The Future of French and Francophone Studies: The Status of Literature

Friday, September 12, 2014  9:45am - 5:30pm East Gallery, Buell Hall (Maison Francaise)


Image Copyright Metropolitan Museum of Art: "The Garden Façade of Bagatelle" by Jean Démosthène Dugo


Maison Francaise

French and Francophone Studies

Heyman Center for the Humanities

The “future of the study of French” has a long past. Since the creation of language departments in American Universities at the end of the nineteenth century, the importance of the field has had to be reaffirmed at crucial junctures. The recent phasing out of the French department in a major state university (alongside Italian, Russian, classics and theater) and the threat faced by other French departments have been the occasion of many reflections on the importance of learning French and other foreign languages. These discussions have been framed by the more general debate on the “crisis of the humanities” (itself a recurring topic since the nineteenth century), the diverse efforts of American universities to build a “global campus,” and major innovations in the ways humanities scholars conduct their work, including the “digital humanities”.

While our reflection is undoubtedly connected to these issues, this workshop, and another at a later date, will not pose the question of “why study French?” but rather “how to do so in the twenty-first century?” What directions do we want the field of French and Francophone studies to take in the next ten years and how should the training of undergraduate and graduate students change to reflect these ambitions?

The workshop is by invitation only. Inquiries and RSVP: Lindsey Long at [email protected].


  • Antoine Compagnon

    Blanche W. Knopf Professor of French and Comparative Literature

    Columbia University

  • Tom Conley

    Abbott Lawrence Lowell Professor of Visual and Environmental Studies
    and of Romance Languages and Literatures

    Harvard University

  • Laurent Dubois

    Marcello Lotti Professor of Romance Studies and History

    Duke University

  • Dan Edelstein

    Professor of French and History

    Stanford University

  • Stéphane Gerson

    Professor of French

    New York University

  • Suzanne Guerlac

    Professor of French

    University of California at Berkeley

  • Maurice Samuels

    Betty Jane Anlyan Professor of French

    Yale University

  • Eliza Zingesser

    Assistant Professor

    Columbia University

  • Elisabeth Ladenson

    Professor of French and Comparative Literature

    Columbia University

  • Emmanuelle Saada

    Associate Professor of French and Romance Philology; Director of the Center for French and Francophone Studies

    Columbia University

  • Derek Schilling

    Professor of French

    Johns Hopkins University

  • Andrew Sobanet

    Associate Professor of French

    Georgetown University


By Semester