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May 24, 2018

First-year French students create bulletins (‘newsletters’)

To give our first-year students a chance to explore a topic of their choice and/or to express themselves in writing in a personal way, we decided to create a “bulletin” for each level and have students contribute the articles!  Please enjoy perusing these first editions, and look for more to come in the future!

Send any feedback you have to Connie Dickey, the first-year French Supervisor at




May 21, 2018

A Great Visit by Frieda Ekotto

On May 15th and 16th, U Michigan Professor Frieda Ekotto visited the UO and gave a talk titled “Reading Aimé Césaire in the Era of Black Lives Matter” as part of the RL Spring Series “Thinking Authenticity.”

Professor Ekotto generously gave us a copy of her latest project, a 90 min. documentary film Vibrancy of Silence: A Discussion with My Sisters, produced and filmed by Professor Ekotto and Marthe Djilo Kamga, which highlights the creative achievements of six Sub-Saharan African women in various intellectual and artistic fields (in French with English subtitles).

Stay tuned for a screening in the fall!

May 15, 2018

Thinking Authenticity Series: Frieda Ekotto

Please join us to hear Professor Frieda Ekotto, our third speaker in the RL Spring Series “Thinking Authenticity”:

3-5 pm: Willamette Hall 100
“Reading Aimé Césaire in the Era of Black Lives Matter”

It’s a large room, let’s fill it! Please forward the announcement!

Frieda Ekotto is the Chair of the Department of Afro-American and African Studies at the University of Michigan. She is the author of several important scholarly articles, monographs and novels, which address questions of race, colonialism and slavery in the Francophone world. She has also focused on postcolonial feminisms from an African perspective and is currently working on a manuscript “Vibrancy of Silence: Women Loving Women in Sub-Sahara Africa.” Her latest monograph, What Color is Black: Race and Sex Across the French Atlantic, represents a groundbreaking intervention in the field of critical race studies. Her lecture will focus on the Negritude movement and discourses about blackness in the Francophone Atlantic world.

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May 14, 2018

RL Undergraduates Receive Prestigious Awards

Two of our outstanding Romance Languages majors received impressive recognition from the awards committee. Please congratulate these students for their wonderful contributions to the UO community and their impressive academic efforts. We are very fortunate to have such inspiring undergraduate students in our department.

Sara Espinosa, RL (FR & SPAN) & Journalism (PR) major Vernon Barkhurst Sophomore Award: (THE sophomore award) This award is given to a sophomore who best exemplifies academic excellence, university service and good citizenship. This award was established in 1984 in honor of Vernon Barkhurst, who served as Director of Admissions, Associate Dean of Students, and Conduct Coordinator.

Cecelia Barajas, RL (FR & ITAL): Junior Award – Gerlinger Cup (one of only five awards given to juniors): The Gerlinger Cup, first presented in 1914, is the gift of the late  Irene Gerlinger, a member of the University Board of Regents from 1914 to 1929. The cup is awarded to the outstanding junior woman selected for scholarship, leadership, and service to the university.

Congratulations, Sara and Cecelia!


April 19, 2018

Cinema Francophone: Masculin Féminin (1966, Jean-Luc Godard), April 25th at 5:30 p.m.

Join us for a mini-film series, en français! Wednesday evenings at 5:30 p.m., Willamette 110. All francophiles and cinephiles are welcome!

April 25th: Masculin Féminin (1966, Jean-Luc Godard, France, 110 minutes).


With Masculin féminin, ruthless stylist and iconoclast Jean-Luc Godard introduces the world to “the children of Marx and Coca-Cola,” through a gang of restless youths engaged in hopeless love affairs with music, revolution, and each other. French new wave icon Jean-Pierre Léaud stars as Paul, an idealistic would-be intellectual struggling to forge a relationship with the adorable pop star Madeleine (real-life yé-yé girl Chantal Goya). Through their tempestuous affair, Godard fashions a candid and wildly funny free-form examination of youth culture in throbbing 1960s Paris, mixing satire and tragedy as only Godard can. Based loosely on two short stories by 19th century French author Guy de Maupassant: “La femme de Paul” and “Le signe”.

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April 11, 2018

RL Orientation Session on April 17th

Want to declare a minor or major? Have questions on our different tracks or some of our requirements? Come meet us, have some coffee and cookies!

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April 10, 2018

Cinema Francophone: Bienvenue à Marly-Gomon (2016, Rambaldi), April 11th at 5:30 p.m.

Join us for a mini-film series, en français! Wednesday evenings at 5:30 p.m., Willamette 110. All francophiles and cinephiles are welcome!

April 11th: Bienvenue à Marly-Gomon (2016, Rambaldi).

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*All films will be in French with English Subtitles. Questions? Contact Natalie Brenner at

October 1, 2017

Prof. Djiffack publishes a two-volume book entitled ‘Mongo Beti and his Critic”

“Mongo Beti and his Critic” derives from Djiffack’s three-volume edition published by Gallimard, ‘Mongo Beti: Le Rebelle I, II and III (2007, 2008), an anthology of Beti’s non-fiction writing. This two-volume book involves the compilation, annotation and editing of texts responding to Mongo Beti. This publication aims to serve as reference book for scholars interested in more comprehensive and contrasted views on colonial and postcolonial studies, gender issues and democracy, African studies and ethnicity, third-world problems and international studies, cultural identities and poverty in Africa.”Mongo Beti and his Critic” is a unique data base for a sound analysis of Mongo Beti, both as a writer and an activist. Thanks to Editions CLE (Yaounde), this sum of responses to Beti’s provocative ideas is currently available as a whole body of texts, and, Djiffack hopes, will stimulate new thinking in the field of colonial and postcolonial studies.


January 30, 2017

Moore on the invention of graphic rhetoric

Associate Professor of French Fabienne Moore was awarded a 2017 College of Arts Summer Stipend fellowship for the Humanities and Creative Arts to work on a new project, titled “Gustave Doré’s Histoire de la Sainte Russie (1854): The Invention of Graphic Rhetoric or the Artist At War.”

Back in 2012, Moore had received an Oregon Humanity Center Teaching fellowship and a Sherl K. Coleman and Margaret E. Guitteau Teaching Professorship in the Humanities to develop an experimental course in French on War in French Comics. After teaching the course every other year, Moore wanted to contribute to the scholarship on the emergence of comics (bande dessinée) in Europe and study one of its pioneers, Gustave Doré (1832-1883). While Doré is famous for his spectacular illustrations of masterpieces of world literature (Rabelais, Dante, Tasso, Cervantes etc.), his early “comic strips” are hardly known. “I view his Histoire pittoresque, dramatique et caricaturale de la Sainte Russie (1854) as a tour de force of what I call ‘graphic rhetoric.’ Borrowing from Rabelais’s supersized characters and humor, from Jacques Callot’s minute illustrations of war miseries in the XVIIth century, from Töpffer and Cham’s recent innovative comic strips and albums, and from his contemporary Honoré Daumier, a brilliant, twenty-two year-old Doré pioneered a new telling of history to appeal to a broad audience: it caricatured both the form and the substance of traditional historical discourse, and it offered a humorous, subjective interpretation of the enemy Russian Empire, all the while exposing the fundamental absurdity of war—its politics and its violence. With the phrase “graphic rhetoric” I wish to capture Doré’s invention of a large, complex rhetorical system imbricating text and image, in other words a language meant to persuade via a playful exchange between figures of speech and visual figures: metaphors, comparisons, hyperboles, synecdoques, ellipses, etc., are translated into images where from figurative they often become literal.”

Moore will conduct her research in Paris and in The Doré collection of the Bibliothèque des Musées in Strasbourg, which houses all of the original editions of Doré’s works, as well as hundreds of engravings of XVIIth century artist Jacques Callot, one of Doré’s source of inspiration. She will present her work this fall at the “Bibliography Among the Disciplines” conference in Philadelphia, PA in a panel on “Graphic Representation.”

February 24, 2016

Sheela Hadjivassiliou wins scholarship to spend a semester in Lyon, France

In August of 2015, I was selected as the Graduate Teaching Fellow that would spend a semester in Lyon, France. I was awarded the Beall Scholarship which enabled me to undertake this fantastic experience. I am grateful to the Romance Language department and to the faculty that supported my candidacy for this position. I was aware of this unique program for graduate students studying French at the University of Oregon, but I had no idea that I would be able to profit from this opportunity so early on in my PhD program. I completed a Masters in Romance Languages (French and Spanish) in June of 2015, and I embarked upon my adventure in Lyon for the first term of my doctoral studies.

Sheela Hadjivassiliou in Lyon, France.

Sheela Hadjivassiliou in Lyon, France.

While in Lyon, I lived five minutes from the Rhone River and would often walk along the river path in the evening. My studio was centrally located and I took full advantage of Lyon’s excellent public transportation system to explore the city. My job was twofold: similarly to being a GTF at the University of Oregon, in Lyon, I was both a student and an employee. As an employee, I worked as the graduate assistant for the Centre Oregon. I assisted the undergraduate students with practical details—getting cell phones, calling utility companies, etc.—and I helped the students navigate the French university system and create their class schedules. I also planned cultural events that we attended as a group. I met amazing people, saw incredible museums, gazed at fantastic architecture, shopped at open air markets, and scoured the city trying to find the best boulangerie. I was in Lyon with a remarkable group of undergraduates, and together we went to the theater, film festivals and museums. We saw plays that ranged from the Geneva Ballet’s futuristic interpretation of the Nutcracker to a modern playwright’s interpretation of classical Indian epic mythology.

Sheela in Lyon with students

Sheela in Lyon with students

As a student, I pursued my own research interests while taking classes. I study India’s French colonial past; specifically, the history of the French colonization in southern India. My research interests include: Indian diaspora and migration studies, Indian identity in Caribbean and Mauritian Literature and dramatic stagings of “India” in contemporary French theater. I attended two plays that portrayed “India”—one at the Lyon Opera and the other at a small experimental repertory theater— and my current project involves analyzing the manner in which both of these productions choose to represent “India”. I examine temporal and spatial factors in conjunction with other formal theatrical elements, and I consider structures of meaning in both plays to interrogate the ways in which “India” becomes homogenized and exoticized.

Although I had many positive and wonderful experiences in Lyon, I was also there during the November 13th Paris attacks. I felt somewhat removed geographically—Lyon is two hours south of Paris—yet the attacks impacted my time in France and marked a change in my experience as an American student studying abroad. The attacks themselves were horrific. They seemed to provoke reactions that were divisive and unifying—bringing out both the best and the worst among the people I encountered in both Lyon and Paris. On one hand, I witnessed disturbing and violently racist reactions to the attacks—fear inspired Islamophobia that I found more terrifying than the attacks themselves. On the other hand, I was able to witness extraordinary unity in the face of extreme violence. For example, I attended a vigil at the Lyon 2 campus at which the university president called for tolerance and peace. He condemned the senseless violence of the attacks while at the same time stressing the diverse and vibrant nature of the university’s student body. I travelled to Paris two days after the attacks and was struck by the surreal sense of normalcy superimposed upon a city in mourning.

Memorial for the Paris attacks in Lyon

Memorial for the Paris attacks in Lyon

Despite the attacks and subsequent state of national emergency that prohibited large public gatherings, I was able to experience Lyon’s famous festival of lights, if in a much more subdued form. Instead of four days of music and festivities, the 2015 Fête des Lumières was observed just the night of the 8th of December. Thousands of candles were placed in window sills, they were carried through the streets and then many were placed in front of a memorial to the victims of the attacks.

I am now adjusting to life back on campus at the University of Oregon and pursuing my first year of coursework as a doctoral student. I am currently the secretary of the Romance Language Graduate Student Association (RLGSA), and together with my colleagues, we are planning our annual Works in Progress event and various other professionalization workshops for the graduate student body. It is only now that I have returned to Eugene that I can fully appreciate the wealth of both cultural and linguistic experience that I gained in Lyon.

lyon beaujolais 1

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