The Center for French and Francophone Studies

This week, we welcome back our colleague and fellow Dukie, French writer and journalist, Philippe Lançon.

On Wednesday, April 20, he’ll be speaking on the vital force of reading and writing in the face of terror attacks.  His talk “Comment lire et écrire après un attentat” takes place at 5 pm in Rubenstein Library’s Holsti-Anderson Room, 153. Lançon will speak in French; an English synopsis will be provided, and the Q & A will also be conducted in English. A reception to welcome back our colleague will be held thereafter.

Lançon will be speaking on a subject he knows all too well. A contributor to the satirical weekly, Charlie Hebdo, he was participating in the editorial meeting the morning of the attack in January 2015; he came out, injured, and ready to write again a week later with his characteristic elegant precision, and wit.


Lançon’s writing as a critic of literature and the arts is widely known and respected; for his work in Libération and XXI, he has won the Hennessy award as well as the Lagardère Journalist Award. Lançon has a particular interest in the fiction of Spanish America, especially Cuba.

Lançon is also the author of several novels and short stories, including L’élan (2013) and Les îles (2011), publishing playfully under a pseudonym as well.

In 2010, Lançon taught 2 courses on French literature and politics at Duke in the Dept. of Romance Studies when, he was a dedicated denizen of Bostock Library, spending long hours using its collections. He first came to Duke as a Media Fellow to the Dewitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy at the Sanford School for Public Policy, now part of the Franklin Humanities Institute.

His talk is co-sponsored by the Center for French and Francophone Studies, the Dept. of Romance Studies,  the FHI, Media and Journalism Initiative, and Duke Libraries.





The semester began with a dialogue on last year’s legacy of terror in Beirut, Paris, and Bamako. With faculty from UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke, the group sought to raise as many questions as to provide answers:

Prof. Zeina Halabi: what of the liberal cultivation of individuality that cultivates the memory of some victims of these attacks – those in Paris — and not others – those in Beirut, and Bamako?

Prof. Anne-Gaëlle Saliot: how to analyze the government’s declaration of a state of emergency in France honestly? The proposal to strip French bi-nationals of citizenship on conviction of a terrorist act?

Prof. Amadou Fofana: what of the youth of Mali and other West African countries exposed to new and alien forces of propaganda.

Read more :

In the wake of the latest attacks in Burkina Faso, the questions raised by the panel resonate more strongly.



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wylie membres


Today we remember the journalists who were killed last year.  All those who with them, recognize the human right to speak out, to speak in jest.

Tears come.

This week President Obama also shed a few out of indignation about guns hijacking the principle of freedom.  The proliferation of weapons is spreading terribly in the States, in France, as in many so-called open societies; and with it, the scourge of young people choosing to express themselves with a “kalach”.

Still “gauloiseries” will keep coming too.

The comic outlook that tests limits.  The humor that risks offending others, the type of critical spirit that writer Philippe Lançon remembered of the editorial meeting on January 7 in the first piece he wrote after surviving the attack:

The challenge now is to stay open-minded.  It is tough in the climate of hyper security still new to France, and with the news this morning of another incident in Paris, in the “Goutte d’Or” neighborhood in the XVIIIe district.   The choice to think critically and resist fatalistic, sectarian thinking is the courageous one.


Helen Solterer

Professor, Dept. of Romance Studies

Director, Center for French &Francophone Studies

On November 13-15, a class from Duke University led by Deb Reisinger held a pop-up exhibit in “our Bull City” space: Resettlement Journeys: Central Africa to Durham. This exhibit was part of a service learning course called “Issues in global displacement: voix francophones”.

To know more follow the link:

annonce livre a gaelle

Solidaire / In Solidarity

November 16th, 2015 | Posted by in Uncategorized - (1 Comments)

Rue Al-Hussiniyé, Bourj Al-Barajné, Beyrouth

Saint Denis – Le Stade de France

Rues Bichat & Alibert – Le Petit Cambodge & Le Carillon, Paris 10e

Rue de la Fontaine-au-Roi – Le Café Bonne Bière, Paris 11e

Rue de Charonne – La Belle Équipe, Paris 11e

Boulevard Voltaire, Paris 11e

Le Bataclan, Paris 11e


Ce jour de deuil, lorsque l’on commence à apprendre les noms des morts, on exprime notre tristesse et notre solidarité avec tous ce qui ont été touchés par les événements au Liban et en France ces derniers jours.

On invite des membres de la communauté à laisser leurs mots de soutien ici.


Demain, à midi, au “Forum of Scholars & Publics”, une première occasion de se retrouver pour parler des événements avec Laurent Dubois et Negar Mottahedeh :

Mercredi, on recevra notre invitée, Zeina Abirached, l’écrivaine franco-libanaise, dont la visite nous importe davantage en ce moment. Pour plus de détails, voir la rubrique “Coming Events”

Venez nombreux.

On this day of mourning, as we begin to learn the names of the dead, we express our sorrow and our solidarity with all those who have been touched by the events in the Lebanon and France over the last days.

We invite members of our community to post their messages of support here.

Tomorrow, at noon, in the Forum of Scholars and Publics, a first occasion to come together to discuss these events with Laurent Dubois and Negar Mottahedeh.

Wednesday, we will welcome our invited guest, the Franco-Lebanese writer, Zeina Abirached whose visit is all the more meaningful to us at this time. Details of her talk under the rubric “Coming Events”.

We look forward to seeing many of you.



FDH Website

August 20th, 2015 | Posted by Sandrine Pauwels in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)



The Center is delighted to begin the new academic year with the launching of the second phase of the FDH – Francophone Digital Humanities – Initiative.

Bea Wallace , our designer from the MA program in EDA [experimental and documentary arts], worked closely with team members in developing the various project sites.

Check out the new website that offers an array of resources and upcoming events, conferences, and seminars.



As we close out this academic year, a bulletin from one of our students working in French beyond the Duke campus wall.

James Johnson, class of 2017, April-May 2015

Last semester, I had the opportunity to work with a number of refugees from the Central African Republic. Our partnership developed out of the service-learning component of Professor Deborah Reisinger’s course, Issues in Global Displacement: Voix Francophones, where our goal was to developed a shared understanding of language and culture. The families we worked with were new arrivals to Durham, from Congo, the CAR, and the DRC, and we worked with them from their first days in the United States.

My class partners made weekly visits to our family’s apartment each week, where I worked with the children on their homework, reading books in English and helping them with their math. In addition to supporting their learning, I learned a great deal about the culture of the Central African Republic, about what it means to be a refugee – both logistically and legally – and about the challenges of adapting to life in America. During the reflection sessions of the course, we discussed the impact of our partnership, including setting realistic goals for us both.   Although understanding our exact impact is difficult, I was able to see improvement in the children’s English abilities as the semester progressed, as well as their increased understanding of American customs and practices. Nevertheless, I still struggled to understand what it was like to be a refugee. I was curious to learn more, and with this in mind, I began to approach our time together differently.

While I continued to help the kids develop their reading skills, I also inquired more about their friends at school. I learned some difficult truths about how they were treated by their peers at school, and was moved by the descriptions of marginalization they shared. I began to organize more activities with them to get to know them even better, taking them on picnics in the Duke Gardens and out in the community. It was through events like this that I saw the real impact of the partnership: we became friends .

At the end of the course, my group conducted interviews with our partners to put on the French in Durham web site. When we celebrated the web site launch this spring, I was happy to see the family I had worked with again. One of the kids is now much more confident; seeing this transition was the most powerful element of this project for me. The family has since been able to move into a larger apartment, and another daughter has joined them in the U.S. Their mother now has a green card, her driver’s license, and a car. This experience has helped me grow and learn about what it means to be a refugee in the U.S. while helping a Francophone family adapt to living in a brand new place with a different official language.


French Travel Writing in the Ottoman Empire: Marseilles to Constantinople, 1650-1700 (Routledge Research in Travel Writing)

longino book