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Thursday, April 24
4:45 PM
Neill Hall 401
Dru Pagliassotti
Appearing Steampunk: NeoVictorian Aesthetics and Themes within La Cité des enfants perdus (The City of Lost Children)

In January 2013, IBM declared steampunk the next big cultural meme; in February 2014, Project Runway:  Under the Gunn challenged its contestants to create an outfit in “Steampunk Chic.” But how do we recognize steampunk when we see it? The film La Cité des enfants is often cited as an early example of the steampunk aesthetic, but is it, really? Appearing Steampunk will discuss steampunk’s neoVictorian aesthetics, themes, and clichés, drawing on La Cité des enfants and similar films to track the genre’s manifestation in cinema.

(Optional additional first sentence: Steampunk is a retrofuturist technofantasy in which participants create, share, and enjoy a remixed and upcycled performative and narrative space of “never-was.”)

Dru Pagliassotti is a professor of communication at California Lutheran University and the author of the award winning steampunk romance, Clockwork Heart. The second book in her trilogy, Clockwork Lies: Iron Wind, was released on March 15. Pagliassotti’s areas of academic research include steampunk romances and comic books, and the global spread and Western reception of yaoi manga.

Tuesday, April 8
4:45 PM
Neill Hall 401
Clare Ryan ’08
Les droits de l’homme dans la vie quotidienne: translating a Macalester education into a career in human rights

Clare Ryan is a Visiting Assistant Professor in Political Science. She graduated from Macalester in 2008, majoring in Political Science and minoring in French.  As a Macalester student, Clare studied abroad in Paris with the Internships in Francophone Europe program and was a legal intern at La Ligue des Droits de L’homme. After Macalester, Clare worked in Auch, France with the Language Teaching Assistant program. Clare then attended Yale Law School, where she focused on European constitutional law and children’s rights. In 2011, she worked for the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France and for the Groupe d’information et de soutien des immigrés in Paris. Clare currently teaches public law classes in the Political Science Department. Next year, she will return to Strasbourg as a research fellow at the European Court of Human Rights.

Ryan will discuss how her experiences at Macalester influenced her career choices, particularly her focus on French law and European human rights. Then, she will describe her current work in human rights research and how her time in France has helped inform and guide this scholarship.

Friday, March 28
4:45 PM
Olin Rice 100
John Nimis ’97
Love and Music in Contemporary Africa:  Kinshasa’s ‘Musique Moderne’

This talk will serve as an introduction to the popular music of the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has been an enormous influence across the African continent.  A dazzling mix of electric guitars, intricate melodies, and dance rhythms, Congolese “rumba” or “soukous” has miraculously thrived from colonial times, through Mobutu’s repressive dictatorship, and various stages of radical instability.  One of the most central and unifying examples of modern African culture, it’s theme is almost always romantic love, with melodramatic songs about marriage and divorce, infidelity and unrequited love.

John Nimis is currently Assistant Professor of African Languages and Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  He received his PhD in French from New York University, and also holds a master’s in Piano Performance from the University of Michigan and a BA in Physics from Macalester College.  His primary research focus is on the popular music of the Congo region and the Lingala language, and his secondary research areas include African literature, French literature, literary theory, as well as cinema and popular music in the Global South.

Wednesday, March 12
4:45 PM
Neill Hall 401
Anne-Marie Gronhovd
The Pleasure of Reading Proust

Professor Anne-Marie Gronhovd will discuss what excites the reader in Proust is the social comedy with its taste of tragedy and humor. Proust put the world of ideas in a vast social fresco passably burlesque. He was the great analyst of desire, jealousy, and social class.

Anne-Marie Gronhovd is Emerita Professor of French and African Studies at Gustavus Adolphus College. She received her Ph.D. in French Literature of the Twentieth Century, her doctoral thesis was on Marcel Proust’s A la recherche du temps perdu.

Her research interests include French literature of the twentieth Century to the present, critical literary theory, French and Francophone women writers; and North African studies, with an emphasis on Algeria with the works of Maïssa Bay and Malek Bennabi.

She published essays and a book on Marcel Proust, Du côté de la sexualité, and articles and essays on Albert Camus, Marguerite Duras, and Québécois women writers. She writes book reviews for The French Review. 

Thursday, November 14
4:30 PM  
 Humanities 401
Marie-Celie Agnant
Between Doubts and Uncertainties: Writing Memory

Marie-Celie Agnant is a Haitian writer of international reputation who immigrated to Quebec in 1970. She writes poetry, short stories, novels, and youth literature. She has taught French and worked as translator and interpreter.

Her first novel, La Dot de Sara (1995) is about Haitian women and immigration. Her second novel, The Book of Emma,  is about race, slavery, memory and language, while the third, An Alligator Named Rosa, is about the impact of the repression during the Duvalierist dictatorship and confronting one’s past. Her collection of short stories is both about the violence of the dictatorship and the tragedy of Haitian boat people emigrating in the hope of escaping systemic oppression.

Thursday, November 7
4:30 PM 
Humanities 401
Patrice Nganang
The Crisis of Current African Writing

Contemporary African writing is experiencing a tremendous renewal, with young and exciting writers coming in the forefront of the literary scene, very interesting books being written, some of which were awarded or nominated for some of the most prestigious literary awards. This happens at the same moment when the structures of publishing are going through a fundamental transition, with an ongoing professionalization of writing, through the impulse of creative writing programs, literary agencies and a sedentarization of African writers in Western, and particularly, American universities. And yet, astonishingly, African writing has seldom been as powerless as it is today in giving a voice to African stories. 

Patrice Nganang – Cameroonian writer and scholar, an Associate Professor of literary and cultural theory at Stony Brook University. His publications include poetry: elobi, L’apologie du vandale; novels: La Saison des prunes, Temps de chien, La Joie de vivre,which constitute a cycle depicting city life; Mont plaisantand La Saison des prunes,a cycle about world wars (WWI, WWII, and the Civil war) as seen from a Cameroonian point of view; short novellas: L’Invention du beau regardand the serializedLa Chanson du joggeur.He also published three collections of essays, Le Principe dissident, Manifeste d’une nouvelle literature africaine: Pour une ecriture preemptive and Contre Biya: Proces d’un tyran.His work has been translated into many languages and was distinguished with awards.

Tuesday, October 1
11:30 AM
Humanities 401
Scott Carpenter
Theory of Remainders:  A Novel

A suspenseful literary novel set in the lush backgrounds of Normandy, Theory of Remainders explores the secret ties between love, trauma, and language.

At 52, psychiatrist Philip Adler is divorced, alone, and gutted of passion. When a funeral draws him back to his ex-wife’s homeland of France, the trip reunites him with a trauma he has struggled to forget: the brutal death of his teenage daughter fifteen years earlier. Prodded by his former brother-in-law and stirred by the unspent embers of his marriage, he embarks on a mission to resolve lingering questions about this past, hoping to heal himself along the way. The search leads to a disturbed man who may hold more answers than anyone expects — if only Philip can hear what he’s trying to say.

The Aesthetics of Fraudulence in 19th century France: Frauds, Hoaxes, and Counterfeits. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate Publications, 2009.  Reading Lessons: An Introduction to Theory. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2000.  Carpenter is currently working on The Heart of Study Abroad, under contract with StylusPublishing.

A writer of both fiction and non-fiction, his short stories have appeared in such venues as Ducts, Prime Number, Chamber Four, The MacGuffin, Subtle Fiction, and The Carleton Voice. His collection, This Jealous Earth (MG Press 2013) has been broadly acclaimed, called “charmingly nostalgic” byPublisher’s Weekly. His debut novel, Theory of Remainders (Winter Goose Publishing) has been called “a stellar achievement” by Kirkus Reviews (starred review).