Thursday, April 14
Neill Hall 401
Gender, Sexualities, Earthquake, and History: Writing in Haïti
Kettly Mars will talk about her life as a writer and about the connections between her writing and important issues she represents in her fiction. She will read some of her texts as well, and will answer questions.
Kettly Mars writes and lives in Haïti. A prolific author, she is also one of the most daring and original Haitian writers. Mars first published poetry (Feu de miel, 1997). After receiving the Jacques-Stephen Alexis prize for the short story “Soleils contraires” in 1997, Mars published her first collection, Un Parfum d’encens (1999) that also contains her famous story “Lobo”. Since then, Mars has published three more collections of short stories (Mirage Hôtel, 2002; Et tant pis pour la mort, 2014; Laquelle de nous était Eurydice? 2014). She is also the author of seven novels. As in Kasalé, first published in 2003, strong women abound in Mars’s novels, whether they are the victims of systemic and state violence (Fado, 2005, Saisons sauvages, 2011) or whether they break taboos, racial and sexual, as in Je suis vivant (2015) and Le Prince noir de Lillian Russell (with Leslie Péan, 2011). Mars does not hesitate to explore the taboos of Haitian society, whether they are about faith or sexuality as in L’heure hybride (2005). Her scathing portrayal of the humanitarian community mirrors that of the shantytown of Canaan that sprung from the ruins of the 2010 earthquake in Aux frontières de la soif (2013). With narratives both riveting and full of unpredictable twists, Mars also uses humor as in her popular two volumes, Kool-Klub (2007 and 2008), where she sketches a smart representation of contemporary society in Haiti, especially of its youth. Mars has received many prestigious literary and creative awards, including the Prix Senghor de la Création littéraire, the 2011 Prince Claus Prize and the 2015 Prix Ivoire.
Thursday, April 7
Olin Rice 250
From the Bushes of Afkadou to Colorado: An Extraordinary Itinerary
Mr. Hamou Amirouche is the author of two books, a best-selling autobiographical memoir about the Algerian war of independence (1954-1962) and its English adaptation and translation. After studying Government at Wesleyan University, and Political Science at the University of Colorado, he occupied high positions at the Ministry of Industry and Energy, and as CEO of an Algerian-British joint venture, among other prestigious positions. Since moving to the United States to be with his family he has lectured at many universities and colleges, and taught several courses at Mesa College and Caliornia State University-San Marcos, from American Government to North African Politics and Islam and the Politics of the Middle East. Hamou Amirouche is the author of numerous academic articles both in French and English on Islam and Islamism; democratic rules and principles; prerequisites for democracy to develop roots; political violence and asymetric warfare.
His lecture will retrace his itinerary as a young man joining a nationalist hero during the war and will discuss his assessment of the post-war period, especially in the wake of the “Arab Springs.”
Wednesday, March 23
Neill Hall 401
Poet, Novelist, Scholar, Woman: A Lebanese Writer Committed to Women in a War-Torn Region
Evelyne Accad is a Lebanese poet, writer, composer and singer. Emerita Professor of Comparative Literature, African Studies, and Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign and at the Lebanese-American University of Beyrouth. She has authored many works, scholarly studies and creative works in English and French. Her work examines the role of women in war as well as feminist perspectives on the body, from genital mutilation to breast cancer. Her books include Veil of Shame: The Role of Women in the Contemporary Fiction of North Africa and the Arab World (1979),The Excised (1982, trans. 1989), Sexuality and War: Literary Masks of the Middle East (1990), Wounding Words: A Woman’s Journal in Tunisia (1993, trans. 1996), The Wounded Breast (2001). She is also an accomplished singer and composer and performs regularly in the U.S., France. Lebanon, and several countries on the African continent. Accad’s novel on war-torn Lebanon, Coquelicot du massacre (1982) is accompanied by songs composed and sung by the author. She is currently working with her sister on a women’s shelter in Lebanon.
In her talk, Evelyne Accad will speak about her professional and feminist trajectory, her creative and scholarly work as well as her commitment to working with women in Lebanon and the region.
Monday, February 22
Neill Hall 401
Nudity and Cannibalism in the New World: Jean de Léry’s Histoire d’un voyage
In recounting his travels to Brazil in 1557-58, Jean de Léry employs bodily images, notably those of nudity and cannibalism, to advance a particular vision of the Tupinambá tribe in the minds of his readers, and to shed light on his own French culture by direct and implied analogies. Through the use of particular cognitive strategies, Léry seeks to advance his own moral position, which is all the more compelling given the backdrop of the Wars of Religion in France. In the Protestant Léry’s description, native anthropophagy proves to be more easily explicable than is Catholic cannibalism (communion). Did Léry’s largely sympathetic depiction of Tupinambán bodies and practices in these early days of exploration contribute to certain ways of thinking about otherness that eventually characterized the French colonial enterprise?
Cathy Yandell is the author of Carpe Corpus: Time and Gender in Early Modern France (2000) and co-editor of Vieillir à la Renaissance (with Colette Winn, 2009) and Memory and Community in Sixteenth-Century France (with David LaGuardia, 2015), she has published articles on dialogue, gender, the body, sexuality, and visual culture in such authors as Ronsard, Catherine des Roches, and Montaigne. Her current project examines ways of knowing and learning through the body from Rabelais to Descartes.
Wednesday, November 11
Immigration issues in France and in the European Union
In France, there is the issue of whether or not to expel illegal immigrants, and of second-generation immigrants, a wrong and misleading expression because many of them are French nationals but are isolated, under educated and discriminated against. There is the role of poverty, discrimination and alienation of young people in what the French call the suburbs, which corresponds to inner cities in the United States. Once again they were brought into the limelight because of the attacks at Charlie Hebdo. The rate of unemployment for this group is much higher than the average and they tend to become radicalized. What can be done to better integrate this young population and prevent them from becoming radicalized and fleeing to Syria and/or preparing attacks on French territory?
Because of the geopolitical situation and the multiple wars and conflicts in northern Africa and the Middle East, a large number of refugees flee Syria, Libya and Africa arriving on European shores, mostly in Italy in Lampeduza. Some manage to reach France and wait in Calais trying to find a way to reach Great Britain. Many die in the process.
These are human tragedies as well as political, financial and legal problems, both domestic and at the EU level. Who should be responsible and pay? Should there be some kind of solidarity between the member states? Many plans have been proposed but not much progress has been achieved. We’ll look at some of the proposals and at the obstacles.
Deysine received her Juris Doctor from the Paris II Law School and her Ph.D from the University of Paris. She has a Masters’ of American Studies and is a graduate of Paris Institut d’Etudes Politiques.
She is a Professor at Paris Ouest Nanterre University, where she directs a Master’ s Program of International Business and Cross Cultural Negotiation and a summer program on Comparative Law that was ABA accredited. She was Vice President for International Relations at Paris Ouest Nanterre from 1998 to 2003 and President of the US/French Consortium of Academic Cooperation, Micefa from 2002 to 2014. She’s taught European law, comparative justice systems and international contracts in various European and US institutions. She also works with a number of NGOs, primarily NDI (in Washington DC) on a regular basis (Nigeria & Sierra Leone recently, Ivory Coast in December 2013) and IBAHRI (International Bar association Human Rights Institute). Her latest book about the Supreme Court of the United States was published in March 2015. She is currently working on ADR and the arbitration clause in the future TTIP.
Tuesday, October 27
Gay-Friendliness in the United States and France: A Comparative Study of Neighborhoods in New York and Paris
The national legislature in France and the Supreme Court in the US have now both made same-sex marriage legal, and opinion polls reveal a growing acceptance of homosexuality in both countries. Yet, not all gay people enjoy equal access to this acceptance. What are the significant variables in acceptance: class, age, sex, space? And on what presuppositions about gay people does acceptance rely? What conditions are placed on the visibility and lifestyle of gay people? Sylvie Tissot uses the urban ethnography of two neighborhoods – Le Marais in Paris and Park Slope in Brooklyn, New York – to examine and compare “gay-friendliness.”
Thursday, October 15
Neill Hall 226
From Stairs to Solidarity: Thirty Years of Flânerie on Crutches
This mix of anecdote, reflection and dialogue about the benefits of travel and study abroad is open to all who wish to consider transformation towards greater accessibility, inclusion, and acceptance for people with disabilities. The passage of the 2005 “Loi du handicap” in France brought impressive changes to public spaces in France’s and Europe’s larger cities. While these spaces remain imperfect (seeming perpetually in transition), France’s republicanist ideals and collectivist tactics have paved the way for an inclusivity that, in my view as a frequent traveler, remains unknown in most of the U.S. These have shaped my politics, self-concept, and deep love for France. Bring your own stories of travel and transformation to share!
Berberi is the co-editor of the Worlds Apart? Disability and Foreign Language Learning.