two men standing in art galleryAs the director of the FFRI, it is my pleasure to report that this past year the FFRI has been active and productive through organization, sponsoring of varied activities involving several UF departments, centers, and units.

The FFRI 2017-2018 annual research project, led by Dr. Blum as Principal Investigator, was titled “Deaf Cinema” and dedicated to the study of closed captioning, audio description, and the examination of silent film. In Fall 2017, Dr. Blum and Dr. Richard Burt (English/Film) organized a symposium, which brought together scholars Jean-François Cornu (“Deafness’ in subtitled and Dubbed Versions”), Dr. Michel Chion (“Intertitles or captions in some recent neo-silent films: Pastiche or Reinvention”) and Dr. Peter Szendy, (“Phrasing the Moving Image”). In Spring 2018, Dr. Blum invited Dr. Esther Heboyan who gave a talk titled “La traduction malaisée de l’américain vers le français dans America America d’Elia Kazan”.

Spring 2018 saw the closure of the 2013 interdisciplinary initiative “French in contact” led by Dr. Blondeau and Dr. Sow. The project “French in contact” involved collaboration between LLC department, Linguistics, the Center for African Studies and the Université Paris Descartes, Université Rennes 2 and the University of Ottawa. Focusing on the concepts of “intersection” and “contact” in French, the project examined cultural productions and language practices across multiple locations including Haiti, Montreal, Dakar and Paris. As part of the project, in Fall and Spring 2018, Mireille Tremblay (Université de Montréal, Raymond Mougeon (College Glendon, Toronto), Gudrun Ledegen (Rennes 2), Isabelle Léglise (Université La Réunion) came to UF to give seminars and lectures. On March 21, Yolaine Parisot (Paris Créteil) gave a talk titled “Rumeurs de faille. Fictions politiques d’Haïti: fenêtres d’un monde réellement possible”). The project “French in contact” has been instrumental in consolidating faculty and students’ exchanges between UF and Rennes 2. It also initiated new collaborative network and opportunities to facilitate faculty and student mobility with Paris Créteil.

I am also very pleased to mention that the 2016-2017 annual project “Aftermath and confrontations” led by Dr. Gayle Zachman is still ongoing. Under the aegis of the project, Dr. Bernadette Cailler has organized the visit of creative writer, researcher and professor Michaël Ferrier. Ferrier gave a lecture titled “Français de souche, Français de papier, Français de branche” and presented Kenichi Watanabe’s documentary The World after Fukushima.

In addition to the annual research projects, the FFRI has contributed to several events on campus. It contributed to the annual Carter conference organized this year by Dr. Nancy Hunt and myself at the Center for African Studies. This year conference was dedicated to the relation text/image and included the visit of France based visual artist Didier Viodé and Congolese novelist Fiston Mwanjila. The FFRI contributed to the remarkable Harn Museum exhibit “Becoming a Woman” and sponsored Thomas Hale (Penn State) and Carla Calargé (FAU) who respectively gave talks on Françafrique (Francophonie and Françafrique) and Lebanon (“Fragmented Memories of a Haunting War: Anamnesis and the Francophone Cultural Production of the New Millennium”).
The details of some forthcoming events are on our website.

Sarah Pugliese“I am a graduate student from Rennes 2, and in order to complete my studies and further develop my personal interests and professional aspirations, I am doing an internship at the French department of the University of Florida during the 2018 Spring semester. After a bachelor’s degree in English and Spanish languages, literatures and civilizations, I am currently in my second year of my master’s degree titled ‘Les Amériques,’ a multilingual study of the American continent in its literary, historical, social and cultural dimensions. My internship at UF has been a truly rewarding experience so far. The campus is very pleasant and dynamic, and the students are welcoming and engaging. It is therefore very interesting for me to discover a different academic system than the one I know in France, and to gain a professional experience while being in a research environment. For example, I assist Dr. Blondeau for the sociolinguistic project ‘Le Français à la mesure d’un Continent’ and I help the France-Florida Research Institute to organize presentations and other events. I also joined the French Club and offer individual French classes. The intercultural interactions and the various activities I get to take part in are exciting and I am glad I was able to have this opportunity.”

 rennes “My name is Kéziah. I am a graduate student in Literature at Rennes 2. I pursue my studies with a ‘Master Recherche’ in ‘Littérature Générale et Comparée,’ for which I started a research paper on contemporary literature.

“The classes in the French Department complete and further my education and my knowledge in French literature. The teaching method is pleasant as there is more interaction through small groups of class. I had also the possibility to take classes not directly about French literature, which I felt appreciable as I started my studies with two formations not only centered on French literature. Besides, studying at UF is also beneficial for my research as there are some fields of studies much more developed than in my university and France.

“I also like the campus life very much, the fact that Gainesville is a little student city. As I live on campus, I feel really immersed in the UF atmosphere, it shapes another link to the university and its area compared to my life in Rennes. There are also a lot of international students, and it is very enjoyable and enriching to be part of this wide melting of people.”

Led by Dr. Hélène Blondeau and Dr. Alioune Sow, a special project funded by the French Embassy has examined “French in contact” across multiple locations and its implications for cultural productions. During the academic year 2017-2018, we have welcomed internationally recognized scholars. In September 2017, Dr. Gudrun Ledegen, Professor of Language Sciences and Sociolinguistics at the Université de Rennes 2, gave a talk on language contact in La Réunion.


Gudrun Ledegen
Gudrun Ledegen


In addition, in March 2018, we had two interrelated lectures on French in Contact in Canadian settings. Dr. Mireille Tremblay, Professor of Linguistics at the University of Montréal, delivered a lecture on the phenomenon of language variation and change in consequence markers in Montreal, where the French language is spoken by the majority of the population. Dr. Raymond Mougeon delivered his lecture on the same phenomenon, but in a minority setting in Welland Ontario, shedding light on the effect of language contact on language variation.


Mireille Tremblay and Raymond Mougeon standing in front of Gator sculpture
Mireille Tremblay and Raymond Mougeon



Report on the Bi-Annual Meeting of the Rousseau Association (University of Florida, June 2017)

This conference was co-organized by Brigitte Weltman-Aron (LLC, UF), Peter Westmoreland (Philosophy, UF), and Ourida Mostefai (Brown University). It was sponsored, among others, by the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, the France Florida Research Institute, and the Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere.

The following report appeared first in the Rousseau Bulletin in September 2017, and is reprinted with the authorization of the author, Patrick Cox, and the President of the Association, Ourida Mostefai.

Silence, the Implicit and the Unspoken in Rousseau

The 20th Biennial Colloquium of the Rousseau Association convened on the 1st of June in Ustler Hall on the University of Florida’s charming Gainesville campus. Margaret U. Fields, the Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, provided us with opening remarks before Michael O’Dea’s keynote address. Titled “Another Rousseau, Re-imagining a Writer using his Silences,” the address situated us for an engaging weekend of presentations, reflection, and discourse on an author who is subtly sensitive to silence yet unabashedly seasoned in the realm of sensationalist statements. Pleasantly surprising and satiating Mediterranean fare followed the insightful keynote address at the evening reception. Post-salmon, the Colloquium reconvened moments later at The Swamp to indulge in more immediate waters, sampling gator bites garnished with conversation and libations.

For Rousseau, a thinker who is explicitly wary of unnecessary learning and amusement, the concept of silence can prove germane to many areas of his thought. As has come to be expected of the Association’s Colloquia, the disciplinary diversity of this year’s Colloquium allowed for panels from across an academic range. We explored silence as an authority, silence in the Observations, the politics of silence, pantomime in Pygmalion, the role of gestures in Rousseau’s theory of language, and the possibility of silence in the expression of the general will.

Friday morning began with two far-from-silent sessions on Rousseau’s quiescence. Before returning to the ethereal realm with catered Cuban cuisine that so aptly reminds of our geographical location and of the multicultural influence here, the University of Florida Library transported us deeper into the eighteenth century with an enchanting collection of manuscripts that were available to Rousseau’s contemporaries. In the Rare Books Collection’s gorgeous Judaica Reading Room, itself a testament to the silence imposed upon and the persecution of the Jewish people, we leafed through copies of Emile and The Social Contract that may very well have reached the Parisian and Genevan authorities who silenced them.

After two more stimulating panels, the evening concluded with another exceptional dining selection in Leonardo’s for the banquet, providing delicious eclectic fare. The Colloquium returned on Saturday morning with the business meeting, at which the Association decided on Stockholm University and the topic of “Rousseau and Aesthetic Experience: Art, Nature, Politics” for the 21st Biennial Colloquium, to be organized for 2019 by Maria Gullstam and Jennie Nell.

The first few panels of the day further explored silence in Rousseau’s political writings. American fare was catered for lunch before closing the conference with a handful of delightful presentations on silence in Rousseau’s philosophy of music and of art.

Amidst a weekend of outstanding presentations and discussions, only a few key points can be covered in this brief review. Masano Yamashita discussed the laconic nature of Rousseau’s writing in The Social Contract, a self-contained work that was yet intended to be part of a much greater volume, as we learn from his metatextual accounts. Her paper connected Rousseau’s minimalist textual economy in The Social Contract to his silence on the emotions throughout the text, arguing that an interpretation of the passage on civil religion must be attentive to such laconism to recognize the civil religion not as a matter of thoughtless acceptance but as a product of reason.

Peter Westmoreland seemed to respond in Saturday’s first presentation, reorienting us with emphasis on the laws of the heart in The Social Contract and grounding us in a more literal interpretation of Rousseau’s words. Rather than directing us to a facility in detaching meaning from their words in Rousseau’s works, he suggests that Rousseau speaks both from the heart and to the hearts of his compatriots.

Adam Burgos’ paper concordantly gave preponderance to the laws of the heart for Rousseau and, moreover, established silence as an authoritative tool of the Legislator, who preserves society’s mores by remaining silent on pernicious truths. The Legislator, the tutor in Emile, and the individual moral agent must be contextually sensitive when imparting truths that might belie the ideals of the social contract, of natural education, and of morality, respectively.

Reflecting on a full and fulfilling conference on Rousseau that eschewed silence in practice, I am happy to have spent the weekend enriching my understanding of Rousseau in the company of fellow Rousseauists and am tremendously grateful to the hosts — Brigitte Weltman-Aron, Peter Westmoreland, and Ourida Mostefai — for preparing a phenomenal meeting.

Closed Captioning, Audio Description, and the Reinvention of Silent Film

The one-day symposium included three presentations and a roundtable involving the speakers, UF faculty and graduate students in Film studies. It was organized by Dr. Richard Burt, English Deprtment of English, and Dr. Sylvie Blum-Reid, Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures. It took place on 17 September 2017.

Closed Captioning, Audio Description and the Reinvention of Silent Film brought together three prominent French film theorists and musicologists who discussed their scholarship on the latest development in the field of cinema. Closed Captioning (CC) and audio description (AD), a process of adding text on television or video and film screen, are becoming more and more a part of everyday life for everyone. The symposium engaged with different programs, departments and scholars at the University of Florida and our partner institutions in France. It involved students and faculty from the Department of English and the Film and Media Studies program, with the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures (Dror Abend-David) and the translation program. This area spans from what Michel Chion has called “Deaf Cinema” or Silent Cinema to the present “Dolby Stereo era.” The topic of the conference opened up and generated multiple questions and debates regarding cinema, texting, sound, silence, noise, foreign languages, listening and our roles as active spectators. It constituted a platform for further collaboration and discussion with the partner institutions and other film historians in the United States who have worked on sound, music and subtitling in cinema.

Conference Speakers

Michel Chion teaches at several institutions in France and currently holds the post of Associate Professor at the University of Paris III: Sorbonne Nouvelle. Chion is a composer of musique concrète, a filmmaker, an associate professor at the Université de Paris, and a prolific writer on film, sound, and music. His books include The Voice in Cinema, edited and translated by Claudia Gorbman, (New York: Columbia University Press, 1999); Film, A Sound Art and Audio-Vision: Sound on Screen. Film: A Sound Art. (New York: Columbia University Press, 2011); Audio-Vision: Sound on Screen, New York: Columbia University Press, 1994; Sound: An Acoulogical Treatise (Durham: Duke University Press, 2016); and Words on Screen, edited and translated by Claudia Gorbman, (New York: Columbia University Press, 2017). Chion gave a talk on Skype.

Jean-François Cornu is a professional translator specializing in subtitling and the translation from English into French of books on cinema and art. A former Senior Lecturer at the University of Rennes-2, France, he is now an independent film researcher. In 2014, he published the monograph Le doublage et le sous-titrage: histoire et esthétique [Dubbing and Subtitling: History and Aesthetics] (Presses universitaires de Rennes). He is a co-editor of the e-journal L’Écran traduit. For more information on Dr. Cornu, please see this filmed interview in the Journal of Specialised Translation and this review in “Le Spectaculaire”, 2014.

Peter Szendy is Professor of Philosophy at the Université de Paris-Ouest-Nanterre-La Défense. Szendy is also a musicologist. His many books include Listen: a history of our ears, with a foreword by Jean-Luc Nancy, (Fordham University Press, 2008); Philosophy in the Jukebox, (Fordham University Press, 2011); and Phantom Limbs: On Musical Bodies (Fordham University Press, 2015).

Esther Heboyan, associate professor of American literature and film at the University of Artois, Arras-France, visited the University of Florida for two presentations on March 12 and March 14, 2018. She is a professor, a translator (Turkish/English/French), and a creative writer.

Dr. Esther Heboyan’s visit allowed French and Francophone Studies to develop University of Florida contacts that will become integral to the forthcoming international exchange program with University of Artois.

Dr. Heboyan’s first talk, “La traduction malaise de l’américain vers le français dans America America d’Elia Kazan/The uneasy translation from American to French in Elia Kazan’s America America,” took place in the context of the current class on “Translation and Writing” (FRE 4420 #01ED and FRE 6466 #01FB) Writing in French/Les mots pour l’écrire, spring 2018) offered in LLC. The lecture attracted French faculty and students in French interested in the newly reorganized UF Translation Certificate, housed in the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, and interested in the scope of translation studies as it branches out into international film subtitling. Prior to her talk, Dr. Heboyan visited my seminar and spoke with students for an hour and a half, addressing their questions about writing and translation as well as the world of editing and publishing. Subsequently, the class transported itself to a larger room for her “official” talk. The topic of her talk was especially concerned with subtitling in films and the inadequacies of translation. This domain is pertinent for our students who are oftentimes watching international films without any understanding the subtleties and pragmatics of translation and the requirements of subtitling for the big screen. This topic is still current in the digital age. On top of this, some of our students are destined in their future careers to branch out into translation jobs, or careers that involve writing in their second or third language – French.

Esther Heboyan on campusThe second presentation involved her reading one of her short stories, and several poems, with a question-answer session. This talk was well received and provoked a stimulating exchange and debate with the guest speaker. It was located in the Alachua County library, downtown. Two student-journalists were present and asked questions that were relevant to her background in journalism and creative writing. A professional photographer was on site. Both talks were open to the larger community, and several organizations had been tapped for this. Heboyan’s visit has been widely publicized to members of the Alliance Française of Gainesville and faculty at the Gainesville High School, different branches of the Alachua County Library; UF’s Center for Gender, Sexualities, and Women’s Studies Research, UF’s International Center, UF’s Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere, UF’s Creative Writing program, UF’s Department of English, and UF’s Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, as well as the Miami French Cultural Services at the French Embassy. All were informed of the dates of her lectures through posters/flyers and electronic mailings, as well as websites and Facebook pages. The editorial staff of Delos, an international journal of translation, was present for both talks, and had invited her to join the board of their journal prior to her arrival.

All these events required some form of official poster production, and distribution. The event was subsidized by a French embassy grant, the France-Florida Research Institute, and the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures.

Theresa Antes


Erin Davis

Since joining the program in Fall 2017, I have been teaching French 1134, Accelerated French Review. The transition from raising a family to graduate school has required adapting to a challenging schedule combining teaching and my own academic endeavors. A supportive network of advisors, professors, and experienced teaching assistants has made the process enjoyable. I appreciate the guidance provided by the program, but also benefit from a comfortable degree of autonomy in developing my own teaching style and lesson planning.

In terms of my own academic pursuits, the program has allowed me to be creative. I am delighted to combine my interests in architecture and interiors with French literature, particularly from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to work with extremely knowledgeable professors who share my interests — from Bastide’s Rococo fantasy in La Petite Maison to Zola’s pretentious urban mansions in La Curée.
I look forward to spending a month in Paris this summer conducting research for my thesis, which will focus on the manifestation of domestic architecture and interiors in literature, especially as they relate to the sweeping socio-economic changes during the Second Empire. I am also interested in exploring how various modes of literature treat the relationship between the domestic environment and issues of morality and moeurs.

Corrin Fleming

Before coming to Gainesville, Corrin graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and participated in TAPIF, teaching English. During her time at UF, Corrin has most enjoyed teaching French. She has taught at the 1000 level, and is currently enjoying teaching 2220! She hopes to influence students to open up to a new language and culture, and ultimately to study abroad! As her experiences abroad have been formative, she feels strongly that they will be for her students as well. Corrin has also enjoyed learning about francophone communities around the world, and hopes to visit them in the future! Graduation is set for May 2018, and afterwards she hopes to find a position teaching French. Corrin also loves film and poetry, and has been inspired by her courses to continue writing and translating.

Jennifer Kramer

It is hard to believe that my second year of the MA program is already approaching its end. Reflecting on my experience here at UF in the French department, I have experienced tremendous growth, not only in my studies, but as a teacher. I am currently teaching FRE 1131 (for the third time), and while being a teaching assistant is demanding, it is always rewarding to hear from former students who have decided to study abroad or further their studies in French. I continue to work on my thesis with the help of Dr. Will Hasty, who has given great guidance as a medievalist. My thesis compares two popular revolts of 14th century France and England, as recorded in Froissart’s Chroniques. I hope to attend a conference this summer, as well as a paleography workshop in preparation for a Ph.D. program in history or medieval studies.

Kelly Wiechman

In June 2017, I attended an intensive French language course offered through the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi with financial support from the University of Florida, and in July, I presented a paper in Martinique at the annual Conseil International d’Études Francophones (CIÉF) conference entitled “L’Onomastique française en Caroline du Sud” with financial support from the FFRI. The title of my dissertation is “Refugees and Exiles: Francophones in South Carolina 1562-1810,” and I am planning to graduate this August.

I am currently working as a full-time adjunct at the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina, teaching French at the beginning and intermediate levels. I serve as a member of the College of Charleston’s interdisciplinary Linguistics Studies Minor Steering Committee as well as their interdisciplinary Linguistics Studies Minor Scholarship Committee. Over summer 2018, I will participate in the College of Charleston’s Distance Education Readiness Course, which will enable me to teach courses online. In November 2018, I will be presenting a paper in New Orleans at the American Council of Quebec Studies’ biennial conference titled “The Acadians in South Carolina.”