Research Colloquium

On Friday, November 4th, the Department of French & Italian, in conjunction with Contemporary French Civilization, hosted its inaugural Student and Faculty Research Day Colloquium.

Interested in participating next semester? Contact Dr. Provencher with any inquiries. 

Presenters from November 2016 included:

1:00-1:45 pm

Dr.  Annette Joseph-Gabriel, “Digital Mapping for Teaching and Research”
This workshop will cover three mapping programs: Neatline, Story Maps, and Google Tour builder. We will look at sample projects for each and learn ​how to create simple maps. By the end of the workshop, attendees will have a sense of how they may incorporate these mapping programs into their teaching and research. Attendees are encouraged to bring a laptop for hands on engagement. 

 

 

1:45-2:15 pm

Tara Hashemi (Ph.D. Candidate in SLAT), “Why and How to Use Multimodal Texts in Foreign Language Classrooms”

Multimodality is part of our everyday language use, especially nowadays, when most of our reading materials are accompanied by images and videos. I will argue that teachers should incorporate these multimodal texts into their language lessons using a critical language awareness approach. In fact, Fairclough proposes that critical "language awareness should be fully integrated with the development of practice and capabilities" (1995: 226) in language education. Some texts can be seen as small cultural packets that are shared, reshaped, and re-shared within bounded communities. I will demonstrate how to find and select these materials and how to incorporate them into foreign language lessons.

 

2:15-2:45 pm

Dr. Denis M. Provencher, “New Directions in Language, Sexuality, and Postcolonial French and Francophone Studies”

Over the last fifteen years, I have conducted fieldwork and ethnographic interviews with self-identified same-sex desiring men in France.   Their life stories can be read at times through the Anglo-American lens of a gay-identified, Western coming-out narrative with a telos of “progress” that involves moving from the closet to being “out.” At the same time however, a queer linguistic approach can help us to read against the grain of several norms and hence provide us with a broader understanding of their lived experiences.  In this presentation, I present empirical language data from my interview with “Tahar” one of my self-identified same-sex desiring Maghrebi and Maghrebi-French interlocutors to illustrate how his speech acts are situated at the crossroads of multiple discourses, temporalities, identities, and traditions. As we will see, Tahar’s story involves being “Beur,” “being homosexual,” and “being fat.”  This subject speaks back against the empire, against heteronormativity, and against corporeal norms.  While a postcolonial critique based on a “postcolonial identity” (looking at ethnicity, or religion for example) or a linguistic analysis based on “gay identity” could be helpful here, my point is that a queer linguistic analysis -- one that takes a position counter to the normative broadly defined by considering simultaneously multiple subaltern subject positions could provide a better approach for those of us working in an interdisciplinary French and Francophone studies context. 

 

 

2:45-3:00 pm Coffee Break

 

 

 

 

3:00-3:30 pm Stefano Maranzana (Ph.D. Candidate, SLAT), “Living Through the Colony: Revisiting the Italian American Immigration Experience”

A great Italian immigration novel has never been written, argues Emilio Franzina (2001). Yet, numerous “chapters” have been composed and dispersed in an assorted “metatextual diaspora” comprised of memoirs, letters, autobiographies, articles and short stories (Franzina, 2001, p. 605). This talk will introduce one of these chapters: Camillo Cianfarra’s Il diario di un emigrato [The Diary of an Immigrant] (1904), a rare “testimony from within the immigrant community presented expressly for that community” (Marazzi & Goldstein, 2011). This autobiographic novel reveals a young Italian intellectual striving in New York’s Little Italy - aka “the Colony” - at the end of the 19th century. The Diary is imbued with a sense of anxiety caused by the protagonist/author’s efforts to negotiate his conflicting feelings of shame and honor. The same emotional dissonance permeated the lives of the millions of Italians who were affected by this Italian exodus: those who observed it in their homeland, those who emigrated, as well as those who returned. Cianfarra’s Diary serves as a lens through which we can come to a deeper understanding of the Italian American experience.

 

3:30-4:00 pm Francis Abugbilla (M.A. Candidate in French), “The Migration Crisis and European Dilemma”

This paper seeks to examine how migration crisis and geopolitics have played a role in undermining the philosophy of borderless Europe and the future of the Schengen reality. A positivist paradigm to social science research is adopted to explain the causal factors that threaten the Schengen reality. The migrant crisis has threatened the foundation of European Union (EU) and Schengen cohesion, social and cultural fabric as a supranational organization, leaving it divided. The paper posits that the actions of Russia as a regional power in the current migratory crisis that threatens to destroy the EU’s relevance in international affairs is realpolitik. Russia, an ally of the Syrian regime, incessantly bombard rebel held territories leaving on its wake mass exodus of citizens of these areas to populate Europe. The main questions of the research are, given the challenges in the wake of the migratory crisis, what is the EU response and is there any future for Schengen? The position of the paper is that the EU is at the risk of disintegration if its leadership poorly manages the refugee crisis.

 

 

 

4:00-5:00 pm Dr. Beatrice Dupuy, “Digital Social Reading: Textual Meaning Design as Collaborative Activity”

Reading is still often conceptualized as a private act during which the reader individually interprets a text and decides whether to share or not his/her interpretation with others in an open forum. However, the increased availability of web-based reading platforms is not only changing what it means to read but also to annotate texts by extending the centuries-old practice of marginalia as a form of reader engagement with digital texts in the context of meaning creation through tags, linkage of documents, and multimodal commentary. What this is, is a new literacy practice called Digital Social Reading (DSR) (Blyth, 2013, 2014) which makes it possible to discuss texts collaboratively without time and space constraints. Interest in applications of DSR in the foreign language (FL) classroom is growing. Although more empirical research is needed to better understand FL learners’ interaction with texts and with each other in DSR activities and how these can foster FL literacy development, current findings are promising. In this workshop, I will briefly review some key findings, introduce several DSR platforms, their features and affordances, and engage the audience in a digital reading activity. Please bring a laptop or tablet.

 

Interested in participating or otherwise being involved next semester? Contact Dr. Provencher with any inquiries. 

Hosted in Conjunction with