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The Future of French and Francophone Studies: The Status of Literature

General Programming

dateSeptember 12, 2014 timeFriday, 9:45am–5:30pm EDT location Buell Hall, East Gallery (Maison Française), Columbia University
  • Maison Française
  • French and Francophone Studies
  • Image Credit/Caption: Copyright Metropolitan Museum of Art: "The Garden Façade of Bagatelle" by Jean Démosthène Dugo

The “future of the study of French” has a long past. Since the creation of language departments in American Universities at the end of the nineteenth century, the importance of the field has had to be reaffirmed at crucial junctures. The recent phasing out of the French department in a major state university (alongside Italian, Russian, classics and theater) and the threat faced by other French departments have been the occasion of many reflections on the importance of learning French and other foreign languages. These discussions have been framed by the more general debate on the “crisis of the humanities” (itself a recurring topic since the nineteenth century), the diverse efforts of American universities to build a “global campus,” and major innovations in the ways humanities scholars conduct their work, including the “digital humanities”.

While our reflection is undoubtedly connected to these issues, this workshop, and another at a later date, will not pose the question of “why study French?” but rather “how to do so in the twenty-first century?” What directions do we want the field of French and Francophone studies to take in the next ten years and how should the training of undergraduate and graduate students change to reflect these ambitions?

The workshop is by invitation only. Inquiries and RSVP: Lindsey Long at [email protected].

  • Antoine Compagnon Blanche W. Knopf Professor of French and Comparative Literature Columbia University
  • Tom Conley Abbott Lawrence Lowell Professor of Visual and Environmental Studies and of Romance Languages and Literatures Harvard University
  • Laurent Dubois Marcello Lotti Professor of Romance Studies and History Duke University
  • Dan Edelstein Professor of French and History Stanford University
  • Stéphane Gerson Professor of French New York University
  • Suzanne Guerlac Professor of French University of California at Berkeley
  • Maurice Samuels Betty Jane Anlyan Professor of French Yale University
  • Eliza Zingesser Assistant Professor Columbia University
  • Elisabeth Ladenson Professor of French and Comparative Literature Columbia University
  • Emmanuelle Saada Associate Professor of French and Romance Philology; Director of the Center for French and Francophone Studies Columbia University
  • Derek Schilling Professor of French Johns Hopkins University
  • Andrew Sobanet Associate Professor of French Georgetown University