The Center for French and Francophone Studies



The Center for French & Francophone Studies was born in the fall of 2000, in two offices on the second floor of the beautiful new John Hope Franklin Center on Erwin Road.  I was  first director, assisted by Shannon Mullin (now Shannon Satterwhite).   Hervé Ferrage, the university attaché for the French Embassy, Elie During at cultural services in New York, and Cécile Peyronnet, cultural attachée in Atlanta, were key people in launching our enterprise and linking us to the French Embassy network of “centres pluridisciplinaires.”  We had significant start up support from the Provost and President—Peter Lange and Nan Keohane.   I still remember the enormous notebook we assembled on French studies at Duke,  the many planning meetings, and the excitement of the first events: The Tournées French film series at Reynolds Theater; the bi-lingual lunch series (Paol Keineg on poetry, Philip Stewart on translating Lee Smith, Anne Quinney on J.B. Pontalis); visiting scholars, writers, and filmmakers (Marc Chenetier,  Hélène Merlin, Roger Grenier; Olivia Rosenthal, Martin Winckler, Raoul Peck);  visiting journalists, in tandem with the DeWitt Center (Fabrice Rousselot from Libération);  a faculty exchange with the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (six week residencies by Christophe Prochasson, Nathan Wachtel, Christian Jouhaud); a student exchange with Sciences Po (in tandem with EDUCO); performances by the Théâtre de Folle Pensée from Saint-Brieuc;  and on the Paris side, events with Duke-in- Paris alums organized by Amy Tondu .  Our second year of operations brought the tragedy of 9/1/1, the Iraq war, and the challenge of promoting French culture in an age of Freedom Fries.   We had a mission!  Our work of those first years was to put into place structures and traditions that could be adapted as our ties to the francophone world, our intellectual curiosity, our institutional needs changed.    I was told by an experienced administrator that if a center could remain vital through 3 directors, 3 “generations”, it was solid:   pari tenu!

Alice Kaplan, Founding Director

now John M. Musser Professor of French, Yale University.




Michèle Longino,  Romance Studies, Director


Notable Lecturers and Collaborators:


Étienne Balibar(Columbia University), Pascale Casanova(EHESS/CSE), Alain Dubos, Laura Downs(European University Institut, Italia), Susan George, Christian Jouhaud(EHESS/CRH), Eric Michaud(EHESS/CEHTA), François Pouillon(EHESS/CHSIM), Henry Rousso, Gisèle Sapiro(EHESS/CSE), Michael Sheringham(All Souls College, Oxford),

Visiting Journalists

Hélène Hadas-Lebel, Michel Kajman, Philippe Lançon, Dominique Roch, Steven Smith




Hans van MieGroet, Art, Art History and Visual Studies, Director


  Notable Lecturers and Collaborators:

Le Fresnoy: Studio national des arts contemporains, Alain Fleischer


“Dans la Nuit, des Images”: New Media Exhibition, Grand Palais, Paris




Laurent Dubois, History and Romance Studies, Director

Deborah Jenson, Romance Studies,  Director (2010-2011)


Notable Lecturers and Collaborators:


Jean Hébrard(EHESS/CRBC), Achille Mbembe(Wits Inst. for Social and Economic Research, University of the Witwatersrand,South Africa), Pap Ndiaye(Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris), Lilian Thuram


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