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Foreign Languages & Literatures Events Archive

Fall 2013 - Spring 2014

  • Films on the Green
  • Films on the Green @ MIT, a free and open French film series is co-presented by the Cultural Service of the French Consulate, MIT France (MISTI) and MIT Foreign Language and Literature. All movies will be screened in French with English subtitles.

    Snap Four, a jazz manouche group, will be performing prior to the film screenings! Since emerging out of the Boston gypsy jazz scene in 2011, their music has been called engaging, delightfully rich, and infectious. Their interesting arrangements and fresh new take on this lively genre have been opening ears throughout New England. Make sure to come early to check out their music!

    For more information, please contact

    Friday, September 13, 2013
    The Young Girls of Rochefort (Les Demoiselles de Rochefort)
    This film, directed by Jacques Demy, features Catherine Deneuve and Gene Kelly. This 1967 French musical film takes place over the course of one weekend in the seaside town of Rochefort, where a fair is coming to the town square. Two young girls, twins, Delphine and Solange, both musically talented, long to find true love. As it so happens, Etienne and Bill arrive in town, and need the twins help with a song and dance-number. The Young Girls of Rochefort was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Original Score (Original or Adaptation).

    Saturday, September 14, 2013
    8 Women (8 Femmes), directed by François Ozon.
    This dark comedy revolves around an eccentric group of eight women as they gather to celebrate Christmas in an isolated, snowbound manor. They unanticipatedly discover Marcel, the family’s patriarch, dead with a knife in his back. Similar to Clue to some extent, every woman is trapped in the house and becomes a suspect, each having her own motive and secret. Danielle Darrieux, Fanny Ardant and Isabelle Huppert star in this 2002 adaption.

    Sunday, September 15, 2013
    Love Songs (Les Chansons d’amour)
    By Christophe Honoré, this film is a contemporary musical, officially selected for the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. Three young French lovers express themselves through musical numbers, attempting to find a balance. Suddenly, a fourth person enters the relationship and passions surge. Starring Louis Garrel, Ludivine Sagnier and Clotilde Hesme.

    Date: September 13-15, 2013
    Time: Live Music - 6:45 PM, Films - 7:00 PM
    Location: Kresge Lawn

  • Katsura Sunshine
  • Japanese Rakugo comic story-telling in English

    Sunshine is the first-ever Western Rakugo storyteller in the history of the “Kamigata” Rakugo tradition, based in Osaka, and only the second ever in the history of Japan.

    Rakugo is a 400-year-old tradition of comic storytelling in Japan. A minimalistic performance art, Rakugo features a lone storyteller dressed in kimono, kneeling on a cushion, who, using only a fan and a hand towel for props, entertains the audience with a comic monologue followed by a traditional story.

    Co-sponsors: Consulate-General of Japan in Boston, MIT Foreign Languages and Literature

    Date: Wednesday September 25, 2013
    Time: 7:30 PM
    Location: 32-123 (Stata Center)

    Free and open to the community!

    For more information, please contact

  • Solta a Língua
  • Come practice your Portuguese speaking skills in a relaxing setting. Improve yoru pronunciation, build up your vocablulary and enjoy one hour of fun learning about the Lusophone cultures.

    Free and open to the community. Brazilian lunch will be served.

    Co-sponsors: Portuguese section of MIT Foreign Languages and Literatures and MIT-Brazil

    Date: Thursday September 26, October 24, and November 21, 2013
    Time: 1:15-2:15 PM
    Location: 14E-304

  • The MIT Research Seminar in French and Francophone Studies

  • The Foreign Languages and Literatures section is pleased to announce the opening of The MIT Research Seminar in French and Francophone Studies. RSFFS aims to bring together MIT faculty, instructors, and graduate students interested in the study of French and francophone cultures across disciplines.

    Each semester, leading American and international scholars in the field of French and francophone studies will present their research. RSFFS will also be a space for discussing current research projects by MIT faculty, instructors, and graduate students, as well as recent readings and translations.

    If you want to contribute yourself, or discuss a specific reading or theme, please contact: Professor Bruno Perreau (

    For more information, please contact

    Program for Fall 2013

    Being gay-friendly in Park Slope and Le Marais: a Comparative Study of New York and Paris
    Professor Sylvie Tissot (Universithy of Paris 8)

    Same-sex marriage became legal in France in May 2013. Large protests against gay marriage erupted despite opinion polls revealing a growing acceptance of homosexuality. Tissot compares two neighborhoods—Le Marais in Paris and Park Slope in Brooklyn—to examine “gay-friendliness.” To what extent are gay-friendly attitudes shared in these communities? What underlies these attitudes? To what extent have they become the social marker of a specific social layer?

    Sylvie Tissot is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Paris 8. Before studying gay-friendliness in Paris and New York, she did fieldwork on gentrification and upper middle class culture in Boston, and on urban policies in the outskirts of Paris. Her most recent book, De bons voisins (Good Neighbors. Researching Upper Middle Class Progressives), was published in French in 2011 and will be published in English in 2014.

    Date: Monday September 23, 2013
    Time: 4:15 PM
    Location: Cabot Room, Busch Hall, Harvard University

    French Discourses about Jewish Memory in the 1980s and 90s
    Professor Carolyn Dean (Yale)

    This talk will address the way that French intellectuals and journalists on both the Left and Right used debates about Nazism and Stalinism to address the question of Jewish memory in the wake of the “Vichy Syndrome” the trials of Klaus Barbie and Paul Touvier, and fears of the emergence of a “new anti-Semitism.”

    Carolyn J. Dean is a Professor of History at Yale University who specializes in the cultural and intellectual history of Europe as well as in gender and sexuality studies. She is the author of several books, including The Frail Social Body: and Pornography, Homosexuality, and Other Fantasies in Interwar France (Berkeley, 2000); The Fragility of Empathy after the Holocaust (Ithaca, 2004), and most recently Aversion and Erasure: The Fate of the Victim after the Holocaust (Ithaca 2010).

    Date: Thursday October 3, 2013
    Time: 4:00 PM
    Location: 14E-304

    A Transatlantic History of Urban Underworlds
    Professor Dominique Kalifa (University Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne)

    Dominique Kalifa is a Professor of History at the University of Paris I (Sorbonne), where he is director of the Center for 19th-Century History. He specialises in the history of crime, transgression, social control, and mass culture in 19th and early 20th France and Europe. His talk will present his latest book: Les Basfonds. Histoire d'un imaginaire (2013). He is also the author of Biribi. Les bagnes coloniaux de l'armée française (2009), Crime et culture au XIXe siècle (2005), Naissance de la police privée (2000), L'Encre et le Sang. Récits de crimes et société à la Belle Époque (1995). Talk in English.

    Talk co-sponsored by the Foreign Languages and Literatures Department at MIT and the French study group, at the Center for European Studies, Harvard.

    Date: Friday November 22, 2013
    Time: 2:00-4:00 PM
    Location: CES Cabot Room (Center for European Studies, Harvard University, 27 Kirkland St, Cambridge, MA 02138)

  • Borders Research Initiative: Gender, Race, and Illegitimacy in American Derivative Citizenship Law -- Past and Present

  • Kristin Collins (Visiting Professor of Law, Yale Law School and Professor of Law, Boston University)

    On three separate occasions in the last thirteen years, the Supreme Court of the United States has considered whether gender-asymmetrical statutes governing parent-child derivative citizenship – jus sanguinis citizenship – violate constitutional gender-equality principles. When a child is born outside of the United States to an unmarried American parent or parents, those statutes significantly limit the ability of American fathers to secure citizenship for their children, while providing American mothers with a nearly unfettered ability to do the same. Lawyers, judges, and historians have labored to explain why Congress has drawn such sharp lines between the citizenship rights of American mothers and fathers. This paper takes a fresh look at that question, and demonstrates that one important and overlooked reason for the stubborn persistence of the gender-asymmetrical, marriage-based regulation of jus sanguinis citizenship was officials' felt need to enforce the racially nativist policies that were a core component of American nationality laws until 1965. Despite the centrality of race in the regulation of jus sanguinis citizenship, the racial sociolegal dimensions of the law's development have been routinely obscured. Recuperating this history provides a window into the complex origins and enduring legacy of racial status laws in the regulation of citizenship today.

    Kristin Collins joined the faculty of Boston University School of Law in 2006 and is currently the Sidley Austin - Robert D. McLean Visiting Professor at Yale Law School. Professor Collins' research interests include legal history, equal protection law, citizenship law, federal courts, the history of federal regulation of the family, and modern federalism jurisprudence.

    Date: Monday October 21, 2013
    Time: 12:00-1:30 PM
    Location: E51-275

    Sponsors: MIT Program in Women's and Gender Studies, MIT Foreign Language & Literatures's Center for Bilingual/Bicultural Studies (CB/BS) and MIT History.

    For more information, please contact

  • CB/BS presents: Transpacific Crossings 2.0: Asian Americans Choosing Careers in Asia

  • Edward J. W. Park
    Professor of Asian Pacific American Studies, Loyola Marymount University.

    Why are growing numbers of Asian Americans migrating to Asia to live and work? How do we understand manifestations of this phenomenon from “Kimchi G.I.’s” in Seoul to “Sea Turtle” business consultants in Shanghai and Indian American IT experts in Mumbai? Changes in the global economy and government policies have led increasing numbers of Asian Americans to migrate to Asia to live and work.

    Prof. Park’s presentation will focus on three case studies drawn from Beijing, Seoul, and Tokyo to address the opportunities, challenges, and predicaments of Asian American life in Asia.

    Shigeru Miyagawa
    Professor of Linguistics and Kochi-Manjiro Professor of Japanese Language & Culture at MIT

    Date: Wednesday November 6, 2013
    Time: 4:15 PM
    Location: 32-155

    Sponsors: Center for Bilingual / Bicultural Studies (CB/BS), MISTI Korea, MISTI China

    For more information, please contact

  • Chris Marker: Guillaume-en-Égypte In-Gallery Chat

  • Curious to learn more about Chris Marker: Guillaume-en-Égypte from the unique perspective of a member of the MIT community?

    Join MIT Assistant Professor of French Studies Catherine E. Clark for a lunchtime chat about the exhibition. Learn about Professor Clark's research into the visual culture of Paris during Marker's lifetime.

    In-Gallery Chats connect one object (or two!) from the List's exhibitions to an aspect of research, practice, or interest from the MIT community.

    Catherine E. Clark joined FL&L as Assistant Professor of French in 2013. She holds a Ph.D. in History from the University of Southern California, an M.A. in French Cultural Studies from Columbia University, and a B.A. in History with High Honors from Swarthmore College. Her current book project brings together her interests in French history and visual culture in a social and material history of the uses of photographs as historical documents of Paris. This history of municipal and popular visual histories spans from the late nineteenth-century creation of municipal photo archives and early historical exhibitions to more recent illustrated history books and amateur photo contests to document the city's past. Clark's research has received numerous grants including a Bourse Chateaubriand from the Embassy of France in the United States and a grant from the Peter E. Palmquist Memorial Fund for Historical Photographic Research.

    Date: Thursday November 21, 2013
    Time: 12:00 PM
    Location: MIT List Visual Arts Center (E15)

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