This has been a year of important faculty transitions for the Department of French and Italian. Julie Auger, Associate Professor of French and Linguistics and for many years Director of Graduate Studies in French Linguistics, left IU in January to join the University of Montreal in her native Quebec. Two valued members of our Italian faculty, Alicia Vitti (Senior Lecturer of Italian) and Antonio Vitti (Professor of Italian Cinema) retired in June. On behalf of the Department, I wish the three of them all the best in their future endeavors and express my sincere appreciation for their substantial contributions, as educators, mentors and scholars. As we salute and thank three great colleagues, we are happy to see a new generation of scholars among our faculty. While French medievalist Elizabeth Hebbard and Italian medievalist Akash Kumar will serve their second year in 2019-20 as Assistant Professor and Visiting Assistant Professor respectively, sociolinguist Annie Bergeron, who received her Ph.D. from Concordia University in Montreal, will join us as Visiting Assistant Professor of French in the fall.
French and Italian continues to be a place of exciting and innovative pedagogical and scholarly work, only some of which I have room to highlight here. Adding to an already rich roster of courses taught by FRIT faculty for the Hutton Honors College, in Spring 2019 Alison Calhoun (Associate Professor of French) taught for the first time her Reading the City: Parisian Spaces, a course which is part of the HHC International Experience Program and which entailed two weeks on-site in Paris; and in Summer 2019 Karolina Serafin (Senior Lecturer of Italian) taught an entirely online version of a reading proficiency course for graduate students, extending online education beyond the basic language courses. Hall Bjørnstad (Associate Professor of French) received a prestigious National Endowment for the Humanities award for the completion of his book The Crowning Example: Louis XIV and the Crisis of Royal Exemplarity; Albert Valdman (Rudy Professor emeritus of French and Linguistics), Kevin Rottet (Associate Professor of French) and a team of collaborators comprising Thomas Klingler (Ph.D. ’92, Associate Professor at Tulane), Marvin Moody (Ph.D. ‘72) and doctoral student Carly Bahler (M.A. ’13) are making progress on the groundbreaking Differential, Historical and Etymological Dictionary of Louisiana French; while Marco Arnaudo (Professor of Italian) and Andrea Ciccarelli (Provost Professor of Italian and Dean of the Hutton Honors College) are launching Simultanea, a refereed online journal devoted to the scholarly investigation of Italian popular culture.
We had a number of successful Ph.D. dissertation defenses this year: Erin Myers, Georgy Khabarovskiy, Jill Owen, Jessica Tindira and Noëlle Brown in French/Francophone Studies; Carlotta Paltrinieri and Rosa Borgonovi in Italian Studies. Two of our doctoral students, Sara Dallavalle (Italian Studies) and Amanda Vredenburgh (French/Francophone Studies), were awarded a College Dissertation Completion Fellowship and several of our graduates found good academic positions at Baylor University, Brown University, Kennesaw State University and Lycoming College.
This is my last letter as chair as I will step down from my current position in January 2020 after four and a half years. Serving the Department when language and humanities programs such as ours are under intense pressure has posed some inevitable challenges, but I have been constantly inspired by the dedication, the energy and the amazing work of our students, faculty and staff. I am happy to leave the Department in the very capable hands of Ruth N. Halls Professor of French Oana Panaïté. Professor Panaïté will bring to this job a substantial amount of administrative experience through her past service to the department, university, and profession.