The Center for French and Francophone Studies

Welcome back – Cela bouge!

September 4th, 2017 | Posted by in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

As we begin this new academic year, exciting changes are under way – in the Center’s programming and direction, in the look and reach of our Website, in the development of our existing projects and exchanges.

Please check back as we announce these changes and launch a redesigned Website.

Bonne rentrée et à très bientôt !


As we head into the last week of classes, millions of voters have gone to the polls in France on Sunday.  The first round of the presidential election marks another major test in the rise of the far Right world wide, of nationalist populism, another challenge to Europe in a global framework.

Emmanuel Macron – Marine LePen. An unprecedented face-off between 2 candidates who have upended the dominant political culture of the French Republic. Neither represents a major political party who has shared power over the last generations, neither the Socialist Left still at the helm of government, nor the center or traditional Right, in the Gaullist tradition.

Macron, an untested, pro-Europe libéral who launched his own movement, En Marche vs. a racist, anti-immigration, anti-Europe extreme nationalist from the far Right Front National.

Concerned about the voting results, for Europe, for Trump’s America, and the wider world? And over-committed at the end of the semester?

The Center for French and Francophone Studies is offering a drop-in, informal discussion hosted by the Forum for Scholars and Publics on Monday, April 24,  12:30-2 pm, Old Chem 011, West Campus.

An open forum for those who would like to gather to talk about the first round.  Instead of a round Table with designated speakers, a chance to exchange thoughts.

Cookies and refreshments available.



Thanks to Marc Albertsen, Nicole Kiprilov, and Noah Youkelis, we are lucky to have – now  – on campus a new undergraduate association of francophones.

 Duke Francophone Society (DFS) aims to promote and expand the Francophone culture on campus and serve as a bridge between the Duke University community and the Francophone world. DFS plans to hold themed events—such as movie screenings, culinary tastings, and general social events that foster the francophone culture! Additionally, the group also plans to invite distinguished and accomplished individuals to participate in an upcoming Speaker Series. These presentations will revolve around francophone related topics and expose francophone perspectives. In the long-run, DFS endeavors to create a reliable network of individuals who share a passion for various francophone cultures.


This group is already in high gear, organizing a number of events, dinners, and speaker series this semester, including with Patrick Charbonneau (Chemistry), John Martin (History), and this coming week a dinner with Philippe Lançon, literary critics, writer, and honorary member of the Dept. of Romance Studies, and artist – dessinatrice, Catherine Meurisse. For details of this dinner see their Facebook page:

Châpeau Marc, Nicole, et Noah ~ 



This Friday, March 31, we welcome our colleague from Florida State.  Prof Treacy  will talk on contemporary Algerian literature, on two controversial figures and their novels :  Daoud’s Meursault, contre-enquête (2013), a retelling of Camus’s L’étranger from the point of view of the murdered Arab’s brother; and Sansal’s 2084: La fin du monde (2015), a post-apocalyptic hellscape  in the vein of Orwell’s 1984. In both Daoud’s and Sansal’s novels, the power of the original—its place of reverence in the canon, its familiarity, its fan base—plays a powerful role in the text’s receptive and critical life.

Corbin Treacy teaches in the Dept. of  Modern Languages and Linguistics  (PhD, Minnesota,2014). His research focuses on the interplay of aesthetics, history, and politics in Maghrebi literature and film, with a particular emphasis on contemporary Algerian cultural production. His book project, The Aesthetics of Aftermath: Algerian Literature and Film in the Twenty-First Century, will be published by Liverpool University Press in 2019.

His visit has been organized by SuzanneLeMen and Camille Chanod in the Romance Studies graduate students’ speakers series in French and Francophone.

3:30-5 pm,  Languages Building 114, West Campus.



Thursday, Feb 23 Fourest will address a subject that is a favorite at Duke and in North Carolina : a passionate, controversial, and significant debate today.

Her title: “Who is Charlie? The French Model of Freedom of Speech and Secularism”    

She will speak in French and a Q& A session will follow in French and English. 5pm, Perkins Library, 217.

A famous columnist with a taste for polemic, Caroline Fourest is a militant writer on topics dealing with feminism and the separation of church and state in France. She is a co-founder of the journal ProChoix (feminist, anti-racist and secularist). Fourest has written numerous essays on far right politics, fundamentalism and French secularism. Currently, she is a columnist at Marianne and teaches “Multiculturalism vs. Universalism” at Sciences Po in Paris. Her background in journalism spans several well-known journals, radio shows and documentaries. From 2004 to 2009, she worked at Charlie Hebdo, and she also ran a column for five years in Le Monde. Until last year, she was a radio presenter for France Culture, and with the French Parliamentary Channel (LCP), she has produced several documentaries against prejudice. Fourest is also known as an activist. She received several prizes such as the National Prize for secularism, the Political Book Prize, the Jean Zay Prize, the Aron-Condorcet Prize, the Fetkann Prize and the Adrien Duvand Prize from the Political and Moral Sciences Academy. Her latest books Eloge du blasphème (Grasset, 2015) and “Génie de la Laicité”  (Grasset, 2016) have received wide media coverage and try to shed light on the French Republican ideal of secularism.

For an excerpt of “Eloge du blasphème” in English:

Her visit is organized by Prof. Christelle Gonthier.



5 films to brighten up your evenings in late January and February.  A lineup  including prize-winning films, such as Fidelio; the work of major directors, the celebrated Alexandr Sokurov, the experimental Eugène Green; and a favorite classic.  All films will be introduced by faculty, and feature a Q & A.  Check out the attached program for details of the free screenings at Griffith Theater.

We are delighted to welcome our colleague to campus, and to work with her during these challenging times in Tunisia, as Stateside.  She joins us as the first Fellow in the new program, “On the Digital & Documentary Frontline: Citizen Journalists in the Middle East, North Africa Region,” co-sponsored with  the Middle East Studies Center, the Islamic Studies Center, and launched with the Franklin Humanities Institute and Office  of the Vice President of Public Affairs and Government Relations Office.  Her visit is also funded by French Cultural Services.

 After 10 years working in international law, for the Red Cross in the Maghreb, and for the International Criminal Court in the Hague, Amna Guellali  returned home to Tunis, committed to participating in the democratic movements of building a new Republic. She is director of the bureau of Human Rights Watch, the NGO’s base in Tunisia and Algeria.

 In addition to working with our students in the French seminar, “History of Free Speech: France, the Francophone world, USA”,  she will be participating in several lunchtime events  — on social movements, journalism, and ongoing political and legal debates in Tunisia.

Friday, the 11th, 12-1:30  at the Smith Warehouse, with the Human Rights Center and The Africa Initiative;

Tues. the 15th, 12-1:30 at the Rubenstein Library 153, with our co-sponsor the Middle East Studies Center;

Wed. the 16th,  12:30, with the Law School, room 4045.

]Please join us for these stimulating discussionsamnaguellali

ce 13 novembre 2016

November 13th, 2016 | Posted by in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

dukejardinjuinOn rend hommage à tous ceux au Stade de France, au Carillon, au Petit Cambodge, à la Bonne Bière, à la Belle Équipe, au Comptoir Voltaire et au Bataclan; on s’en souvient aujourd’hui aussi à Duke.

The week of Oct. 24th, the Center is primed to welcome our colleague, Emilie Picherot who teaches Comparative Literature [Arabic, Spanish, French], at the Université de Lille 3. We are, in fact, welcoming her back to Duke since she taught in Romance Studies a number of years ago.

Prof. Picherot is the lead investigator in the new project of our Francophone Digital Humanities Initiative, one extending our work into Arabic and Romance Languages.

“It is impossible to understand the particular relationship of France to the Arabo-Muslim world”, Picherot writes, “without returning again to the earliest tradition of studying Islam in the fifteenth through seventeenth centuries. The evidence of this practice is given concrete form by collections of Arabic manuscripts put together carefully by several scholars of the Arab world – and this long before Antoine Galland, and his contemporary Pétis de la Crois, the French scholars of the Arab world usually identified as the first.”

The goal of the FDH project, “An Early Arabic Library,” is to begin giving access to these manuscripts in digital form. Picherot chooses, first, the only aljamiado manuscript in the French National Library, BNF, Arabic 774. It’s a miscellany that demonstrates the specific writing practices of the crypto-Muslims of Spain during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries who had to hide their identities for their safekeeping.

During her visit, Emilie Picherot will launch the new project, presenting it and discussing the importance of this particular manuscript for research into Franco-Arabo-Muslim relations.

Wednesday, Oct. 26, noon-1:30, the Studio, The Edge, Bostock Library. Join us for a lunchtime discussion.




She will also combine forces with Helen Solterer to present a seminar on a related topic.

“A True to Life Muslim? Knowledge of Islam & the Muslim World – The Case of Honorat Bovet in Pre-modern France.”

An opportunity to delve into the debate – who knew what when? And to consider early chapters in this long, rich, conflicted encounter between cultures.

Tuesday, Oct. 25, 4:45, Rubenstein Library 350.

This afternoon, 5 pm, at the Franklin Humanities Institute, presentation of this prize-winning novel, in French and English.

Christophe Boltanski’s first novel, La cache, is a literary mystery structured around the rooms of one family’s Parisian mansion. The novel follows the floor-plan of the house, getting closer and closer to “la cache,” the hiding place where Boltanski’s grandfather hid from the Nazis for the duration of the German occupation of Paris. For almost two years, his own children were unaware that he was still upstairs. Balanced between bemusement at the bohemian habits of his family and empathy for them as survivors, Boltanski presents the story in short episodes, using humor to approach how they lived with their history. As critic Marie-Laure Delorme wrote in Le Journal de Dimanche, “His sentences are surrounded by mysterious silences like enemies who must be fought off. How to tell the story of his family when it’s famous, when it’s wedded to the country’s nightmares, when it can’t be categorized, when privacy envelops it from head to toe like an invisible cloak.” [Laura Marris]cboltanski