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.
2012 News Archive
French student wins national essay contest
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
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 M.A. 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 B.A. 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
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
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
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 (Ph.D. French, 2007) at the University of Florida, Nicolas André (M.A. French, 2008) at Florida International University, Tom Klingler (Ph.D. 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 mouvement-transitions.fr. 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
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 Ph.D. dissertation committees. We are pleased to congratulate Professor Mickel on the well-deserved honor of the Palmes Académiques.