French and Italian Graduate Students Win External Awards

Pictured (L-R) are Amanda Vredenburgh, Laura Demsey, and Carlotta Vacchelli

We are pleased to congratulate the talented graduate students in the Department who won awards for excellence in conference presentations and theses this past summer. Among them, French/Francophone Studies PhD candidate Amanda Vredenburgh won the Maria A. Salgado Graduate Student Award for her paper entitled “The Fantastic Beastialization of the Biopolitical Subject in Marie Darrieussecq’s Truismes”. Vredenburgh presented her paper at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s Conference for Romance Studies, the theme of which was Utopia and Dystopia. As part of the award, Vredenburgh will receive a $100 prize and her paper will be published in the UNC-Department of Romance Studies’ magazine, Romance Notes.

Italian Studies PhD student Carlotta Vacchelli won the Young Graduates Prize from the International Association of Dino Buzzati for her Master’s thesis entitled “‘The Towered Clouds of Eternity’. Myths and Obsessions in Buzzati's imagery,” which she completed at the University of Pavia in 2015. Vacchelli received a $500 prize, and was hosted at the Buzzati Archive in Feltre, Italy for four days. During her stay at the archive, Vacchelli examined a selection of Buzzati’s personal writings and will prepare a study on Buzzati’s works to present to the Association.

At Les français d’ici conference at Concordia University this summer, French Linguistics PhD candidate Laura Demsey won Le Prix France-Martineau for best student presentation. The award, which is named after Professor France Martineau at the University of Ottawa, includes a prize of $500 (Canadian). Demsey’s paper, entitled “Qui perd sa langue perd sa foi: Contact-Induced Change in the Functional Categories of New England French,” presented the research from her pilot study for her dissertation, which examines potential English influences in New England French.

FRIT welcomes Akash Kumar as Visiting Professor of Italian

We are pleased to welcome Akash Kumar to the Italian faculty as Visiting Assistant Professor starting in August 2018. Kumar comes to IU after teaching for two years at the University of California at Santa Cruz and for three years at Columbia University. He received his PhD from Columbia in 2013 through successful completion of a dissertation entitled Sì come dice lo Filosofo: Translating Philosophy in the Early Italian Lyric. With a specialization in medieval Italian literature, particularly lyric poetry and Dante’s Divine Comedy, Kumar launched right into teaching the popular course on the Divine Comedy (M236) this fall. In the spring he will offer a graduate seminar on Boccaccio which will be joint-listed with the Medieval Studies Institute.

Kumar’s research focuses on the intersections of poetry, philosophy, and science in early Italian poetry, including Dante, and on how Western and non-Western cultures interact through activities engaged in by the masses, such as game-playing and storytelling. Like Professor Emeritus H. Wayne Storey before him, Kumar is also engaged in digital humanities projects, such as the website Digital Dante and a new project on teaching and researching the Global Middle Ages, The Medieval Table. “I’m thrilled to be at such a storied program of Italian Studies,” says Kumar of his arrival at IU, “and have appreciated the warm welcome from colleagues and students alike.” We wish him a successful year!

Recent Publications Show Breadth of Faculty Expertise

We are pleased to report on recent book publications by our faculty, which, as always, cover an ecletic and exciting array of topics. Upcoming from McFarland press is Professor Marco Arnaudo’s Storytelling in the Modern Board Game: Narrative Trends from the Late 1960s to Today. The work explores how board games evolved into vehicles for intricate storytelling where the players become co-authors and help determine their own narrative fate.

Associate Professor Hall Bjørnstad’s co-edited book Universal History and the Making of the Global (H. Bjørnstad, H. Jordheim, A. Régent-Susini, editors; Routledge: 2018) also comes out later this summer. This volume includes essays by Bjørnstad, Professor Guillaume Ansart, and other scholars that focus on various aspects of universal history, the effort from the late Middle Ages until the early 19th century to integrate time and space, “assemble the world and keep it together” (cover description). The publication is a culmination of research collaborations begun in 2013 with a workshop at IUB entitled “Assembling the Global” and continued with another symposium in Oslo (Norway) in June 2014. PhD student Amanda Vredenburgh ably assisted with translation and proofreading.

Another book that started with research collaborations at IUB is Enlightenment Liberties / Libertés des Lumières published in April and co-edited by Professor Ansart (G. Ansart, R. Ehrsam, C. Seth, and Y. Solomonescu, editors; Honoré Champion, 2018). The essays therein were developed during the International Society for 18th-Century Studies seminar for young scholars held at IUB in July 2012. The articles reflect on conceptions of liberty in the 18th century from the perspectives of history, literature, political science, philosophy, religious studies, and the history of art and theater.

In the second half of 2017, Professor Oana Panaïté had two very different works published. The first, The Colonial Fortune in Contemporary Fiction in French (Liverpool University Press) examines the lasting impact of colonialism on French-language literature both inside and outside of France. The second, Entre-Textes: Dialogues littéraires et culturels (O. Panaïté and V. Klekovkina, editors; Routledge) is an anthology of francophone literature for advanced students of French which pairs classical texts with more modern or contemporary texts to reveal how the approach to certain themes or issues, as well as literary styles, have changed or remained the same. Several FRIT alumni and faculty members contributed to the textbook, including Florin Beschea (PhD ’13), Olga Amarie (PhD ’11), Eric MacPhail, Eileen Julien, Hall Bjørnstad, Flavien Falantin (PhD’17), Audrey Dobrenn (PhD ’13), and Margaret Gray.

Professor Antonio Vitti also had a busy 2017 with several book publications. His monograph Avventuroso cammino nel cinema italiano (Metauro Editore) takes readers on a journey through 20th-century Italian cinema making connections between films, themes, directors, specific cinematographic sequences, and shooting techniques while extoling and exploring the impact of neorealism. In May 2017, Bordighera Press published a volume co-edited by Vitti and Anthony Tamburri entitled The Mediterranean Dreamed and Lived by Insiders and Outsiders, part of a series by the Mediterranean Centre for Intercultural Studies / Centro Studi Mediterranei. Vitti is organizing their annual conference in Erice (Italy) in May 2018. Earlier this year, Due esiliati: Giuseppe De Santis e Giose Rimanelli, another volume of essays edited by Vitti, was published by Metauro Editore. The essays in the tome discuss these two authors, one who worked in film (De Santis) and the other in literature (Rimanelli), with very different political perspectives but with the commonality that both chose to work abroad after their seminal works were released in Italy.

Students Celebrate Commencement and New Beginnings

MA graduates in French/Francophone Studies (left to right) Alana Duncan, Yuanshuai Cui, Evie Munier, and Leila El-Murr look relieved to be done with their exams and papers as they celebrate May 4.

From musical pursuits to business training at GE, our 2018 graduates have a wide variety of exciting plans as they leave IU to go out and conquer the world. This year’s departmental reception for graduating students once again took place in the University Club on Friday, May 4, with families, friends, faculty, and staff celebrating student achievements over coffee, biscotti, and croissants. Twenty-five students will earn a BA degree in French in May and August, and three students will earn a BA degree in Italian. In addition, between December 2017 and August 2018, seven students will receive their MAs and 7 students will attain the highest degree the Department offers, the PhD.

As usual, our BA graduates had a range of second majors, some of which influenced their paths forward after commencement. Shannon McPike majored in economics in addition to French, and she was also part of the Liberal Arts and Management Program (LAMP). She has a job lined up with GE Aviation in Cincinnati through a financial management training program. Halley Rose Meslin, who combined her studies in French with a dual degree in environmental sustainability, will be working at SHED in Healdsburg, California, focusing on the farm-to-table organization’s sustainability projects. Jessica True graduates with a BA in Italian and a BM in Voice, and she is moving west to the University of Kansas this fall to pursue a Masters in opera performance. Another French major, Jordan Lenchitz, is also a dual degree student with the School of Music. He will start a PhD program in music theory at Florida State University in August.

This year, as in the past, several French majors have secured teaching assistant jobs through the French government’s TAPIF program. Shane O’Bannon, Kamal Maharjan, Grace Jewell, and Sarah Panfil will all be teaching English in France through this program.

We are particularly thrilled to report on the work of our BA students who are graduating with departmental honors: Cari Rice (Italian), Adam Smith (French), and Jonathan Van Hecke (French). Cari has experience working with refugees arriving from Africa and the Middle East into Italy, and she explored this topic in her honors thesis. She is heading to New York University in the Fall to pursue an MA in Italian and plans later to attend medical school (her second major was biochemistry). Adam wrote his thesis on the decadent novel La Jongleuse by Rachilde and its depictions and uses of violence. He has received a prestigious Fulbright grant to teach English in France next year, and has also earned a spot in the PhD program in French literature at the University of Michigan starting in 2019. Jonathan came to French late in his IU career, after pursuing a degree in finance at the Kelley School of Business (which he also finished this May). He successfully completed no fewer than five French courses in Spring 2018, including the honors thesis course F499, for which he wrote a comparative study of four works about Joan of Arc. He plans to take a year off before graduate school during which he will finally travel to France.

Most of our graduates with graduate degrees also have travel and teaching in their futures. While several of those who earned MAs will continue into their respective PhD programs in FRIT and continue to teach as Associate Instructors, Alana Duncan and Leila El-Murr (both in French/Francophone Studies) plan to move on in pursuit of careers in teaching at the secondary level. A number of our PhD graduates have already secured academic positions at other universities: Lisa Dolasinski (Italian) will be at Dickinson College, Lucia Gemmani (Italian) at the University of Iowa, and Sarah-Kay Hurst (French Linguistics) at George Washington University. Carlotta Paltrinieri (Italian) has a post-doctoral research position at the Medici Archive Project in Florence, Italy, an American research institute focusing on digital humanities projects. We wish her, and all our talented graduates, good luck!

Photo Album

Doctoral Student Receives Dissertation Fellowship for Study of Early Cookbooks

Opera Noua Chiamata Epulario by Giovanne de Rosselli (1517), one of the many 16th-century cookbooks that used the recipes of Maestro Martino. Courtesy of the IU Lilly Library.

Italy is known worldwide for its cuisine, but when were the recipes for sauces, breads, and risottos first written and attributed to an author? This is the topic doctoral student Lino Mioni explores in his research, recently presented at the Renaissance Society of America conference on March 23 and upcoming as part of an Early Modern Food History Workshop at the Newberry Library in Chicago on April 6. In the 1460s, Maestro Martino wrote the first cookbook in the Italian vernacular attributable to an author. Maestro Martino’s Libro de Arte Coquinaria was produced in manuscript form but was soon incorporated into a treatise on health and wellness written in Latin by Bartolomeo Scappi, known as Platina, De Honesta Voluptade et Valetudine (1474), the first printed book on cooking. The content of Maestro Martino’s Libro de Arte Coquinaria was published 30 times in different printed editions in the 16th century in vernacular Italian, as gastronomy was increasingly seen as distinct from medicinal and religious concerns.

In order to analyze this important work in the context of cultural developments of the early Renaissance, Mioni proposes a digital edition of Martino’s book. There are three manuscripts of the original available for research purposes (and a fourth in a private collection). Mioni’s plan includes cross-referencing all three in the digital edition as well as providing a mark-up of lexical elements specific to cookbooks, in the categories of measurements, tools, modes of preparation, and ingredients.

Mioni was recently awarded a 2018-19 College of Arts and Sciences Dissertation Year Fellowship to complete his dissertation on Martino’s work and its significance. Discussing two 16th-century printed editions that use Maestro Martino’s text, Mioni says “What is remarkable…is that both books legitimize themselves and are directed to a new audience: cookbooks have ceased to be personal notes and they transitioned into a new public domain. Between the anonymous collections of the 14th century and the monumental culinary treatises of the second half of the 16th century, Maestro Martino’s Libro de Arte Coquinaria represents the key transition between those culinary texts whose main goal is to serve a restricted community and later culinary works with a broader audience and circulation.”

Thankfully for the rest of the world, Italian cookbooks, largely regional in character, were broadly disseminated starting in the 18th century. Buon appetito!

Hebbard Joins Faculty as Visiting Assistant Professor

French medievalist Elizabeth Hebbard joins our faculty as Visiting Assistant Professor for 2017-18. Hebbard received her PhD in French from Yale University this year, after successfully defending her dissertation entitled “Manuscripts and the Making of the Troubadour Lyric Tradition,” which also won Yale’s Marguerite Peyre Dissertation Prize. Coming to IU after two years as Lecturer in French at the University of New Hampshire, Hebbard has experience teaching the French language as well as upper-level courses such as Décadence et la femme and Cour et conflit dans le roman français médiéval. At IUB this Fall, she is teaching an F300 class on the theme La littérature française à l’opera and the civilization course F361 La France médiévale. She will be making good use of IU’s cultural resources in her teaching: taking students to see a live performance at the IU Opera and to look at medieval manuscripts at the Lilly Library. “Everyone at IU has been so welcoming,” says Hebbard, “and I am really enjoying my time here, discovering all that Bloomington and IU have to offer.” FRIT is lucky to welcome this ambitious young scholar to our faculty!

IU Lilly Library to house De Santis archives

Through the work of Professor Antonio Vitti, a significant archive of screenplays, manuscripts, research notes, and photographs from the Italian filmmaker Giuseppe De Santis (1917-1997) is coming to the IU Lilly Library. De Santis is perhaps best known for his film Riso amaro (Bitter Rice, 1949), a classic of neorealism which was nominated for an Academy Award and for the Grand Prize at Cannes. The hard living conditions and class system of post-war Italy were the theme of many of De Santis’ films. Overall, he directed 11 feature films from 1947 to 1972, and wrote 21 screenplays.

The Lilly Library already obtained the written archives of one of De Santis’ collaborators, the director and screenwriter Carlo Lizzani, in 2011. Antonio Vitti was instrumental in both acquisitions, having personal and professional relationships with both of these major figures in Italian neorealist cinema. Vitti is the author of many publications on Italian cinema, including Giuseppe De Santis e il Cinema Italiano del Dopoguerra (Pesaro: Matauro, 2011) and several articles on Lizzani. Carlo Lizzani was also the featured speaker at one of Vitti’s early Italian film symposia, in Venice, 2003.

Passing of Professor Emeritus William Trapnell

William H. Trapnell, Professor Emeritus of French Literature, passed away on January 10, 2017, at the age of 85. He earned a BS from Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia in 1954, an MA in French from Middlebury College in 1962, and a PhD in French from the University of Pittsburgh in 1967. After teaching for two years at Brown University, he joined the faculty of the Department of French & Italian at Indiana University in 1969 and taught at IUB until his retirement in 1997. He was the recipient of several prestigious research fellowships including from the Mellon (1963-65), Fulbright (1965-66) and Lilly (1986-87) foundations.

Trapnell was a distinguished scholar of the French and British Enlightenments. One of his main research interests was the great 18th-century playwright and novelist, Marivaux. His pioneering dissertation explored the relations between Marivaux’s journalistic works, novels and theater. Later in his career, he authored another major study on the canonical playwright, Eavesdropping in Marivaux (1987). Professor Trapnell also made key contributions to Voltaire studies: Voltaire and his Portable Dictionary (1972), Voltaire and the Eucharist (1981), Christ and his “Associates” in Voltairian Polemic: An Assault on the Trinity and the two Natures (1982). And he published two important books illustrating his interest in Enlightenment philosophy on both sides of the Channel, The Treatment of Christian Doctrine by Philosophers of the Natural Light from Descartes to Berkeley (1988), and a study on a little-known English theologian, Thomas Woolston, Madman and Deist? (1994). A rich and fruitful career indeed.

-- Guillaume Ansart

Italian Film Scholar Peter Bondanella Passes Away at Age 73

Peter Bondanella, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Italian Studies, Comparative Literature, and Film Studies at Indiana University, passed away near his home in Utah on May 28, after a tough struggle with pancreatic cancer. Everyone who ever met Peter can only imagine the strength and intensity with which he fought the disease, physically and intellectually, while still working on his scholarship, traveling to conferences throughout the US and Italy, visiting with Italian directors in his beloved Rome, mentoring his students, and collaborating with colleagues until the very end.

Peter Bondanella earned a BA in French and Political Science at Davidson College (1966), a Masters in Political Science at Stanford University (1967), and a PhD in Comparative Literature at the University of Oregon (1970). After teaching for a few years at Wayne State University, he joined the faculty of Indiana University in 1972, where he had a remarkable career as a scholar and teacher of Renaissance studies, Italian cinema and culture, and literary theory, until he retired in 2007. Although he published widely on Italian and European literature, he is best known internationally as a scholarly pioneer in Italian cinema. He began teaching regular courses on Italian cinema in English in the 1970’s, when the discipline was not taught in foreign language and culture departments, and was, only partially and sporadically, taught in Film Studies programs and units, but not as a specific academic discipline. Before the publication of Bondanella’s 1983 widely acclaimed history of Italian Cinema (Italian Cinema: From Neorealism to the Present. New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., 1983, which was awarded the 1984 President's Prize from the American Association for Italian Studies) the English speaking academic world generally knew only a few major Italian filmmakers.

Among his many other publications on cinema, we must mention his books on Fellini (The Cinema of Federico Fellini, Princeton UP: 1992; The Films of Federico Fellini, Cambridge UP: 2002) and Rossellini (The Films of Roberto Rossellini, Cambridge UP: 2003), as well as the revised and updated edition of his history of the Italian Cinema (latest edition, New York: Continuum: 2009). Ever since his years in graduate school, he showed a remarkable intellectual curiosity about literary theory and culture and, in addition numerous journal articles (on Rousseau, Proust, Svevo, Kafka), Peter authored books such as The Eternal City: Roman Images in the Modern World (U of North Carolina Press: 1987, which was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction), and Umberto Eco and the Open Text: Semiotics, Fiction, Popular Culture (Cambridge UP: 1997). While the first book was an early model of cultural studies for Italian culture, the latter was one of the first books to revisit Eco’s entire production to date, without focusing solely on one of the many activities of the late Italian thinker.

Before these accomplishments in Italian film and contemporary literature, Bondanella began his career as a refined scholar and translator of Renaissance authors. After publishing monographs on Machiavelli (Machiavelli and the Art of Renaissance History, Wayne State University Press: 1974) and Guicciardini (Boston: Twayne, 1976), he co-translated Boccaccio’s Decameron (New York: Norton, 1977) and Machiavelli’s The Prince (Oxford UP: 1984) together with his colleague and noted translator Mark Musa. He has also co-translated many authors with his spouse, Julia Conaway Bondanella. Among these translation and editions, we might mention Giorgio Vasari’s The Life of the Artists (Oxford UP, 1991), Machiavelli’s Discourses on Livy (Oxford UP, 1997), and Benvenuto Cellini’s My Life (Oxford UP, 2002).

Peter Bondanella was a lifetime member of the American Association of Teachers of Italian and the American Association for Italian Studies, and served in leadership roles in a variety of academic organizations during his illustrious career. Additionally, he received numerous awards including the National Endowment for the Humanities Younger Humanist Fellowship (1972-73), Senior Fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies (1988), Mellon Visiting Professor and Mellon Lecturer at Tulane University (Spring 2001), Fellow at the National Humanities Research Centre at the Australian National University, Canberra (September 2001), Mellon Foundation Emeritus Fellowship, and most importantly selection to the European Academy of Sciences and Arts (2009). Moreover, he educated and mentored three generations of scholars in Italian, Comparative Literature, and Film Studies. Many of his former students are well-known professors at major academic institutions in North America and Europe, and through their publications and teaching, they keep his scholarly and pedagogical inheritance alive.

Peter leaves behind his spouse, Julia Conaway Bondanella, a scholar of Italian Renaissance literature, and Professor Emerita of Italian Studies at Indiana University.

-- Colleen Ryan & Andrea Ciccarelli

FRIT Celebrates as Graduates Look to the Future

Graduate Grace Shymanski with Prof. Bjørnstad (left) and her honors advisor in History, Brett Bowles (Professor of French and Adjunct Professor of History)

The excitement was palpable in the University Club of the Indiana Memorial Union the morning of May 5 as BA, MA, and PhD graduates in French and Italian gathered with friends, family, and faculty to celebrate the successful conclusion of their studies and commencement of a new chapter of their lives. Undergraduates reminisced about study abroad and posed for photos with friends, while doctoral graduates introduced their professors to family from Europe, flush with the success of defended (or almost defended) dissertations.

The BA graduates this year are a varied group, with career plans ranging from interior design to international development. Courtney Relyea-Spivack (Majors: French and Theatre) intends to pursue a career as an actress, and this summer she will be appearing in two IU Summer Theatre productions: Loves Labors Lost and Persuasion. Kelsi Genday (Majors: French and Communication & Culture) has applied to work with the Peace Corps in West Africa. She hopes to return to Senegal, where she had a summer internship while an IU student, working at a feminist radio station in Dakar. Charlotte Jolly (Majors: French and Interior Design) has a job lined up working for an interior design firm in Indianapolis. She is particularly interested in sustainable and “green” design concepts. Gabriella DiPalma (Majors: Italian and Art History) will continue her studies in Italian through graduate work at Notre Dame starting this fall. She was one of our five departmental honors students, writing a thesis on the representations of Italian American men in cinema and on stage, under the supervision of Prof. Colleen Ryan.

Other graduates will be returning to Europe to teach English next year. Mitchell Sigmund (Majors: Italian and English) received a Carol Brush Hofstadter Scholarship to study in Bologna, Italy in 2015-16 and will be going back to teach in Lombardy on the SITE program. He completed an honors thesis under the direction of Prof. Marco Arnaudo entitled “Metropolis in Giallo: Classic and Contemporary Crime Fiction from Northern Italy.” Grace Shymanski (Majors: French and History) will be teaching English in France next year as part of the TAPIF program. She completed the difficult and unusual task of writing two honors theses, in History and in French. Her French thesis, entitled “A New Meursault: A Comparative Reading of L’Étranger and Meursault, contre-enquête,” explored the perceptions of Arabs in Algeria pre- and post-colonialism and was supervised by Prof. Hall Bjørnstad.

Eight students completed their MA degrees in our department this spring, and we also celebrated our four PhD graduates: Flavien Falantin (French/Francophone Studies), Rodica Frimu (French Linguistics), Isabella Magni (Italian), and Jamie Root (French Linguistics). Family members came from France, Italy, and Moldova to celebrate their achievements. These young scholars have already shown their skills in research and teaching while here at IU, and we know they will make important contributions to their fields of study!

Photo Album

Professors Recognized for Innovative Research

We are pleased to report on several research awards given to French and Italian faculty members in recent months. Vincent Bouchard received a New Frontiers in the Arts & Humanities-New Currents award for the workshop “Media and Tertiary Memory,” to take place Oct. 6-7, 2017. The workshop will bring together scholars working across the Humanities to reflect upon the relationship between technologies and individual and cultural retention. Marco Arnaudo received a New Frontiers of Creativity and Scholarship award for his project on “Narrative Trends in Analog Game Design.” According to his project description, Arnaudo’s study will examine the emergence of a trend of “story-rich, highly thematic games…that use rules and components to tell their stories,” an area which has not been previously systematically explored in academic research.

We are also pleased to report two fellowship awards from the College Arts & Humanities Institute. Hall Bjørnstad received a fellowship in Spring 2017 for his project “The Crowning Example: Louis XIV and the Crisis of Royal Exemplarity,” which studies the dialectic of human creatureliness vs. royal glory in the age of the Sun King. Nicolas Valazza received a CAHI/Kinsey Institute Fellowship for 2017-18 for his project, “La Poésie délivrée: Le livre en question du Parnasse au Symbolisme,” about clandestine modernist poetry characterized by transgressive love, pornography, and political dissidence. Congratulations, all!

Petrarchive Project Receives Collaborative Research Award

Professor H. Wayne Storey (Italian) and Associate Professor John Walsh (Informatics) have been selected to receive the 2016 Outstanding Faculty Collaborative Research Award. This award, jointly supported by the Office of the Provost & Executive Vice President and the Office of the Vice Provost for Research, was established to recognize and honor the achievements of a collaborative team of IU Bloomington faculty whose research, scholarship, or creative activity is making important scholarly contributions. In addition to research funding, the award entails a presentation to the IU scholarly community of the team’s Petrarchive projectand collaborative process during the Fall 2016 semester. The Petrarchive project, to digitalize Petrarch’s poetic masterpiece Rerum vulgarium fragmenta, was started in 2013 with an IU New Frontiers Start-Up Grant, and was awarded a 3-year NEH grant in 2014. PhD candidate Isabella Magni has also been instrumental in helping with this cutting-edge textual coding project involving one of the most important works in western literature. The research team is applying 21st-century analytical methods to a classic text written over a 40-year period in the 14th century.

See story on IU Bloomington Newsroom

Bologna Consortial Studies Program Celebrates 50 Years

IU President Michael McRobbie will join dignitaries from the University of Bologna and IU faculty, staff, and alumni to celebrate the 50th anniversary of IU’s study abroad program in Bologna May 26-28, 2016. Founded by the late Professor Mark Musa, the bilateral exchange between the two universities evolved into the Bologna Consortial Studies Program which now includes 15 US colleges and universities. More than 1,600 IU alumni having participated, and over 300 University of Bologna students have come to IU through individual scholar exchanges. McRobbie will present the University of Bologna Rector Francesco Ubertini with the Thomas Hart Benton Medallion during the ceremonies, in recognition of his public service. The BCSP resident director since 2003 is Dr. Andrea Ricci (PhD IU ’02).
(Bologna photo credit: Wikimedia)

NEH Grant Awarded for Louisiana French Dictionary Project

We are pleased to announce that four French linguistics scholars with ties to IU have received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for the development of a specialized dictionary of Louisiana French. Rudy Professor Emeritus Albert Valdman, Associate Professor Kevin Rottet (PhD IU, 1995), Research Associate Marvin Moody (PhD IU, 1972), and Professor Thomas Klingler (PhD IU, 1992) from Tulane University will work together on the Differential, Historical, and Etymological Dictionary of Louisiana French. The work will provide rich, in-depth information on the lexicon of Louisiana French and will reveal to users what elements are shared with other French-speaking regions of the world and what elements are unique to Louisiana French. It will thus contribute to our understanding of the place of this language variety within the broader francophone world. This project, funded by a $240,000 grant from the Preservation and Access Division of the NEH, will constitute the culmination of the lexicological and lexicographic research on Louisiana Creole and Louisiana (Cajun) French undertaken under three previous NEH grants that led to the dissemination of three fundamental resources for French-related varieties in Louisiana: the Dictionary of Louisiana Creole (1998), the CD-ROM, Discovering French Through the Spoken Word (2003), and the Dictionary of Louisiana French: As Spoken by Cajun, Creole, and American Indian Communities (2010), as well as the Louisiana component of the panfrancophone lexicographic database (Base de données lexicographique panfrancophone) available online.

Faculty Research Grants Show Breadth of Francophone Interests

We are proud to announce several grants obtained by IU faculty during 2015-16. In the fall, Assistant Professor Vincent Bouchard received a Mellon Short-Term Faculty Fellowship to pursue his project “The Film Commentator in West Africa: From Colonial Screenings to Video Animation.” He will use the funds for a 10-week research stay in France and Belgium to access the various archives of educational films in French made in former French colonies soon after independence, as well as reports of film screenings and how the films were received. Bouchard’s book project aims to show how certain film reception practices, particularly during “educational” screenings, were established through the intersection of vernacular cultures and colonial practices in Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso and other West African countries, as well as the former Belgian Congo.

We are also pleased to announce that two faculty members have received research grants from the IU Institute for Advanced Study (IAS): Julie Auger and Brett Bowles. While on sabbatical in 2015-16, Associate Professor Julie Auger conducted fieldwork in Picardie, France, on two occasions. The IAS award she received will allow her to hire three graduate students who will help her with the transcription of the interviews and plays she recorded, as well as with the digitization of some of her extensive collection of written Picard. These data will complement those from previous fieldwork and provide important information for the monograph on the structure of Picard that she is currently writing.

Associate Professor Brett Bowles received an IAS Research Consultation Award to bring Belgian film historian Roel Vande Winkel (University of Leuven) to Bloomington for four weeks during the spring 2017 semester. Their project, titled "Beyond Goebbels: Alfred Greven, Nazi Film Politics and Policy in Occupied Europe, 1940-1945" uses previously untapped archival sources to reconstruct German film production and distribution in France, Belgium, and the Netherlands during the Second World War.

Finally, we congratulate Associate Professors Oana Panaïté and (again) Brett Bowles for grants received from the College Arts & Humanities Institute. Professor Panaïté, in collaboration with professors Margaret Gray, Vincent Bouchard, Brett Bowles and Eileen Julien, is organizing the meeting of the 20th & 21st Century French/Francophone Studies association to take place at IU-Bloomington in April 2017. Her CAHI conference grant will help fund a session on “Sense and the Senses/Le Sens et les sens: A Roundtable on Aesthetics, Sociology and Literature” at this conference. Professor Bowles has received a CAHI research travel grant for a trip to Paris for the project “Forms and Functions of Poster Art in France during the First World War.” We are grateful for these awards that make our faculty research possible!

Medieval Scholar Joins Faculty as Visiting Professor

The Department is pleased to welcome Lucas Wood as a Visiting Assistant Professor for 2015-16. Professor Wood received his PhD in French from the University of Pennsylvania in 2012, completing a dissertation entitled “Allegory Effects: The Romance of Redemption, the Redemption of Romance, and the Queste del Saint Graal. Before coming to IU, Wood served as Lecturer in the Department of French & Francophone Studies at Pennsylvania State University (2012-13) and as Junior Research Fellow in the School of Modern Languages and Culture of Durham University, UK (2013-15).

Professor Wood’s publications include articles in French Forum, Medium Aevum, and the Romanic Review, as well as a chapter on the Queste del Saint Graal in Murder Most Foul: Medieval and Early Modern Homicide (Larissa Tracy, ed., Boydell & Brewer press). He also has a wide range of teaching experience, including Sex, Gender & Identity in the Middle Ages & Renaissance at Durham, Paris: Anatomy of a City at Penn State, and French language courses. Here at IU, he is teaching F361 La France medieval (à 1500) and F300 Reading & Expression in French. This young scholar is indeed a welcome addition to our community!

Professors Receive NEH Grant for Summer Institute

Professor Eileen Julien and a team of faculty collaborators from three universities have received a National Endowment for the Humanities grant of nearly $200,000 for a summer institute in 2016 entitled "Arts of Survival: Recasting Lives in African Cities." Professor Oana Panaïté, also in our department, is a collaborator on this important enrichment opportunity for twenty-five college and university professors. The other team members are Professors James Ogude (Research Fellow, University of Pretoria, South Africa), Akin Adesokan (Department of Comparative Literature and the Media School, IUB), and Grace Musila (English, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa).

The project explores contemporary urban culture and arts in African and African diaspora cities--Accra, Lagos, Nairobi, New Orleans and Port-au-Prince. These cities share African "roots," but are distinctive because of the unique "routes" that subsequently shaped them: landscapes and histories; multiple languages; waves of immigrants who brought and continue to bring their labor, culture and creativity; and the sometimes tragic events, both “natural” (hurricanes and earthquakes) and man-made (political violence and legacies of colonialism and slavery), that these cities have undergone. Says Julien, “Our goal is to examine how art engages the political and social hierarchies embedded in these cities and often recasts marginal or precarious lives into lives that exceed their constraining structures.”

The Department congratulates Professor Julien and her team for this prestigious award! View a complete list of NEH grants awarded this summer.

Pi Delta Phi Chapter Installed at IUB

The Department of French and Italian is the proud location of the newest chapter of the French national honor society Pi Delta Phi. The Omicron Upsilon chapter was officially installed at IU-Bloomington on Friday, April 3 in the University Club, in the Indiana Memorial Union. Pi Delta Phi Vice President and IU alumna Olga Amarie (PhD ’11) conducted the installation. Professor Barbara Vance, Director of Undergraduate Studies in French, planned and organized the chapter installation, and identified students who met the membership criteria. Thirty-two students were initiated into the organization as the first class of honorees in the new chapter.

Pi Delta Phi is the oldest academic honor society for a modern foreign language in the United States, founded at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1906. It is comprised of more than 370 chapters and is a member of the Association of College Honor Societies and endorsed by the American Association of Teachers of French. Its purpose is to recognize outstanding scholarship in the French language and its literatures, to increase the knowledge and appreciation of Americans for the cultural contributions of the French-speaking world, and to stimulate and to encourage French and francophone cultural activities. The current president of Pi Delta Phi is Professor Scott Fish (Augustana College).

Department Mourns the Passing of Mark Musa

Professor Mark Musa in 1983
Photo credit: Indiana University Archives

We are saddened by the passing of Distinguished Professor Emeritus Mark Louis Musa in Mallorca, Spain on Dec. 31, 2014. Professor Musa was a world-renowned scholar of Dante whose critical editions and translations are essential reading in the field of medieval Italian studies. He was a professor in the Department from 1965 to 1999.

Mark Musa earned an undergraduate degree at Rutgers University in 1956, where he studied with poet and literary critic John Ciardi, under whose tutelage he translated and published a new version of Dante's Vita Nuova, an edition that has been continuously in print since its appearance in 1961. Musa completed his doctorate in Italian Studies in 1961 at Johns Hopkins University, where he studied with Leo Spitzer, Charles Singleton, and Anna Granville Hatcher before coming to Indiana University in the same year. In 1965, Musa founded the Indiana University Bologna Consortial Studies Program, which continues to offer students an enriching study abroad experience to the present day, and it was under his guidance that the Italian doctoral program was first established on the Bloomington campus.

Professor Musa received a Fulbright Fellowship to Italy (1956-58) and a Guggenheim Fellowship (1971), as well as Indiana University's Distinguished Teaching and Mentoring Award in 1996. During his long and productive career, he became known as one of America's most skillful translators and critics of Italian literary classics, including not only the Vita Nuova but also Dante's Divine Comedy, Petrarch's Canzoniere, Boccaccio's The Decameron, Machiavelli's The Prince, The Italian Renaissance Reader, and Pirandello's Six Characters in Search of an Author, some of which were products of his collaboration with other Indiana University colleagues. His books were published by major university and commercial presses, including The Viking Press, Penguin, Norton, Oxford University Press, and Indiana University Press. For his fine work on Dante, he was awarded the "Fiorino d'oro" ("gold florin") by the city of Florence, Italy.

Thanks to Peter Bondanella, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, for the obituary.

Research Group Works on Occitan Roman de Flamenca

Flamenca Corpus

A group of six scholars from the Department of French & Italian and the Department of Linguistics have launched an online database of the corpus of the 13th-century Old Occitan Romance of Flamenca. The digital project has two purposes: as material for linguistic research, and to aid in broader studies in linguistics and Occitan culture. The result of this work in progress can be seen online: First, through the interactive database with parallel glossary and comments, and secondly through the ANNIS web-search engine. Though now very limited in use, Occitan was a thriving language of southern France (Provence) in medieval times. It is best known as the language of troubadors, who wrote and performed lyric poetry set to music, often with themes of courtly love and chivalry.

At present, the project team is comprised of doctoral student Olga Scrivner (French Linguistics/Computational Linguistics), who bridges the two departments involved; doctoral student Eric Beuerlein, Adjunct Assistant Professor Devan Steiner, and Associate Professor Barbara Vance from the Department of French & Italian; and Associate Professor Sandra Kübler and doctoral student Michael McGuire from the Department of Linguistics. They are working with the freely available 1905 edition of the Roman de Flamenca by P. Meyer and the English translation by E.D. Blodgett from the University of Alberta. Scrivner semi-automatically annotates the Occitan data and maintains the interactive website and the online search engine. Steiner and Beuerlein assist Scrivner with the manual correction of scanned text, part-of-speech tags, and syntactic parsing. McGuire provides correction for the French translation and also extracts glossary items. Vance and Kübler provide the graduate students with guidance on the project.

The original Roman de Flamenca manuscript is preserved in the Bibliothèque Municipales de Carcasonne (France). This past summer, Scrivner introduced the corpus to the 11th Congrès de l'Associacion Internacionala d'Estudis Occitans in Lleida, Spain by presenting a linguistic pilot study based on the corpus and co-authored with Blodgett, Kübler, and McGuire.

Department Welcomes Vincent Bouchard

Vincent Bouchard

The Department of French & Italian is pleased to welcome Vincent Bouchard as a new Assistant Professor in the French/Francophone Studies program. Bouchard is a specialist in Francophone media and cultural studies, including both cultural and technical aspects of media and focused on the cultures of Francophone Africa and North America. He earned a PhD in comparative literature from the Université de Montréal and a Doctorat en études cinématographiques et audiovisuelles at the Sorbonne nouvelle, Paris III, both in 2006. Bouchard joins us after five years in the Department of Modern Languages at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. We expect his work will find resonance in the new IU Media School within the College of Arts and Sciences, which was launched on July 1, 2014.

Professor Bouchard’s book Pour un cinéma léger et synchrone à Montréal! was published by Septentrion University Press in 2012 and deals with the aesthetic, institutional, and technical development of film in Québec during the late 1950s and 1960s. In collaboration with Germain Lacasse (Université de Montréal) and Gwenn Scheppler, he has co-directed an issue of the scientific journal Cinémas (Le bonimenteur et ses avatars, Cinémas, vol. 20, n° 1, 2010), and the book Pratiques orales du cinema (Editions L'Harmattan, Paris, 2011). With Fabrice Leroy, he also co-directed an issue of the scientific journal Études Francophones focused on Québec (UL-Lafayette, vol. 5, December 2010). Bouchard’s most recent publication, about the Quebecois novelist, political activist and filmmaker Hubert Aquin, appeared in the journal Québec Studies this year.

H. Wayne Storey Awarded NEH Grant

The National Endowment for the Humanities announced on July 21 that Professor H. Wayne Storey has received a grant of $275,000 over three years for “The Petrarchive Project: An Online Edition of 366 Poems by Petrarch.” The project is a collaboration with John A. Walsh, associate professor of library and information science in the School of Informatics and Computing.

Originally funded in 2013 with an IU New Frontiers grant, the NEH project focuses on the preparation for publication of a digital, “rich text” edition of Petrarch’s Rerum vulgarium fragmenta, also known as the Canzoniere, that incorporates the complex visual poetics and book design that were integral to the poet’s techniques and the meaning of his poems. The edition will include an apparatus of variants, manuscript facsimiles, commentary and supporting material in English and Italian. While known as the poet credited with developing forms such as the sonnet and the sestina, Petrarch was also a scholar whose long years of study and annotation of classical works gave him unique views on the preparation and material construction of books. The Petrarchive Project will bring a fuller picture of Petrarch’s work to scholars worldwide.

PhD Candidate Participates in Monkey-Themed Conference in France

Kate Bastin outside the gate of the Château de Chantilly

Kathryn Bastin, a PhD candidate in French Literature in the Department of French & Italian, participated in the international conference “Singes et Singeries à la Renaissance” organized by the 16th-Century Workshop of the Université de Paris-Sorbonne on March 15, 2014. Bastin, who is currently finishing her year as a College of Arts and Sciences dissertation fellow, was among a select few scholars, mainly from Europe, to participate in this “Journée d’Études,” which took place at the Château de Chantilly north of Paris, known for its two monkey-themed rooms, the grand singerie (1737) and petite singerie (1735). In French, singe means both monkey and ape, and singerie can mean both monkey business and monkey room. Bastin’s PhD dissertation title is “Humanity in Play: Man Meets Monkey in Ancien Régime France,” so the conference was right up her alley.

At the conference, Bastin delivered a paper entitled “Les pièges de l’imitation: Ésope à Versailles,” that focused on the Labyrinth at Versailles, which was in existence approximately 1675 to 1775 and included 39 fountains with animals from Aesop’s fables, among them six monkeys. She explains that in French cultural history “we see a treatment of the monkey and ape as a figure that holds a mirror for the human in the Renaissance and the early modern period: the monkey allows man to behold himself.”

Bastin was particularly excited to visit the Château de Chantilly’s famous singeries, painted by Christophe Huet, as she will analyze them as part of her dissertation. Although the focus of the conference was on an earlier time period than her own research, Bastin noted the importance of “considering precursors to what I am studying, and how these anterior notions of the monkey and ape shaped the Old Régime treatment of the simian.” In today’s world of scientific understanding regarding our evolutionary precursors, the Renaissance attitude toward simians is indeed a fascinating topic.

Students celebrate commencement at FRIT reception

Italian students with Professor Massimo Scalabrini

Associate Professor Massimo Scalabrini (Director of Undergraduate Studies in Italian), Brandon-Lee Dayton, Athena Weber, and Margaret Uland at the commencement reception

On May 9, students, their families, and faculty members of the Department of French and Italian and the Department of Spanish and Portuguese gathered for our annual joint reception for graduating seniors in the State Room East of the Indiana Memorial Union. 24 French majors and 10 Italian majors either graduated from IU-Bloomington this May, or will graduate at the end of the summer. Among those in attendance was Hayleigh Elmore, who finished her BA in three years and has been hired by Teach for America to teach French next year in her home town of Dallas. Adriana Giuliani has just completed both a BA in Italian and a BS in microbiology, and she recalled fondly her year in Bologna, where she not only participated in the IU study abroad program but also completed an internship at the Hospital Bellaria. She is off to medical school at Ohio State in the fall, but plans to keep up her Italian skills by working on translations of poems and prose writing left by her late nonna (grandmother).

Several graduates plan to return to Europe to teach next year. Hayley Connizzo (BA in French and International Studies) and Brandon-Lee Dayton (BA in French, Italian, and Linguistics) will both participate in the TAPIF program, through which Americans serve as English teaching assistants in French middle schools and high schools. Meanwhile, Margaret Uland (BA Italian and Psychology) will be teaching English in Italy next year, at a high school in Busto Arsizio in Lombardy.

We wish all of our graduates the best of luck as they embark on new adventures post-IU!

PhD Candidate Hired by University of the West Indies

Jason Siegel

Jason Siegel, a PhD candidate in French linguistics, has been hired as a Junior Research Fellow in Lexicography at the University of the West Indies-Cave Hill in Barbados. Starting in January 2014, he will be taking charge of the Centre for Caribbean Lexicography, a small, international research center whose goal is to enable publication of lexicographic material (including terminology guides, bilingual dictionaries, differential dictionaries, and glossaries) of Caribbean language varieties. He will be responsible for promoting studies of three categories of languages: 1) Caribbean varieties of European languages, like Cuban Spanish or Martinican French, 2) Caribbean creole languages, such as Papiamentu, Jamaican Patwa, or St. Lucian Creole and 3) endangered languages of the Caribbean indigenous populations, such as those spoken in Belize or the Guianas.

This position complements well the lexicographic work Siegel has done on Louisiana French for a dictionary co-edited by Rudy Professor Emeritus Albert Valdman and Associate Professor Kevin Rottet. He also spent several months in French Guiana in 2011 working on lexicographic analysis of Guianese French Creole, so the position at UWI is a good fit for him. Siegel is currently writing his dissertation on code-switching between Haitian Creole, Guianese Creole, and French.

In addition to his duties at the research center in Barbados, he will also be teaching a linguistics course each semester at UWI. He is excited to start his new job and also about the location: “The campus is only a few blocks from the Caribbean Sea,” he says, “Perfect for those days when I just need to get out of the office for a little while.”

FRIT Welcomes Two New Faculty Members

This fall we welcome two new faculty members to the Department: Cara Takakjian and Kelly Farmer. Ms. Takakjian is a Visiting Lecturer in our Italian language program. She joins us from the PhD program at Harvard University, where she recently defended a dissertation titled "The Italian Graphic Novel: Reading Ourselves, Reading History." Her research and teaching interests include language and literature, particularly Italian popular culture, and film and modern literature with a focus on youth and other subcultures.

Ms. Farmer, who is a doctoral candidate in French linguistics at IUB, joins us as a Visiting Lecturer in our French language program. She is working on her dissertation titled "A diachronic study of sociopragmatic interrogative variation in French films from the 1930s to the present day" under the direction of Professor Julie Auger. She has many years’ experience teaching French at the secondary and college levels, and she served as editorial assistant for the journal Studies in Second Language Acquisition during the last two years.

Assistant Professor of French Publishes First Book

Nicolas Valazza

Assistant Professor of French Nicolas Valazza has published his first book Crise de plume et souveraineté du pinceau - Écrire la peinture de Diderot à Proust with the distinguished French press Classiques Garnier. The work explores the development of French art criticism as a literary genre, in light of the emerging paradigm of sovereignty of painting. The thesis at the core of the book is that the fall of the ut pictura poesis regime, which was governing the classical relationship between painting and literature until the second half of the 18th century, represents a critical moment in the discourse on art—corresponding to the birth of art criticism with Diderot—while causing a proliferation of new literary forms in the 19th century.

Annual Awards Ceremony Celebrates Achievements

Undergraduate student awards winners Naama Levy, Ellie Berry, Maria Walker, Jacob Ladyga, Katy Vaughn, Abigail Silbert, Susan Swanson, and Blake Steiner

French and Italian faculty and students gathered at the Herman B. Wells House on a sunny afternoon April 5 for the annual departmental awards ceremony. 17 students received awards for academic merit named after distinguished former faculty members and friends of the Department, one student was inducted into the Gamma Kappa Alpha Italian honorary society, and two Associate Instructors received special recognition for teaching excellence. The Department’s seven undergraduate majors selected for Phi Beta Kappa this semester were also recognized for their achievement, and the annual Trustees Teaching Award was given to Associate Professor of French linguistics Kevin Rottet. For a full list of award recipients, please see our awards page for undergraduates and graduate students.

After the awards were presented, family and friends joined in for coffee and sweet treats. The faculty members present agreed that there were many talented nominees this year, and it was difficult to choose even though 17 awards were available. We are indeed proud of our students who have excelled in their classes in the Department, as they are both a pleasure to teach and an inspiration to their peers.

Graduate Students Awarded Fellowships

Dissertation fellowship recipients Mary Migliozzi and Kathryn Bastin

The College of Arts and Sciences has awarded two of our advanced doctoral students dissertation fellowships for 2013-14 in the amount of $20,000. Mary Migliozzi, a student in Italian, received the Dissertation Completion Fellowship with the expectation that she will finish and defend her dissertation before the end of the summer 2014. She is working on a dissertation entitled “The Politics of Regional Language: Dialect Literature in Italian Periodicals During Fascism” under the direction of Professor Andrea Ciccarelli. Kathryn Bastin, a student in French literature, received the Dissertation Year Fellowship for her work on a thesis titled “Le singe est-il toujours singe?: Monkeys and Apes in the Grande Siècle and the Age of the Enlightenment.” She is working with two co-directors, Professors Hall Bjørnstad and Guillaume Ansart. We are proud that this is the second year in a row that two of our students have received College dissertation fellowships. Carla Bicoff (Italian) and Jennifer Betters (French linguistics) received the awards last year.

The Department of French and Italian has also rewarded a promising PhD student with a departmental fellowship. Georgy Khabarovskiy has received a Grace P. Young Fellowship to attend the Dartmouth Summer Institute in French Cultural Studies in June-July 2013. The Institute, now in its 11th year, aims to revitalize and enrich the teaching of French language, literature, and culture, and its theme this year is “Culture and Gastronomy.” Khabarovskiy, who plans a dissertation on the topic of travel narratives, looks forward to a summer experience that is beneficial both to his teaching and his research, as he makes connections with scholars from the US and France.

Graduate Student Nicole Burkholder Publishes Article

An article by first-year graduate student Nicole Burkholder (French literature program) has been published in the online French journal Transitions. The article, entitled "Penser le contresens avec Cyrano de Bergerac," examines the role of the dream in Cyrano's novel Etats et empires du soleil. Specifically, it considers how three of Cyrano's characters, in refusing to assign meanings to their dreams, commit the ultimate contresens. They forego an interpretation only to precipitate the realization of their nightmares, demonstrating that sometimes a dogmatic refusal to interpret is the greatest misinterpretation. This article is part of Nicole's ongoing engagement with the subject of dreams in French literature.

Transitions is a journal edited by Hélène Merlin-Kajman from the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle - Paris 3, who was a visiting professor at IUB in Spring 2012.

Hendrickson Awarded Weathers Fellowship

Ryan Hendrickson, a doctoral candidate in French linguistics, has been awarded the departmental Gertrude F. Weathers Fellowship for dissertation research for Spring 2013. Hendrickson (MA French Linguistics, 2010) is working on a dissertation tentatively titled "The Liquid Consonants in Picard." The Picard language is closely related to French and is spoken as a minority language in the northern French provinces of Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Picardy. Hendrickson has studied the language as a research assistant for Professor Julie Auger and has already completed one chapter of the dissertation under Professor Auger's direction. The fellowship is named for Gertrude F. Weathers, an IU alumna and long-time teacher of French in Indiana public schools.

FRIT Congratulates its Graduating Seniors

Graduating Italian majors Abigail Silbert, Greg Attra, and Sam Park. Next to Sam is his girlfriend Rosella, whom he met while studying abroad in Bologna last year.

The Department of French and Italian once again partnered with the Department of Spanish and Portuguese to celebrate our graduating seniors at a reception the day before the spring commencement ceremonies. On May 3, 2013, State Room East of the Indiana Memorial Union was adorned with vases of roses and lilacs, and also with the smiles of students finishing their BA degrees. Among the attendees were our Directors of Undergraduate Studies, Professor Eric MacPhail and Associate Professor Massimo Scalabrini, who wished the students well in a brief program during the event.

Abigail Silbert, Sam Park, and Greg Attra sat together and reminisced about the Bologna overseas study program, which all three participated in during 2011-12. Abby will be teaching high school English in the Lombardy region of Italy next year, while Sam has applied to an MA program at the University of Gastronomical Sciences in the town of Bra, in the Piedmont region of northern Italy. Greg has a job lined up with Senator Angus King in his home state of Maine this summer, and he plans to pursue a degree in public service and social policy analysis at the Muskie School of Public Service of the University of Southern Maine.

French graduates Eleanor “Ellie” Berry and Bailey Hacker will both be teaching English at secondary schools in France next year through the French government teaching assistant program, while Jessica Johnson is looking forward to returning to francophone Africa, specifically Senegal, where she studied on IU’s Dakar program in Summer 2011. She has been admitted to a dual MA program in African Studies and Public Affairs at IUB for next fall.

In all, 30 French majors and 9 Italian majors are set to graduate this month. Congratulations to all our graduates. May your knowledge of French and Italian enrich your lives for years to come!

French Student Wins National Essay Contest

Will McHenry, a senior Hutton Honors College student majoring in French, has won the annual Women in French essay contest for the best undergraduate essay on French literature. His essay, titled "Corps emprisonnés et langage surveillé : Le parodique comme subversif dans Femmes d'Alger dans leur appartement d'Assia Djebar," examines how Algerian novelist Djebar uses parody as subversion in her book Women of Algiers in Their Apartment (published in 2002). McHenry developed the essay as part of an individual readings course with Professor Oana Panaïté of the Department of French and Italian in Fall 2011.

French literature written outside of France, particularly in the area of North Africa known as the Maghreb, captured McHenry's interest a few years ago. When he signed up for the individual reading class with Prof. Panaïté, he originally planned to focus on literary translation, but after reading Djebar's novel for the second time (in preparation for translation), he was struck by the literary themes and became more interested in literary criticism and analysis of the work. He read several theoretical works by modern and contemporary experts in the field of literary criticsm and began to explore the representations of the body and sexuality, uses of speech and language with a text, specifically within Women of Algiers. Professor Panaïté was so impressed with the final essay that she recommended Will submit it to the Women in French contest.

Women in French is an group of scholars who wish to promote research on women writing in French, on women in literature and culture of French expression, and other domains of feminist literary criticism. It is affiliated with the Modern Language Association.

Reception a Fun Send-Off for Graduating Seniors

French BA graduates Olivia Stidham and Allison Billows

This year the Department of French and Italian once again co-hosted a reception for graduating seniors in the Indiana Memorial Union the day before spring commencement ceremonies, Friday May 4. The reception was held in collaboration with the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, so students of various romance languages mingled with family, friends, and faculty members and enjoyed sweet treats in the State Room East. All students slated to graduate in May and August 2012 were invited (20 in French and 10 in Italian).

Among the attendees were two friends from the Italian program, Stefanie Orlowski and Jessica Wehr, both of whom participated in the Bologna overseas study program in Spring 2011 and plan to return to Italy soon. Stefanie will start the Middlebury College Italian MA program in June, first with classes in Middlebury, Vermont, and then in Florence. Jessica, this year's Mary V. Lèbano Prize winner, has applied to teach high school English in Lombardia as part of an exchange program.

From the French program, attendees included Sarah Chestnut and Alexandra Moxley, who chatted with Professor Hall Bjørnstad. Sarah, an alumna of the High School Honors Program in Brest (Bretagne) plans to pursue graduate study in education, and Alexandra will be teaching as part of the French government's teaching assistants program in Montpellier next fall. At another table, Olivia Stidham, one of this year's Grace Young Undergraduate Award recipients, also expressed her excitement at being selected as a French teaching assistant through the same program. She will be located in the Nancy/Metz area in northeastern France. Her friend and fellow French BA recipient Allison Billows plans to pursue a certificate in ESL (English as a Second Language) to follow her own path back to France. Both students participated in the semester study abroad program in Aix-en-Provence, which was a "cultural eye-opener," according to Allison.

We wish all our students the best of luck as they pursue jobs or further education after graduation!

Albert Valdman receives Médaille d'Or du Mérite Francophone

Dean Larry Singell, Hilde Valdman, Albert Valdman, Jane Robert, Consul Graham Paul, and Interim Provost Lauren Robel

Graham Paul, the French Consul General of the Chicago Consulate, visited the Bloomington campus on Monday, April 16 to celebrate the latest honor to be bestowed upon Rudy Professor Emeritus Albert Valdman, the Médaille d'Or du Mérite Francophone. This honor is given by La Renaissance Française Delegation of the United States and was presented by the Delegation's president, Jane Robert. IUB Interim Provost and Executive Vice President Lauren Robel and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Larry Singell also participated in the ceremony, which took place in the Federal Room of the Indiana Memorial Union. The event was followed by a reception attended by about 45 colleagues, friends, and students of Professor Valdman.

La Renaissance Française is a public non-profit organization benefiting from the patronage of the President of the French Republic. It was founded by French president Raymond Poincaré in 1916 with the mission of promoting French culture throughout the world. The US delegation was founded in 2009, and his Excellency François Delattre, Ambassador of France to the United States, serves as its Président d'Honneur. Albert Valdman is professor emeritus in the Department of French and Italian and in the Department of Linguistics. He is founder and director of the IU Creole Institute and editor of the journal Studies in Second Language Acquisition. He has been for many decades a leader in the field of French language education and in the study of French as spoken outside of France, especially in Haiti and Louisiana.

Annual Awards Ceremony celebrates academic excellence

Undergraduate awards winners (left to right): Margaret Uland, Kimberly Long, Olivia Stidham, Kevin Gardner, Elizabeth Shariat Panahi, Miranda Hoegberg, Andrew C. Johns, Jessica Johnson, Jessica Wehr

Students and faculty of the Department of French and Italian gathered at the Wells House on Friday, April 6 to recognize outstanding academic achievement of undergraduate and graduate students, as well as excellent classroom teaching by AIs and faculty members, in its annual departmental awards ceremony. Chair Andrea Ciccarelli served as master of ceremonies, and various faculty members took turns presenting the student awards, which made up the bulk of the program. About 70 students, faculty, and friends attended the ceremony, which concluded with the annual Trustees Teaching Award which goes to one FRIT faculty member each year. This year Associate Professor of French Linguistics Julie Auger was chosen by her colleagues to receive this prestigious award.

As usual, Professor Margot Gray was adorned by a festive hat while presenting the Grace P. Young Undergraduate Awards, which this year went to Olivia Stidham, Jessica Johnson, and Andrew Johns. Professor Gray's hat was a nod to the namesake of this award, Grace P. Young, who taught French at IU from 1917 to 1956 and felt a hat to be an essential part of her teaching attire. Professor Emeritus Edoardo Lèbano again presented the Carol Brush Hofstadter Memorial Scholarships, saying with grace and good humor that this proves he is still alive and kicking. After the ceremony, attendees enjoyed coffee, petit fours, and personal congratulations from their peers in the sunny banquet room of the Wells House.

Albert Valdman receives lifetime achievement award

Albert Valdman (center) with research collaborators and teachers in Haiti, 2007. To Prof. Valdman's left is Solfils Telfort, now an MA student in French at IU.

At the annual meeting of the Society of Pidgin and Creole Linguistics in January 2012, Rudy Professor Emeritus Albert Valdman was presented with the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award for his outstanding contribution to the field of creole studies. The SPCL is an international scholarly association regrouping world-wide specialists of pidgin and creole languages. Professor Valdman is the founder and director of the Indiana University Creole Institute, and he retired from the Department of French and Italian and the Department of Linguistics in 2004. He also received a lifetime achievement award from the Haitian Studies Association in 2009.

The SPCL award recognizes the important contribution of the IU Creole Institute to research on French-based creoles, especially those of Louisiana and Haiti, and to the preparation of teaching and lexical resources for these languages. Most instructional programs in Haitian Creole in the United States, including that of the State Department Foreign Service Institute, use materials prepared by the Creole Institute. Several former Creole Institute research assistants now lead Haitian Creole programs across the nation; for example, Ben Hebblethwaite (PhD French, 2007) at the University of Florida, Nicolas André (MA French, 2008) at Florida International University, Tom Klingler (PhD French, 1992) at Tulane University, Marc Prou at the University of Massachusetts, and Jacques Pierre at Duke.

Hélene Merlin-Kajman joins FRIT as visiting professor

The Department of French and Italian is pleased to welcome Hélène Merlin-Kajman as a visiting professor for the second eight-week session of Spring 2012. Professor Merlin-Kajman comes to IU from the Université de Paris 3-Sorbonne Nouvelle and is also a senior member of the Institut Universitaire de France. She is a leading scholar of French 17th-century studies, and her research brings a rigorous and sensitive philological engagement with literary texts to bear on wider philosophical, historical and political questions. Among her research publications are La langue est-elle fasciste? Langue, pouvoir, enseignement (Paris, Seuil: 2003), L'absolutisme dans les lettres et la théorie des deux corps: Passions et politique (Paris, Champion: 2000) and Public et littérature en France au XVIIe siècle (Paris, Les Belle Lettres: 1994). She is also founder and director of the online journal In addition to her scholarly career, Professor Merlin-Kajman is a novelist and has published five works of fiction, including Rachel (Paris, Minuit: 1981) and La Désobéissance de Pyrame (Paris, Belin: 2009).

While at IU-Bloomington, Professor Merlin-Kajman will teach two courses: F451 "Sorcellerie, magie et littérature" and F630 "Le rôle public des émotions." She will also be a featured keynote speaker in "The Language of the Baroque: An Interdisciplinary Conference Between Literary Historians and Musicologists," to take place Saturday, April 14 in the Walnut Room of the Indiana Memorial Union.

Mickel honored with Palmes Académiques

Officier Emanuel Mickel with Attaché culturel adjoint Jean-François Rochard

Professor of French Emanuel Mickel received one of the highest French academic honors on Thursday when the cultural attaché of the French Consulate in Chicago bestowed up him the designation Officier de l'Ordre des Palmes Académiques. In a ceremony attended by friends and colleagues in the Federal Room of the Indiana Memorial Union, Professor Mickel's long and productive career as a scholar of both medieval and 19th century French literature was reviewed and extolled by Jean-François Rochard of the French Consulate. Indiana University Provost and Executive Vice President Karent Hanson, Vice President for International Affairs David Zaret, and College of Arts and Sciences Dean Larry Singell all praised the work of Professor Mickel in furthering the study of French literature and culture here at IU for over forty years. Chair Andrea Ciccarelli also praised Mickel as a pillar of the department, citing his leadership as chair 1984-1995 and again 2009-2011.

Mickel is the author of six books including Eugène Fromentin (G. K. Hall, 1982) and Ganelon, Treason and the "Chanson de Roland" (Penn State University Press, 1989), and he is also editor of several works, including the immense 10-volume Old French Crusade Cycle (University of Alabama press, 1977-2003, co-edited with Jan Nelson). He was invited as Visiting Scholar at Pembroke College, Cambridge (UK) in 2006 and has served as chair of 19 PhD dissertation committees. We are pleased to congratulate Professor Mickel on the well-deserved honor of the Palmes Académiques.

Erin Patrick Receives Outstanding Young Alumni Award

We congratulate Erin Patrick (BA French and Political Science, 1998), who has been awarded the Outstanding Young Alumni Award by the College of Arts and Sciences Alunni Association. She is head of the Fuel and Firewood Initiative of the Women's Refugee Commission, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping improve the lives and protect the rights of women, children, and young people who are refugees. In particular, the Fuel and Firewood program helps refugee women obtain access to safe cooking fuel and works to mitigate safety and health risks associated with the collection and use of firewood. Ms. Patrick has made a significant impact on the lives of hundreds of our most vulnerable global citizens through her work with the WRC, and she well-deserves the Outstanding Young Alumni Award.

Three students inducted into Phi Beta Kappa

The Department of French and Italian congratulates three French majors recently inducted into the "Gamma of Indiana" chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. Sarah Chestnut (Religious Studies, French), Katelyn Colvin (French, English), and Melissa Thompson (French), along with 136 other inductees, were celebrated at a banquet held in Alumni Hall on December 6. These may be familiar names to friends of the Department, as all three students have previously won departmental honors. Sarah Chestnut was awarded the John K. Hyde Award at the annual departmental student award ceremony on April 8, 2011. Melissa Thompson and Katelyn Colvin both received Grace P. Young Undergraduate Awards for excellence in French studies at the same event.

Phi Beta Kappa is one of oldest and most respected academic honor societies in the United States. Founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary, it has chapters at 280 American colleges and universities. The "Gamma of Indiana" chapter was founded at Indiana University over 100 years ago.

Team of FRIT faculty and students participate in 5K run

The "We are F(R)IT" Team: Back row - Professor Emeritus Oscar Kenshur (CMLT), graduate student Mark Black. Second row - Joseph Kenshur, Professor Margot Gray, graduate student Krista Williams, graduate student Amy Conrad, Professor Oana Panaïte, Craig Dethloff. Front row - Graduate student Michael Dow, French Visiting Lecturer Rebecca Petrush. Not pictured: Graduate student Amber Panwitz and alumna Kate Miller (PhD '11).

The Department of French and Italian proudly continued the tradition of fielding a team for the annual Jill Behrman 5K Walk/Run sponsored by IU Recreational Sports. The team from the Department called itself "We are F(R)IT" and included graduate students Michael Dow, Amy Conrad, Mark Black, Amber Panwitz, and Krista Williams, as well as Professors Margaret (Margot) Gray and Oana Panaïté, and Visiting Lecturer Rebecca Petrush. Professor Gray was joined by her husband, Professor Emeritus Oscar Kenshur from the Department of Comparative Literature, and her son Joseph Kenshur. Professor Panaïté was joined by her partner Craig Dethloff, who is Chief of Staff for the IUB Faculty Council. Rounding out the team was alumna Kate Miller, who received her PhD in French linguistics this summer and now holds a tenure-track faculty position at Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis.

This 5K walk/run was established twelve years ago in honor of Jill Behrman, an IU student and employee of Recreational Sports, who went missing while on a bike ride in May 2000. Three years later, her body was found in a southern Indiana field – she had been murdered. The IU community keeps Jill's memory alive through this annual event, which includes a competitive 5K run and a 1 mile walk for families and those not quite as F(R)IT.

This year, we are happy to report two top finishers from the FRIT team. Rebecca Petrush, who is Acting Director of the French Language Program this year and also a PhD candidate in French linguistics, placed first in her age group, as did Margot Gray, a tenured professor who specializes in 20th and 21st-century French literature, especially women authors. Félicitations!

Michael Berkvam Memorial Fund Established

The Department is pleased to announce the creation of a new fund through the IU Foundation to support graduate students in French and Italian, the Professor Michael Berkvam Graduate Student Fund. This fund was established by Michael Berkvam's widow, Mirka Berkvam, in memory of her husband, a faculty member in the Department of French and Italian from 1971 until his retirement in 2006. Although Professor Berkvam started his scholarly career in the field of 18th-century French literature, mainly Voltaire, he later turned his emphasis to the literature and cinema of France during and after World War II. Thus, in awarding funds from the new IU Foundation account, preference will be given to students studying French film in its literary cultural context or contemporary French fiction.

The Department is grateful to Mirka Berkvam for carrying forward Michael's deep dedication to his students in this way. We will miss Michael for his wit and wisdom, his lively intellect, and his dedication to teaching.

Passing of Michael Berkvam

Michael Berkvam passed away on August 21, 2011 in Bloomington after a short illness. He had been very active since his retirement in 2006, and he was scheduled to teach a course on recent French writing by women for the Hutton Honors College this fall. Professor Berkvam received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 18th century French studies, and joined the Department of French and Italian at IU as a Lecturer in 1971. He was appointed Assistant Professor after completing his PhD in 1973. After having worked and published on 18th century literature, mainly Voltaire, and on the cultural aspects of the French Revolution, he turned his scholarly attention to the culture and literature of France during and shortly after World War II. Professor Berkvam's lengthy volume Writing the Story of France in World War II: Literature and Memory, 1942-1958 was published by the University of the South Press in 2000, the same year he was promoted to Full Professor. The monograph deals with the cultural and political interpretation of WWII in the French novel of the 1940's and 50's. Professor Berkvam was one of the most beloved and appreciated teachers in the College of Arts and Sciences, as his affiliation with the Hutton Honors College and his two Teaching Excellence Recognition Awards show. He will be greatly missed. Online condolences may be made to the family at A memorial service celebrating the life of Michael Berkvam will be held on Saturday, September 24, at 1:00 pm in the Frangipani Room of the Indiana Memorial Union on the Indiana University-Bloomington campus.

New French Cinema Scholar Joins Faculty

Brett Bowles joins the Department of French and Italian as an Associate Professor in Fall 2011. He received his PhD in French civilization from Pennsylvania State University in 1998, served as Assistant and Associate Professor at Iowa State University 1998-2005, and most recently was Associate Professor of French Studies at the State University of New York at Albany. Professor Bowles' primary research field is twentieth-century social, political, and cultural history through film (fiction and documentary). He is author of Marcel Pagnol, forthcoming this year in the French Film Directors series from Manchester University Press, and editor of Cinema, Society, and Politics in France and Germany, 1930-1945, due for publication by Berghahn Books in 2012. Professor Bowles has a wide range of teaching experience, from an undergraduate class in French composition to graduate seminars on the French New Wave. In addition, he serves on the editorial boards of several important scholarly journals, including Modern and Contemporary France (North American Editor), French History, and French Historical Studies.

Welcome New Visiting Faculty

In Fall 2011, we welcome several new visiting faculty to our French and Italian programs. In French, Marc Schachter (PhD, University of California, Santa Cruz) joins us as Visiting Assistant Professor. Professor Schachter is the author of Voluntary Servitude and the Erotics of Friendship: From Classical Antiquity to Early Modern France (Ashgate, 2008) and comes to IU after several years at Duke University and a post-doctoral fellowship at the Folger Shakespeare Library. Joining our French language program team as Visiting Lecturers are Audrey Dobrenn and Marie-Line Brunet, but advanced doctoral students at IU completing their dissertations in French literature. In Italian, we also welcome two new Visiting Lecturers: Karolina Serafin (PhD, University of Warsaw) and Anthony Nussmeier (ABD, Indiana), who will help coordinate our Italian language program.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]