When Hall Bjørnstad joined the department 13 years ago, the illustration on the poster for his job talk was Charles Le Brun’s painting Le Roi gouverne par lui-même, 1661. Bjørnstad reports that his project on political absolutism has been much slower in coming together than he expected back then, but that the pleasure of seeing the book published was all the greater when it finally happened last fall. The illustration on the cover of The Dream of Absolutism: Louis XIV and the Logic of Modernity (University of Chicago Press, October 2021) remains the same painting that illustrated the project 13 years ago.
Alison Calhoun was immensely gratified to share her work internationally, traveling to Dublin, Ireland, for the Renaissance Society of America conference, where she met up with colleagues including Kathryn Bastin (PhD ‘16), and to Oxford, England, where she gave two talks on her current book project. Professor Calhoun was also elated to again direct the Hutton Honors College’s Paris program, which she designed, after a COVID hiatus the last two years. She took 20 Hutton students for a two-week stint in Paris this past May, after an 8-week preparatory class on campus entitled “Parisian Spaces.” The IU students proved motivated and showed great stamina as this year’s itinerary was particularly packed, including a first-time food tour of Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
Margot Gray’s monograph Stolen Limelight: Gender, Display and Displacement in Modern Fiction in French was published this summer by the University of Wales Press; an article on the impact of new media on the ways we read Proust also appeared. She has enjoyed teaching two new courses recently, including a team-teaching experience with “French Conversational Practice” that – thanks to the daring innovation of team member Erin Stigers (PhD candidate in French Linguistics) – drew on the popular French TV series “Dix Pour Cent” (“Call My Agent”). At the bi-annual Modern Language Association Summer Symposium, held mostly in person after the COVID-19 hiatus, in Glasgow, Scotland, June 2-4, 2022, Gray presented in a panel entitled “Albert Camus and the Problem of Hospitality” a talk dealing with “Languages of Hospitality in Camus’ ‘L’Hôte’ (‘The Guest’).” The fascinating session featured an unexpected guest speaker – Camus himself, whose 1957 Nobel Prize acceptance award was played in closing and provided much food for thought and discussion in connection with the other three talks.
Also at the MLA Summer Symposium, Oana Panaïté delivered a paper on “Glissant’s Generosity – A Hospitality without Ethics.” Panaïté will end her term as President of the Conseil International d’Études Francophones after three unusual years which saw the nearly 40-year-old professional association cancel its annual congress (in 2020), hold its first virtual congress (in 2021), and host its first hybrid congress in 2022 (organized in person in Trento, Italy, and via Zoom, June 20-26, 2022). In both the 2021 and 2022 meetings, IU students and alumni participated as presenters (Cristina Robu [MA ’17], Antonio Marvasi [MA’20]), panel chair (Amanda Vredenburgh, PhD ‘20), and, most importantly, as assistants to the president who made the logistics of the events possible, (Renata Uzzell [PhD ‘21], assistant from 2020 to 2022, and Victoria Lagrange [PhD ‘22], assistant for the 2021 congress). Caroline Fache (PhD ’07) has been elected to the position of Vice-President of the CIÉF, with her term starting in July 2022.
Colleen Ryan taught a new 300-level course in Spring 2022 called “Italian Slow Tour,” which was “a sheer delight and interdisciplinary adventure, thanks to the generous access to archives and presence of the Turisti per caso television personalities,” namely Syusy Blady, Patrizio Roversi and Zoe Roversi Giusti. With the innovative ideas and pedagogical creativity of PhD students Nicolò Salmaso (MA ’20) and Lucia Casiraghi (MA ’21), Ryan led the class on a sustainable tour through Italy with eco-tourism and arts, literature and cinema in focus. The course culminated with the students’ original Italian-language slow tour videos of Bloomington and an in-person interview/lesson with Turisti per caso host Syusy Blady.
Massimo Scalabrini published a book titled Commedia e civiltà: Dinamiche anticonflittuali nella letteratura italiana del Cinquecento (Ravenna: Longo, April 2022). The book discusses how the values of conversation, decorum and moderation—all inherited from Greco-Latin antiquity—became instruments of conflict prevention, containment and resolution in key genres and authors of Renaissance literature.
Becoming the first to hold this new title in the Department, Karolina Serafin was promoted from Senior Lecturer to Teaching Professor effective July 1, 2022. She was also honored with the 2022 Kathy O. Smith and Morley Career Distinguished Teaching Award from the College of Arts and Sciences.
Barbara Vance and doctoral students Scott Evans (MA ’17) and Chase Tiffany (MA ’19) co-authored a paper entitled “Le pronom ON et les systèmes pronominaux de l’ancien français et l’ancien Occitan,” which was presented by Vance and Evans at the conference Diachro X sponsored at the Sorbonne by the Société Internationale de Diachronie de Français in June.