prize for biography, and it is scheduled to be published in the United States by Knopf in fall 2008.
He also composed the prefaces to two previously unpublished novels by Némirovsky,Le Maître des âmes (The Master of Spirits, Denoël, 2005) and Chaleur du sang(Denoël, 2007 ; Fire in the Blood, Knopf, 2007), as well as a new edition of Mouches d’automne (Snow in Autumn), along with three previously unknown texts (Grasset,Cahiers rouges, to be published in 2009).
Formerly a music critic at Compact and Cinefonia and now a literary critic forparutions.com and the Magazine des livres, Philipponnat is also the co-author of theDictionnaire superflu de la musique (Le Castor astral, 2004; November 2008 reissue).
This lecutre is co-sponsored by Macalester, The Delegation Générale de l’Alliance Française de Washington, Minnesota Accueil, The Alliance française des villes jumelles and The Minnesota International Center.