French Department News & Events

Upcoming Events

French Department Thesis Showcase

First Annual French Department Thesis Showcase
Thursday, April 26th at 5:00 p.m.
Center for Humanistic Inquiry, Frost Library

The Department of French is pleased to invite you to its first annual Thesis Showcase! Lily Fang, Joshua Harmon, Sunna Juhn and Flavia Martinez will talk about female networks in Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary and the Bechdel test, the unparalleled tradition of the French snare drum and its revolutionary political uses, how fragments of foreign languages can make us feel at home and the tension between mother and other tongues. Please join us and help us celebrate their work. Refreshments will be served following the presentations!

Quartier Latin:

"Crêpes Night"
Friday, April 27th at 8:00 p.m.
French House (King Hall, 1st Floor)

The traditional Crêpe Party will take place this Friday 04/27, 8pm, at the French House (King Hall, 1st Floor). Come enjoy delicious homemade crêpes. French speakers of all levels are warmly welcome! See you soon!

Alumni Winners:

Erin Brousseau ’16 has been offered an ETA in Russia, where she plans to engage with her host community by joining a singing group and athletic teams. An LJST and French major, her long-term goals include studying in joint J.D./Ph.D. programs for political science with a focus on international relations, researching international labor and leisure rights.

Daria Chernysheva ’16 has been offered a grant to study at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom, where she will research translation theory and literary translation practice, and also translate the poetry of Cecile Sauvage, a 20th century French poet. She is now at the University of Burgundy in Dijon, France, as the Amherst French department’s Dijon Teaching Assistant Fellow. An English and French major, she plans to pursue a Ph.D. in comparative literature and continue working as a practicing literary translator upon the completion of her Fulbright year.

Recent Lectures:

Lecture by Susan Kramer
"Confession, Consent and Illicit Love: Theology and the Twelfth-Century Self"
Friday, April 6th at 4:00 p.m.
Fayerweather 113

Please join us for a talk by Susan R. Kramer ‘81, who received her Ph.D. in Medieval History from Columbia University. She is the author of Sin, Interiority and Selfhood in the Twelfth-Century West (Canada : Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, 2015).

Lecture by Pierre Saint-Amand
"Inside the French Boudoir: Architecture and Desire in the Eighteenth-Century"
Thursday, March 29th at 4:00 p.m
Center for Humanistic Inquiry, Frost Library

The inaugural biennial lecture given in a lecture series in honor of Professor Jay Caplan, who taught for 30 years in the French Department at Amherst College. We invited Professor Pierre Saint-Amand, the Benjamin F. Barge Professor of French at Yale University, who gave a lecture on the topic of "Inside the French Boudoir: Architecture and Desire in the Eighteenth Century." The lecture was conducted in English.

Pierre Saint-Amand's research interests are in the literature of the eighteenth-century, the philosophy of the Enlightenment, the French Revolution and literary criticism and theory. Among his celebrated works are a book dedicated to the philosophical and scientific writings of Denis Diderot and a book on the political writings of the philosophers. His latest book is a study dedicated to the Enlightenment's resistance to the ideology of work at the dawn of capitalism.

The lecture and reception were free and open to the public. This event was sponsored by the Amherst College French Department and the Turgeon Fund. The lecture series was made possible by the generous donations of French Department alumni offered in honor of Jay Caplan.

Lecture by Ivan Jablonka
"A History of the Grandparents I Never Had"
Monday, April 24, 2017 at 5:30 p.m.
Center for Humanistic Inquiry, Frost Library

Ivan Jablonka’s grandparents’ lives ended long before his began: although Matès and Idesa Jablonka were his family, they were perfect strangers. Neither of them was the least bit famous, and they left little behind except their two orphaned children, a handful of letters, and a passport. Persecuted as communists in Poland, as refugees in France, and then as Jews under the Vichy regime, Matès and Idesa lived their short lives underground, overcome by the tragedies of the twentieth century: Stalinism, the Second World War, and the destruction of European Jews.

Jablonka’s challenge was, as a historian, to rigorously distance himself and yet, as family, to invest himself completely in their story. Imagined oppositions collapsed—between scholarly research and personal commitment, between established facts and the passion of the one recording them, between history and the art of storytelling.

Ivan Jablonka’s talk was adapted from his book of the same name, A History of the Grandparents I Never Had (Stanford University Press, 2016). Ivan Jablonka is a professor of contemporary history at the Université Paris-XIII-Nord and a novelist.

Lecture by Bruno C. Duarte
"Henri Michaux: Drawing Away from Words"
Monday, March 10, 2017, at 5:00 p.m.
117 Fayerweather Hall

Throughout many decades, Henri Michaux (1899-1984) pursued a parallel interest in the art of writing and the visual arts. Alongside numerous exhibitions of his drawings and paintings at different venues in France and abroad, several of his books represent an attempt to bring together text and image. To which extent is reading contained or reflected in seeing, and, conversely, in what way is the act of looking at a text able to respond to its own iconography? Dr. Bruno Duarte explores the intersection of image and text in Henri Michaux’s oeuvre.

"How Did I Get Here? Humanities in the First Person"
Panel Discussion organized by:
Youna Kwak, University of Redlands and Raphaël Sigal, Amherst College
Friday, March 31st at 5:00 p.m.
Center for Humanistic Inquiry, Frost Library

A diverse panel of students explore the subjectivities, intimacies, autobiographies and secrecies that animate scholarly work, whether openly or unconsciously.

Youna Kwak is a writer and translator, and will be moderating a discussion with Amherst College students Emilie Flamme ’20, Aquiil Gopee ’20, Pauline Herbert-Whiting ’19, Tasheena Narraidoo ’18, Diego Ramos-Meyer ’19, Brett Sokol ’19, Qi Xie ’17, Evan Young ’19 and Victoria Zhang ’18.

Sponsored by the Amherst College French Department, The Lamont Lecture Fund and the Center for Humanistic Inquiry.

Lecture by Colette Fellous in honor of Professor Leah Hewitt
"Fabrication de Pièces détachées"
Thursday, March 30, 2017, at 4:30 p.m.
Center for Humanistic Inquiry, Frost Library

This lecture was the inaugural biennial lecture given in honor of Professor Leah Hewitt, who taught for 30 years in the French Department at Amherst College.  Guest Lecturer Colette Fellous, a prominent French writer, gave a talk on Thursday, March 30th at 4:30 p.m. in the Center for Humanistic Inquiry in Frost Library.

Novelist, editor, radio producer and host, Colette Fellous was born in Tunis, and moved to Paris at age 17 to pursue the study of literature under the direction of Roland Barthes. Her first novel, Roma, was published in 1982, followed by 18 books, among them Le Petit Palais (1995), Le Petit Casino (1999), Avenue de France (2001) and Aujourd’hui (2005) which received the Prix Marguerite Duras. Fellous will spoke about the process of writing her latest novel, Pièces détachées, in which she superimposed past and present, Tunisia and Normandy, faces and music, to explore the life of her father who went into exile in Paris in the wake of the mass exodus of Jews from Tunisia in the 1960s. The lecture was delivered in French.

This event was co-sponsored by the Amherst College French Department, the Lucius Root Eastman 1895 Fund, the Corliss Lamont Lectureship for a Peaceful World, and a fund established through generous donations of French Department alumni.