French Alumni Enews Fall 2021

French Alumni Newsletter, Fall 2021

The French Program at UNL wishes you and your loved ones a happy, restful holiday season. We are grateful to our friends and alumni like you who continuously support our department and our program. This semester has been a great one, and we look forward to what Spring will bring! Bonnes fêtes!

Undergraduate Student News

It is with great pleasure that we announce the winners of the 2020-21 Jane Dein Award for excellence in French studies: Lorenzo Catalano, Misaki Sandridge-Nishihara, Randa Ismail, Hannah Ross, and Kaley Wilcox. This award is generously funded by way of a legacy from Jane Dein, who was a longstanding and beloved member of our French program. It’s intended to reward students of exceptional ability, ambition, and engagement. Congratulations to all!

Cause for celebration: Our faculty-led summer study abroad program in Angers, led by lecturer Françoise Agena, is scheduled to take place this summer, after two years off due to the pandemic! The Angers program has long been a vital experience for lower-level undergraduates seeking an immersive and intensive experience in France, and we couldn’t be happier that it’s back.

As usual, a number of our graduating majors have gone on to take part in the TAPIF program, by which they live in France for an academic year and teach English in French secondary schools. This year TAPIF accepted Hannah Ross, who is teaching in Annonay (Ardèche); Madeleine Grant, who is in Falaise (Normandy); and Margaret Morgan, in Créteil (outside of Paris). Jon Askey was accepted to Poitiers, but declined in favor of the Nalcap program in Madrid; Jake Althouse also declined in order to pursue a Master’s degree in war studies at King’s College, London.

Graduate Student News

In spring 2021, Eddie Schooler completed his MA thesis, a translation of Marion Guillot’s 2018 novel C’est moi, with a view to publishing it. He’s currently working as a field representative for the Nebraska Association of Public Employees.

Michael Ageyamang (MA 2021) is currently studying in the University of Georgia’s doctoral program in French.

Neida Tornel (MA 2021) is a second language acquisition teacher for citizenship applicants at Baker Ripley in Houston.

Natalie Kammerer and Devin Moulton (both MA 2019) have published their translation of the first chapter of Ken Bugul’s novel Rue Félix Faure in the online Two Lines Journal (available here).

Faculty News

We’re delighted to announce that Julia Frengs was awarded tenure and promoted to the rank of associate professor in the spring of 2021! Professor Frengs joined our department in 2016, specializing in the literature and culture of the Francophone world, with a special emphasis on Polynesia. Please join us in congratulating her on this important milestone!

She was also the organizer of the thirty-eight annual 20th and 21st-Century French and Francophone Studies Colloquium (on the theme of “Parler la terre”), which was to be held in Lincoln in the spring of 2020. Needless to say, COVID-19 interfered with those plans; the conference still went on, in reduced form, by Zoom, and the proceedings have now been printed in a two-volume special edition of the French contemporary literature journal SITES.

Erica Schauer has been named assistant professor of practice as of fall 2020. A specialist in 19th-century literature and culture with interests in queer theory and ritual, Professor Schauer joined us a few years ago as a lecturer having just received her PhD from the University of Virginia. The French section is nothing short of overjoyed that her excellent work has been recognized with the professor of practice title!

Many thanks to department chair Nora Peterson and lecturer / French language coordinator Catherine Johnson for all the work they devoted to the question of an increase in salary and job security for lecturers and part-time faculty. Through their efforts and those of others, the university has adopted policies that recognize the contribution and the importance of non-tenure-track faculty and a wage increase that makes that recognition concrete.

In the fall of 2020 the department enthusiastically nominated Johnson for the College of Arts and Sciences’ Mentoring Award, in appreciation of and admiration for her exceptional work with our graduate teaching assistants.

Peterson and Jordan Stump recently collaborated on an edition / translation of late 17th and early 18th century fairy tales written by women, and their work will be published imminently as a two-volume set in the Modern Languages Association’s “Texts and Translations” series: Prodiges d’Amour (edited by Nora Peterson) and Miracles of Love (translated by Jordan Stump).

Stump was awarded the American Literary Translator’s Association’s 2020 Prose Translation Prize for his rendering of Marie NDiaye’s The Cheffe (Knopf, 2019). He’s currently at work on a translation of NDiaye’s most recent novel, Vengeance Is Mine (also to be published by Knopf).

Emeritus Professor Tom Carr’s research has continued unabated in the years since his retirement; notably, his A Touch of Fire: Marie-André Duplessis, the Hôtel-Dieu of Québec, and the Writing of New France was published in 2020 by McGill-Queen’s University Press.

People Are Talking

At the invitation of Julia Frengs, Dr. Valérie Orlando gave a lecture by Zoom last spring as a part of the “World of Migrants” series. Professor Frengs has invited two more scholars / writers to speak at UNL this academic year: the Tahitian playwright and scholar Titaua Porcher, who joined us by Zoom this fall, and the translator Jeffrey Zuckerman, who will visit our campus in the spring. Dr. Porcher discussed her 2018 play, Hina, Maui et compagnie with Dr. Frengs’s class and the entire department. Jeffrey Zuckerman’s visit is geared towards giving students interested in translation a non-academic perspective on how to navigate the translation profession.

In May, Frengs gave an invited talk via Zoom to the “laboratoire de recherches ‘Langue, littérature, imaginaire et esthétique’” at the Université Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah-Faculté des Lettres et Sciences Humaines in Fès, Morocco. This talk was entitled “Des littératures décoloniales environnementales en Océanie.” In March of 2022, she will travel to South Carolina to give an invited talk to the students of Wofford College. Her talk, entitled “Beware Moana: Aquatic Toxicity in French-Speaking Oceania” will also address Oceanian decolonial ecocritical literature, a literature that dares to seek justice by narrating nuclear colonialism and the accompanying environmental racism.

In October, Erica Schauer gave a talk at the Nineteenth Century French Studies Colloquium in Washington D.C., co-sponsored by Georgetown University and George Washington University. The talk, entitled “Code Switching and the Power of the Polite: Grandes Horizontales and Grandes Dames of Late Nineteenth-Century France,” contributed to the larger topic of the conference—Power—and centered on the use of etiquette by the upper-class courtesans who captured the imagination of the French masses throughout the Second Empire and into the Third Republic.

Also in October, doctoral student Alex Claussen presented a paper on immobility and disappointment called ‘Staying at Home: Failed Travel Narratives in Early Modern France’ at the Sixteenth Century Society Conference in San Diego.

In November, Nora Peterson gave a public talk entitled “#MeToo in the Renaissance,” connecting the roots of today’s conversations about sexual violence to French Renaissance images and texts (well, just one text: Marguerite de Navarre’s Heptaméron). The talk considered the many narratives and representations of sexual assault, from the heroic rape narrative to limited justice and victim-blaming. And yet 21st-century readers can also gain hope from what it means to read stories of assault from the Renaissance. This was a public lecture, held in the City Campus Union Auditorium and livestreamed via Zoom, as part of the College of Arts and Sciences’ Inquire series “Pain and Pleasure.”