French for Research and Creation

August 7, 2014 | By Clement Vigneaud

Project coordinator: Jack NEEFS and Derek SCHILLING

Total costs of the project: $30.000
Embassy of France support: $20.000

Summary of the Project

The colloquium “French for Research and Creation” will address the uses of the French language in different fields, sites, and contexts, to the end of exploring the singular opportunity that arises from the obligation to think and create in one language out of many, whether that language is a mother tongue or an adopted one. Our object is not translation, with its themes of exchange, crossings, and difference, but rather the use and constant transformation of a specific language through which we think, invent, write, and conduct research in the various disciplines. By what means, and to what effect, do we make one language among others an effective means for understanding and for making ourselves understood, for inventing and for sharing new insights?

The colloquium, to take place Friday, Oct. 24 and Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014, will bring together researchers, philosophers, and writers, as well as international policy leaders from the Francophone world. Confirmed speakers include Michèle Gendreau Massaloux, Head of Training, Higher Education, and Research for the Interministerial Delegation to the Mediterranean; Bernard Cerquiglini, Rector of the University Agency for the Francophone World, who will explore reasons behind the choice of French in multilingual research contexts; Tiphaine Samoyault, professor at Université Paris III as well as translator and writer, who will speak on the experience of French in the manifold of languages; Jean-Claude Bonnet, who will comment on language-based invention during the Enlightenment; the philosopher and historian of Antiquity Barbara Cassin, whose work on « untranslatables » has generated great interest in North America (a dialogue will take place with the translator of Vocabulaire européen des philosophies, Emily Apter, and Bachir Dagne, both professors at NYU). Several Hopkins professors (see list above) will consider the use of French in their respective disciplines. Other invitees are writers and scholars who have lent particular meaning to French as an adoptive or second language. These include Ruben Gallo, professor at Princeton; Haitian-Quebecois novelist Dany Laferrière, who was elected to the Académie Française in 2013; Africanist Achille Mbembe, of the University of Witwatersrand and Duke University’s John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute; and essayist Akira Mizubayashi, professor at Sophia University, Tokyo.

participating centers