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].