MSSU France Semester

Lectures and Presentations

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Printmaking from the French Avant-Garde Printmaking from the French Avant-Garde
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday - Friday
Aug. 28 through Sept. 22, 2006
Spiva Art Gallery on campus
Admission: free

 Printmaking from the French Avant-Garde is an exhibit drawn from the Arkansas Art Center collection of prints. It includes work by French artists of the 19th and 20th centuries. Avant-garde refers to those in the forefront of new artistic ideas associated with Modernism. The work is an exploration also of a variety of printmaking techniques. Etchings, aquatints, and lithographs will be among the print processes on view.

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Negotiating the Mainstream: The Cajuns and Creoles of Louisiana
9:00 a.m., Monday, Aug. 28, 2006
Webster Hall Auditorium
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. Barry Jean Ancelet

This presentation examined the history and development of Louisiana’s native French-speaking communities. It addressed the social and cultural development of Louisiana’s Cajuns and Creoles, as well as the linguistic and pedagogical issues involved in the effort to preserve their versions of the French language, especially since the establishment of the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana in 1968, which launched the so-called French renaissance movement.

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Deep Meanings in Small Places: Social and Community Values in the Oral Tradition of French Louisiana
11:00 a.m., Monday, Aug. 28, 2006
Webster Hall Auditorium
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. Barry Jean Ancelet

This presentation explored the ways in which traditional stories express a community’s sense of itself through reflections and illustrations of its social values. Motifs common to older animal and magic tales, and humor strategies of ubiquitous jokes shift in interesting and important ways to reflect specific cultural and social values in Louisiana French versions. Historical tales can also reflect the community’s social values in significant ways. A close examination of a few tales from Louisiana French oral tradition illustrated the deep meanings they can convey about the storytellers’ sense of place and the social values of that place.

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Cajun Music and Zydeco as Social Barometers
9:30 a.m., Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2006
Webster Hall Auditorium
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. Barry Jean Ancelet

This presentation traced and illustrated the history and development of Cajun music and zydeco through recorded excerpts. Both music forms share considerable repertoire and stylistic influences, yet each retains its distinct identity. They also serve as effective barometers of their respective societies, indicating the effects of the pressures that have come to bear on them.

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Against the Tide (film)
11:00 a.m., Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2006
Webster Hall Auditorium
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. Barry Jean Ancelet

This presentation featured the documentary film produced by Zachary Richard, Barry Jean Ancelet, and Carl Brasseaux and directed by Pat Mire for Louisiana Public Broadcasting. Before the film, there was a brief discussion of the often problematic image of Cajuns and Creoles in previous films. Afterward, there was a brief discussion of this cinematic effort to take control of the storytelling process.

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L’Histoire de France Pour les Nuls (French History for Dummies), or
French History Made Easy, While You Eat
12:00 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2006
University Java in Spiva Library
Admission: Pick up free lunch ticket in
Webster 337C at least 24 hours in advance

Presenter: Dr. Paul Teverow, professor of history

A working knowledge of the whos, whats, and whens of French history may help you get more out of the France Semester programs. In this PowerPoint presentation, Dr. Teverow focused on 10 (well, maybe 11) “turning points” over the past 2000 years in what eventually became the country of France. From the conquests of Julius Caesar to France’s role in founding the European Union, he examined the crucial victories, defeats, and choices that contributed to important changes over time in France’s boundaries, forms of government, culture, and place in the world. And all in 45 minutes, max!

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The French Revolution as Viewed
Through Both Ends of the Binoculars
10:00 a.m., Monday, Sept. 11, 2006
Webster Hall Auditorium
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. Michael W. Howell

This presentation began with a distant view showing the broad outlines of the era and its significance. Then it took a close look at one small but fascinating episode in 1792. It is the story of one man’s struggle to get his pay from the government, but it also involves war, insurrection, massacre, civil war, clashing revolutionary heroes and ideas, branches of government at loggerheads, and an argument over whether everyone in the country should speak the official language.

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Eating Out: Restaurants and Fast Food in France
9:30 a.m., Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2006
Cornell Auditorium in Plaster Hall
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. Robert Tatham

France is famed for its “haute cuisine.” Thirty years ago French employees enjoyed a two-hour lunch break. As often as not, workers would return home for a cooked meal with their families before resuming work in the afternoon. Eating out meant a gastronomic delight, leisurely consumed and invariably accompanied by a bottle of good, carefully chosen wine. This presentation told the story of how McDonald’s penetrated the French market, comparing some American fast food methods with European practice. How did McDonald’s conquer France? What went right, what went wrong? How did the French public react, how did McDonald’s adapt to France? And how did French business react to the challenge? Have other chains (such as Burger King, KFC, or Subway) been able to follow in McDonald’s footsteps? Is France succumbing to the global trend toward fast food or have the French managed to preserve their café and restaurant culture? The story of fast food in France illustrates many of the dilemmas a multinational may face when breaking into new markets overseas.

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How Attractive are The Northern French Alps?
11:00 a.m., Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2006
Cornell Auditorium in Plaster Hall
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. Robert Tatham

The Alps have several images. For centuries, the mountains were avoided by travellers and were obviously a harsh, isolated region of high peaks, steep slopes, and isolated valleys, where life was tough at the best of times. (The media still often project a negative image with reports of avalanches, blizzards, or fatal accidents.) The reputation of the Alps changed dramatically during Victorian times, and mountain resorts now attract millions of tourists who come to marvel at the wonders of nature or to enjoy the sports facilities. The local economy, however, is not so well known and the aim of this presentation is to study various aspects of that economy. What do mountain dwellers do for a living today? How have traditional industries fared? To what extent have the service industries developed? Dr. Tatham concluded by attempting to measure whether the Northern French Alps are today an attractive region whether for students, business, or leisure activities.

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Downright Swine and Proud of It
12:00 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2006
University Java in Spiva Library
Admission: Pick up free lunch ticket in
Webster 337C at least 24 hours in advance

Presenter: Dr. Ann Wyman,
assistant professor of political science

“Downright Swine and Proud of It” was how a returning French sea captain once described Americans to his fellow Frenchmen. Similar sentiments have been expressed about Frenchmen by Americans over the years. But citizens of the two nations have also agreed on some important issues and cooperated to achieve some major victories, not the least of which is the American fight for independence from England. So what is the U.S.-France relationship like today? Dr. Wyman looked at a few of the interesting issues on which we and the French agree and disagree — symbolically, culturally, economically, and militarily.

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French Cinema: What Do You Know About It?
9:30 a.m., Thursday, Sept. 14, 2006
Webster Hall Auditorium
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. Alan Singerman

The French share the distinction for the invention of cinema at the end of the 19th century. France was the most important producer of films in the first 15 years of world filmmaking before yielding to the Americans during World War I. French cinema again took center stage in the 1930s with the “Poetic Realism” movement, after a decade of expressionist, Dadaist, and surrealist experimentation, then took the film world by storm with the New Wave in the 1950s and 60s after weathering the German Occupation in the 1940s. This presentation included a discussion of the high (and low) points, with emphasis on some masters and masterpieces along the way.

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Social Alienation in Contemporary French Cinema
11:00 a.m., Thursday, Sept. 14, 2006
Webster Hall Auditorium
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. Alan Singerman

For the past 20 years French cinema has become increasingly interested in the phenomenon of marginal existence, individuals who are forced to or choose to live on the fringes of society. Agnès Varda’s Vagabond (1985), for instance, offers the portrait of a female vagabond in the south of France. Matthieu Kassowitz’s Hate (1995) chronicles one day in the violent existence of three young disaffected youth in the Parisian suburb, while, more recently, Eric Zonca’s The Dreamlife of Angels (1998) offers the story of two young women living on the economic and social edge in Lille in the north of France. What do these films tell us about the relationship between individuals, or whole communities, and contemporary society? What do they tell us about ourselves?

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Cinderella Man and Other Children’s Stories
12:00 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2006
University Java in Spiva Library
Admission: Pick up free lunch ticket in
Webster 337C at least 24 hours in advance

Presenter: Dr. Doris Walters, professor of English

Who wrote (or retold) the most famous fairy tale in the western world — Cinderella? What do we know about him and why he retold this and other stories such as Red Riding Hood and Sleeping Beauty? What great King ruled France in 1697, when the Contes were published, and what was Perrault’s connection with him? What are some 20th century children’s books translated from the French? What do French children read today? Dr. Walters gave some answers to these questions.

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Meters, Curies, Rabies = France
12:00 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2006
University Java in Spiva Library
Admission: Pick up free lunch ticket in
Webster 337C at least 24 hours in advance

Presenters: Dr. Gerald Schlink, professor of biology, and Dr. Michael Garoutte, associate professor of chemistry

Within a few city blocks of each other in Paris, you can observe the beginnings of a critical part of science, i.e. measurement. The standardization begins with a meter stick embedded in a wall for all to use and progresses to the use of crystals and changing resistance to measure radioactive decay. And, the journey ends at the biological use of spinal cords to enumerate the cause of rabies. This talk covered the roots of these concepts.

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What’s Dada/Surrealism?
9:30 a.m., Thursday, Sept. 28, 2006
Webster Hall Auditorium
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. Mary Ann Caws

Following from the negative force of Dada, the positive force of Surrealism took hold. That is the usual way of looking at it; this presentation looked at paintings and photographs and texts from both movements, from Man Ray, Dora Maar, Picasso, Masson, and other artists, and from the writers Tzara, Eluard, Breton, Desnos, and others.

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Picasso’s Problem
10:00 a.m., Friday, Sept. 29, 2006
Webster Hall Auditorium
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. Mary Ann Caws

Picasso had so much: incredible talent, many women, so many collectors and galleries opening for him. What underlies all that energy, and is that all to the good?

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The Role of Politics and Culture in French Business
11:00 a.m., Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2006
Cornell Auditorium in Plaster Hall
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. Mary McKinley

No matter which political party is in office, France is essentially a socialist state. In this discussion, Dr. Mary McKinley covered the positive and negative impacts that this form of government has on doing business. For example, in international rankings of national competitiveness, France is falling farther and farther behind, largely because there is a strong tendency for everyone to wait for the government to “do something.” Entrepreneurism is stifled and change happens slowly. At the same time, government intervention in protecting the rights and responsibilities of both employee and employer makes working in French companies exceptionally fair and rewarding.

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Cultural Adjustments, or How to Survive Without Ice Cubes and Air Conditioning
9:00 a.m., Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2006
Webster Hall Auditorium
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. Harriet Welty Rochefort

The “other,” especially if he or she is foreign, is always strange. We tend to judge foreigners in terms of good, bad, right, or wrong rather than simply different. Adjusting to another culture is, therefore, difficult because it’s all about learning to accept people for what they are on their own terms as opposed to what we want them to be, which generally is just like us! Harriet Welty Rochefort knows this isn’t an easy task, which is why she wrote her first book, French Toast, a tale of Franco-American cultural differences, which are legion. Living in another culture forced her to examine her own prejudices and discover that all societies have their strong points and their weak ones. For instance, when it comes to customer service and convenience and nice people and starting a business, Ms. Rochefort would rather live in the States any day. But when it comes to health care, wonderful food, “chic” and style and the quality of life, France for her is number one. Her conclusion, as an American who has lived for three decades in France: Vive la France! Vive l’Amérique!

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French Education, or Going to School the French Way
11:00 a.m., Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2006
Webster Hall Auditorium
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. Harriet Welty Rochefort

If the purpose of the American educational system is to turn out well-rounded, positive-looking students who’ve excelled both in the classroom and extra-curricular activities, the purpose of the French educational system is to inculcate knowledge — period! The French educational system is indeed very different — not better or worse — than our American one. Harriet Welty Rochefort, whose two Franco-American sons were educated in French public schools, gave an overview of the way the French school system is organized, from the maternelle to terminale to the grandes écoles. She discussed how much a college education costs (which may make you or your parents want to take the next flight to France), why French high school students are among the only ones in Europe to study philosophy, and why some — not all — students flocked to the streets to protest a jobs law last spring. She concluded with a discussion of some of the advantages and disadvantages of a French education as compared to an American one and touch on some of the challenges French educators face today.

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The French Public Education System — Ah to Zed
12:00 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2006
University Java in Spiva Library
Admission: Pick up free lunch ticket in
Webster 337C at least 24 hours in advance

Presenters: Dr. William Edwards, assistant professor of teacher education, and Dr. Gloria Payne, professor of teacher education

Dr. Edwards and Dr. Payne presented an overview of the French public education system beginning with the national preschool program, the ecole maternelle, through compulsory education in the ecole primaire, the ecole college, and the equivalent of the American high school, the ecole lycee. Selected comparisons and references to American public education were made throughout the presentation. The presentation also discussed the highly prestigious grandes écoles. These exclusive schools are a form of higher education outside the public university system. The grand écoles are generally focused on a single subject area, such as engineering, and are highly selective in student admission. Traditionally the grand écoles have produced most of France’s managing directors and executives.

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Corporate Rules and Working Habits in France
9:30 a.m., Thursday, Oct. 5, 2006
Cornell Auditorium in Plaster Hall
Admission: free
Speaker: Philippe Rochefort

Do the French really work? What are the operating rules? Philippe Rochefort, a Frenchman who recently retired after a long career as an executive in large French companies and an international bank, discussed the major differences between France and the U.S. and tried to explain the “French paradox”: a strong economy, with highly productive technologically advanced companies, coupled with a very different set of social values and a worldwide reputation for its “Art de Vivre.” Mr. Rochefort pointed out and discussed the major differences identified by business experts (Baudry, Hoffstede, Hall) to show how distinct the two peoples are. He gave a concrete overview of the French “social model” through an anatomy of a French paycheck, commenting on the various social benefits that are legally paid by employers to finance social transfers and services.

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Before the Parade Passes By: Erik Satie and Musical Modernism
1:00 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 5, 2006
Webster Hall Auditorium
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. George Keck

On 18 May 1917, during the darkest days of World War I for the French, Satie’s modernist ballet, Parade, premiered in Paris. With a scenario by Cocteau, sets and costumes by Picasso, choreography by Massine, and music by Satie, the work provoked the second Parisian musical scandal of the decade and established Satie’s reputation as the leader of the musical avant garde in France. Apollinaire declared that Satie’s score was “so clear and simple that one will recognize the marvelously lucid spirit of France herself.” In addition, this work brought together the many currents that shaped musical modernism in France in the first three decades of the twentieth century — rejection of the romantic language of Wagner and even that of Debussy, while embracing the new crowd of American tourists and exalting bourgeois lifestyles and values. The work assaults the audience through a new language that unites several artistic media in a unified expression that presented a vision of the future. This lecture placed the work in its historical context and examined the influences and styles that shaped it.

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Doing Business in France
6:00 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 5, 2006
Plaster Hall 102
Admission: free
Speaker: Philippe Rochefort

What’s it like to do business in France? Philippe Rochefort, a Frenchman who recently retired after a long career as an executive in large French companies and an international bank, discussed the major differences between France and the U.S. The productivity ratios show that, although extremely different from the U.S., France has strengths. It also has weaknesses, and he discussed both. These major differences lead to a very different management style in France and in the U.S. The detailed analysis of a paycheck illustrated how the French society expresses its values: more social protection, less vulnerability to life hazards, more public services. Mr. Rochefort discussed what it is like to work for a French company and the good and bad surprises Americans encounter when they work with companies in France. He concluded with some do’s and don’ts for Americans thinking about doing business in France.

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Francis Poulenc: The Man, The Music, The Legacy
7:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 5, 2006
Webster Hall Auditorium
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. George Keck

Francis Poulenc (1899-1963) ranks among the most important composers of the 20th century. Coming to prominence in 1920s Paris during a period of great social and cultural changes, he quickly established himself as one of the leaders of the circle that formed under the influence of Erik Satie. Virtually all of his compositions were performed in public during his lifetime, most to critical acclaim, and nearly all have been recorded again and again by the best interpreters. Poulenc was fortunate in forming his style early in his career, and, although he continued to develop and to refine that style to the last composition, he never really changed his basic approach. As much as any composer in the 20th century, Poulenc’s compositions reflect his personality, the personalities of those with whom he associated, and the French culture that spawned the music. This lecture examined the influences that formed musical style in Poulenc’s compositions and revealed ways in which he fulfilled the goals for French art and culture.

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French Bashing — What’s Behind It?
9:00 a.m., Friday, Oct. 6, 2006
Webster Hall Auditorium
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. Harriet Welty Rochefort

“Why did the French plant trees on the Champs Elysées? So the Germans could march in the shade.” You’ve probably heard plenty of jokes like this about the French, particularly after France’s refusal to participate in the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. Comedians have a field day with the French (after all, they have to make a living) and the media isn’t far behind. As Edward C. Knox wrote in an article titled “The New York Times Looks at France” in the French Review, “No other national or ethnic group appears to get the same continually negative treatment in print media reserved for France and the French…If one were to substitute, for example, ‘Mexican’ or ‘Japanese’ or ‘Indian’ for ‘French,’ what would reader reaction be ?” The question is: why are the French such a convenient target? And what do the French bashers know about French history and society and culture? Harriet Welty Rochefort looked at some of the most prevalent stereotypes used by French bashers and attempted to counter them with a few badly needed…facts.

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French Food — Why It’s Revered, Respected, and Relished
10:00 a.m., Friday, Oct. 6, 2006
Webster Hall Auditorium
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. Harriet Welty Rochefort

As one American shopping in a French grocery store exclaimed: “They don’t have food — they only have the makings for food!” That comment might, in a nutshell, explain the very special relationship the French have to their cuisine. Long meals, sitting down to the table as a family, tasting instead of gulping, sipping instead of guzzling — all these are part and parcel of a French culture that respects and reveres food. But things are changing and the French are, sadly, becoming “Americanized” with McDos and Starbucks and fast food. The older generation still knows how to turn out a five-course meal, but what about the younger generation which is more used to Cokes than wine and sandwiches than blanquette de veau? Still, comparatively speaking, the French devote more time and attention to meals than we Americans do and remain maddeningly slim. How do they manage? And can this unique French attitude toward and attention paid to food and drink resist “globalization?”

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Marketing in the 25 Countries of the European Union — French Global Effects
12:00 p.m., Friday, Oct. 6, 2006
Cornell Auditorium in Plaster Hall
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. Mary McKinley

In 2004, the “United States of Europe” grew from 15 to 25 member states. It is important for Americans to understand how historical alliances among France, the different countries of the EU, and the rest of the world still matter today when doing business in France. This session looked at the problems and opportunities the expansion brought with it, including French and EU regulations on marketing and advertising, environmental concerns, and even the standardization of business education.

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Perspectives on Health Care in France
12:00 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2006
University Java in Spiva Library
Admission: Pick up free lunch ticket in
Webster 337C at least 24 hours in advance

Presenter: Dr. Barbara Box, professor of nursing

What do French cooking, French fashions, and French movies have in common? French citizens! Learn about France’s health care reform, research, and attitudes toward medicines, doctors, etc. in an condensed English version.

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City of Light and Dark: The Romantic Theatre in Paris
3:00 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 12, 2006
Balcony Lounge, Taylor Performing Arts Center
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. Felicia Hardison Londré

French Romantic drama juxtaposed strong contrasts: light and dark, heroic and comedic, and, in the words of Victor Hugo, “grotesque and sublime.” During the 1830s, the city of Paris itself embraced opposing tendencies. The theatre of the Romantic period encompassed popular pantomimes and melodramas on the Boulevard of Crime as well as high-flown poetic dramas in the subsidized theatres. Colorful personalities like Alexandre Dumas père and George Sand are part of this overview of a vibrant era.

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Jeanne d’Arc and Jean Anouilh in French Theatrical Tradition
10:00 a.m., Friday, Oct. 13, 2006
Webster Hall Auditorium
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. Felicia Hardison Londré

Twentieth-century French theatre is full of plays about Joan of Arc. Between 1900 and 1919, when Catholics were campaigning for her canonization as a saint, approximately 35 French plays were written about her. After she became Saint Joan in 1920, plays continued to be written, but they tended to emphasize qualities other than her virginity. Jean Anouilh’s Joan of Arc play, The Lark (L’Alouette, 1953), remains — along with Bernard Shaw’s Saint Joan (1920) and Maxwell Anderson’s Joan of Lorraine — one of the most frequently produced plays about her all over the world. Jean Anouilh (1910-1987) was a prolific playwright whose work may be said to epitomize 20th-century French boulevard theatre with an intellectual edge. Dr. Felicia Londré’s slide presentation intertwined these two ics in 20th-century French theatre: plays about Joan of Arc, including The Lark, and Anouilh’s contribution to the wealth of French dramatic literature and theatre.

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Law and Justice in France: Revenge of the Pink Panther?
12:00 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2006
University Java in Spiva Library
Admission: Pick up free lunch ticket in
Webster 337C at least 24 hours in advance

Presenters: Dr. Ann Wyman, assistant professor of political science, and Dr. Michael Yates, professor of political science

Dr. Wyman and Dr. Yates presented an overview of the French legal system and how it fit into the justice system of the European community. How does one become a lawyer and judge in France? How does this preparation differ from education in the United States? How does the legal system of a “civil” law country such as France compare with a “common” law country such as the United States? What is the role of the European Court of Human Rights and why is it located in France? What kind of cases get selected to be heard by ECHR justices, and what “punishment” can be applied if one is found “guilty?” Are the “Fwench” as “bumbling” as Inspector Clouseau?

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The Republique Fractured: How the French Deal with Global Influence
9:30 a.m., Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2006
Taylor Performing Arts Center
Admission: free
Speaker: Jean-Benoît Nadeau

In the spring of 2006, millions of French students and citizens protested in Paris and other cities against a law the government had proposed as part of a much-needed reform in the labor market. The government finally passed the law, but President Chirac declared it still-born. Six months earlier, thousands of disenfranchised youths, mostly from France’s North- and sub-Saharan African community, had burned thousands of cars to protest against the high unemployment and discrimination that affects them. Why do the French oppose what look like common sense reform measures while still demanding change?

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Le Divorce ou la Conciliation? France and America in a Screwball Comedy of Remarriage
7:00 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2006
Webster Hall Auditorium
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. Michael Mosher

Even before the millennium, one could speculate about the impending spiritual divorce between the U.S. and France and this was before the profound disagreements between France and America and between the populations of “old,” or Western, Europe and President Bush’s constituencies in the red states regarding the War in Iraq. The latter looked to the Europeans like an imprudent Bonapartist adventure. To its American supporters it was a matter of national security or a bold strike for democracy. But now as then one sees signs of conciliation. The relationship of the two democracies, France and America, might suggest comparison to the remarriage pairs (Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert in It Happened One Night or Irene Dunne and Cary Grant in The Awful Truth) from the classic “screwball” film comedies of the 1930s. Or does the awful truth lie elsewhere? There may be something about the American and French peoples that defeats reconciliation, something in their different circumstances, an insularity from history that comes from having recently dominated it (U.S.) versus an over-exposure to the burdens of history (France); or something in their differences of spirit, for the Americans, “puritanism,” an excess of perfectionist idealism prone to delusion; for the French, in opposition to their high Cartesian ideals, a pessimism of worldliness that leaves them stuck on the ground of past experience. There is an argument for a reversal of roles. The country with all the power should avoid using it to excess by staying more in touch with the instruction of worldly experience, even if that might flirt with the French temptation of cynicism. The smaller country should regard its position as an opportunity, recover the idealism always available in its intellectual heritage, and take flight in experiments of renewal even if that runs the risk of an imprudence that threatens in the American case to end in a uianism empty of content.

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Why France Remains Influential
7:00 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2006
Webster Hall Auditorium
Admission: free
Speaker: Jean-Benoît Nadeau

As a world power, France has undeniably been outpaced for the last two centuries. Yet somehow, the French have remained influential on the international stage. Canadian author Jean-Benoît Nadeau explains some of the reasons “France still matters,” from French diplomacy and their culture of rhetoric, to their attitude toward power, the lure of their language, the role of the State and their view of Europe. According to Nadeau, the French are the “Americans of Europe,” which explains the almost constant and false insistence on their decline.

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Study Abroad Opportunities in Information Systems and Unique Complexities You Might Encounter
12:00 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2006
University Java in Spiva Library
Admission: Pick up free lunch ticket in
Webster 337C at least 24 hours in advance

Presenter: Hartford Tunnell, associate professor of computer information science

If you are planning to study abroad you may encounter some unique difficulties in the country’s approach to education that will differ from the United States. Professor Tunnell looked at the way the French handle information systems and some of the complexities you will face.

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Can the Internet Be Absorbed Into Democracy?
The National Debate on the Future of the School System in France
11:00 a.m., Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2006
Cornell Auditorium in Plaster Hall
Admission: free
Speaker: Jean-Jacques Moscarola

Two years ago, a very large debate took place in France on the future of its educational system. Organized by the French government, the debate aimed at implementing a new law on the educational system. During the debate process digital technology was intensively used. In his introductory speech describing the debate process at hand, President Jacques Chirac claimed “I hope this debate will be exemplary in method and in scale, a milestone in the modernization of our public life.” Citizens were given the opportunity to express themselves by email or through forums; the syntheses of the 15,000 local meetings that took place everywhere in France were published online. What was the impact of this type of e-democracy? To which extent did the use of information technology improve the participation in the debate and the quality of the preparation of the law? Dr. Jean-Jacques Moscarola’s direct involvement in the team that was in charge of analyzing the content of the debate and further research based on a systematic analysis of the press articles until the publication of the law allows him to make a critical appraisal of the influence information technology as compared with more traditional parliamentary procedure or street demonstrations.

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From the Beaches to the Mountains in France — A Photo Tour of the Real France
12:00 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2006
University Java in Spiva Library
Admission: Pick up free lunch ticket in
Webster 337C at least 24 hours in advance

Presenters: Dr. John Lewis, associate professor of international business, and Stephanie Goad, international student advisor and exchange program coordinator

These world travelers (nearly 30 countries visited) presented picturesque photo impressions of why this is one of their favorite countries and show there is a lot more to France than Paris. They regale you with pictures and descriptions of many beautiful parts of France that you won’t see on a tour bus. From Normandy to Orléans (not New), via Chambéry, Annecy, and the Cévennes, these are locations the locals don’t want the tour buses to find. You’ll pick up some tidbits of history from 12th century trade caravans to D-Day. Once you’ve been there, you won’t want to go home. Ask how you can study at some of these places for real credit at MSSU prices.

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The Significance of the French Revolution
11:00 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 2, 2006
Webster Hall Auditorium
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. David Bell

Professor David Bell gave a very brief overview of the events of the Revolution, related them to significant developments in the political philosophy of the period, and compared them to the events of the American Revolution.

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The Crisis of French National Identity
7:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 2, 2006
Webster Hall Auditorium
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. David Bell

The keynote speaker for the “From Paris to the World” conference, Dr. David Bell focused on the present-day debates on national identity in France, and the tone of despair which has come to characterize them. These debates, he suggested, have centered on a series of related problems: the difficulties France has had in assimilating recent immigrant communities; the threat to its culture posed by globalization; its weakening geopolitical position, particularly vis-à-vis the United States; and its economic rigidity. Dr. Bell argued that while these factors have been important, we also need to situate this perceived “crisis” against an older story: the crisis of the “republican” form of French nationalism which was born at the time of the French Revolution, but lost most of its effectiveness in the 1960s. He concluded with some speculation about what the future may hold for France.

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French Collective Green Ethics: The Last Spark of Life in a Dead Society?
12:00 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2006
University Java in Spiva Library
Admission: Pick up free lunch ticket in
Webster 337C at least 24 hours in advance

Presenter: Dr. John Knapp, professor of geophysics

While many Americans might argue that France has become an insignificant player in global politics — making its seat on the United Nations Security Council an anachronism and often troublesome — France stands as a beacon of global moral values, arising from a mature social culture that the United States has yet to achieve. In many respects, the French, creators of the metric system, have allowed their culture to be standardized to scientific precision, stifling both the creativity and chaos more characteristic of American society. Unlike the United States, which still searches for it own set of global ethics and order, the French have settled in and have become comfortable with themselves. They have an admirable set of collective values. The French have not bought into the Wal-Mart economic model of more work for less wages and benefits; they have opted for quality of life. This is evident in a shorter work week, more vacation time, universal health care, low crime rates, extensive high-quality public transportation, energy self-sufficiency, high-quality fruits and vegetables, and fantastic wine and cheese. The French have achieved more from less, and while their culture may not be socially sustainable in the long run, we have much to learn from them in the meantime.

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Ocular Anxiety and the Pink Tea Cup: Edgar Degas’ Woman with a Bandaged Eye
10:00 a.m., Friday, Nov. 10, 2006
Webster Hall Auditorium
Admission free
Speaker: Dr. Marni Kessler

Dr. Marni Kessler analyzed Degas’ Woman with a Bandage of 1872-3 particularly as it relates to the artist’s own failing eyesight, his internal conflicts surrounding it, his relationship with his blind American sister-in-law, and the cultural trajectory of ophthalmologic practices and eye disease during the second half of the 19th century. By the mid 1860s, Degas began experiencing blurred vision especially in his left eye. A visit to an ophthalmologist confirmed his worst fears. Told he would eventually go blind (which he did not), he panicked and became depressed. Kessler argued that it is here, in this image of a woman with a white bandage over her left eye, that Degas visualizes his ocular anxiety.

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Unmasking Manet’s Morisot
11:00 a.m., Friday, Nov. 10, 2006
Webster Hall Auditorium
Admission free
Speaker: Dr. Marni Kessler

“Unmasking Manet’s Morisot” provided a case study of veiling in artistic practice and analyzed the effects of that veiling on the identity of a particular sitter. Here, Dr. Marni Kessler focused upon a group of portraits that Manet painted of the artist Berthe Morisot between 1868 and 1874. Through analyses of the cultural context, the relationship between Manet and Morisot, and the paintings themselves, she argued that these images tell us far less about the sitter than they do about the painter. Manet ultimately depicts the ideal bourgeoise, Morisot, as excessively maquillée and not as the respectable woman she was, thus betraying not simply the complexity of his feelings toward her but also her unclassifiable status within the social order. Elaborate and complicated uses of paint and canvas allow Manet to veil, both metaphorically and literally, the semblance of one of his most challenging colleagues.

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The Golden Age of French Music: Does It Belong in the Past or the Present?
12:00 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2006
Phinney Recital Hall in the Music Building
Admission: Pick up free lunch ticket in
Webster 337C at least 24 hours in advance

Presenter: Dr. Cheryl Cifelli, assistant professor of music

Dr. Cifelli briefly discussed how France became a center for music development and where it is now, beginning in the early 1000s and ending in the Avant Gard. There was a live performance along with recordings to help the average listener understand the musical direction France has been taking. Further discussion included the state of musical performance in France.

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