Part 6: Conference Sessions

October 22: 12:45-13:45 Session: Teaching Session

12:45-13:45 Séance Pédagogique / Teaching Session

Présidence/Chair : Elizabeth Giltner (University of Central Florida)

Nicolas de Largillierre (French, 1656–1746). Portrait of a Woman, Possibly Madame Claude Lambert de Thorigny (Marie Marguerite Bontemps, 1668–1701), and an Enslaved Servant, 1696. Oil on canvas; 55 x 42 in. (139.7 x 106.7 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Rogers Fund, 1903 (03.37.2) [Public Domain]

Ashley M. WILLIARD (U. of South Carolina). « What does it mean to teach French slavery on a campus built by enslaved people? »

Teaching new perspectives on the seventeenth century requires deep engagement with ethical questions. In this presentation, I discuss my experience teaching an undergraduate course on the history and memory of slavery in the French-speaking world. I first taught the class in 2018 and will be teaching an updated version this fall. The course begins with a historical unit, focused on readings of primary sources from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. For the second unit, we read two novels that revisit the memory of slavery: Maryse Condé’s Moi, Tituba, sorcière Noire de Salem… and Patrick Chamoiseau’s L’esclave vieil homme et le molosse. For the final unit, we focus on other cultural productions that reframe the history of slavery, such as television shows, movies, museums, and public monuments. The course also involves reflections on South Carolina’s history, particularly debates about building names and confederate monuments. The presentation will focus on the challenging questions I have confronted in designing and teaching this course. How do we set up students to read racist historical texts? What tools can help students productively confront violent representations? How do they read resistance in this material? What texts are worth the risk of traumatic content? How do we guide their discussions of triggering material? How do we help them make connections to local history and current events without conflating distinct contexts? Perhaps most importantly, how can we learn from students in this process?

Ashley Williard is assistant professor of French at University of South Carolina. Her research centers on disability, gender, and race in the early French Atlantic world. Her first book, Engendering Islands: Sexuality, Reproduction, and Violence in the Early French Caribbean (2021), recently came out in the Women and Gender in the Early Modern World series at University of Nebraska Press. Her research has also appeared or is forthcoming in publications such as Early Modern Black Diaspora Studies, Early Modern Women, and Esprit Créateur. She is currently working on a new book project on madness in the colonial Antilles.

Heather KIRK (Brescia University College). « Podcasting the Grand Siècle: An Assignment for the Virtual and Physical Classrooms. »

Au XVIIe siècle les enjeux du portrait acquièrent des dimensions non seulement littéraires,  mais aussi sociales et politiques. Le portrait mondain, dont la mode se diffuse dans la seconde  moitié du siècle, se configure comme la forme par excellence des représentations de soi dans  l’espace littéraire et social, particulièrement parmi les élites. L’apogée de la mode en 1659 voit la publication de trois ouvrages dédiés au portrait : les Divers portraits ; le Recueil des portraits et éloges et la Description de l’isle de portraiture. Si ses contemporains et critiques la considèrent déjà dépassée en 1661 (Somaize, Dictionnaire des  précieuses), cette mode finit cependant par changer l’histoire littéraire. Mon étude sur le portrait se place dans le sillon tracé par les travaux sur le portrait (Plantié  1994, Morlet-Chantalat 1994, Spica 2002, Harvey 2013, Schuwey 2020) et démontre non  seulement qu’avant la mode du portrait mondain les descriptions des personnages fictionnels  n’étaient pas appelées ‘portraits’, mais aussi que la fonction du portrait dans l’espace littéraire  change radicalement dans la période 1660-1700. Cette métamorphose a lieu grâce aux ouvrages  de fiction qui empruntent ce genre mondain et le façonnent pour l’adapter aux nécessités  narratives du temps. Se délivrant du carcan descriptif baroque, le portrait, vers la fin du siècle, en vient à jouer une fonction proleptique au sein de la narration. Mon étude de cas portera sur les stratégies représentatives mises en place par Fénelon dans  le Télémaque (1699), où, afin d’enseigner à son disciple, le Duc de Bourgogne, à distinguer les  courtisans fiables des courtisans déloyaux, il transforme le portrait en un outil didactique et  épistémologique.

Heather Kirk is Assistant Professor of French Literatures and Cultures at Brescia University College, an affiliated undergraduate institution of Western University. While her primary areas of research include gossip, rumour, and the representation of pre-Academic tragic heroines, since joining the faculty at Brescia, she has also developed an interest in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. Heather is currently undertaking a study on faculty experiences teaching online during Covid-19 with a colleague at Brescia, which they intend to submit to the International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in fall 2021.

Charlotte DANIELS (Bowdoin College). « Reframing Blackness in Classic French Texts: The Case of Marivaux’s L’Île des esclaves. »

Despite its title, L’île des esclaves, most critics have read Marivaux’s play as being about “masters” and “servants” rather than “masters” and “slaves.” But this often-taught work participates in the creation of a discourse of race emerging in parallel with a global system of commerce that depended for its very existence on chattel slavery. Arlequin’s gluttony, drunkenness, and silly amorous efforts are all traditionally associated with the valet role in the commedia dell’arte. However, in this play, these characteristics crystalize into a modern potent and complex stereotype that, thanks to Arlequin’s full-face mask, becomes inseparable from Blackness.

Charlotte Daniels is Associate Professor in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at Bowdoin College. She is the author of Subverting the Family Romance: Women Writers, Kinship Structures and the Early French Novel (Bucknell UP, 2000). Recently, with Katherine Dauge-Roth, she has published several articles on decolonizing the curriculum in departments of French and Francophone Studies.



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The Grand Siècle in Movement: Negotiations, Circulations, Dynamics Copyright © 2021 by Charlotte Trinquet du Lys and Anne Duprat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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