Audrey Allotey '11
La Construction de l’identité haïtienne dans le modèle québécois
This study examines how Haitian immigrants in Quebec have constructed their identities over the past 50 years. This study also investigates the evolution of the Quebec model of multiculturalism, and its effects on the identities constructed by these Haitians. Research was conducted in Montreal, the metropolitan hub of the Quebec province which is home to a variety of ethnolinguistic backgrounds – French and English Canadians, as well as many different immigrant groups, including large Haitian, Italian and Chinese populations. Questionnaires were distributed to Haitians from various age groups in order to establish how these visible minorities perceive themselves, believe they are perceived, and how they are actually perceived by majority groups. This project also includes a case study of the prominent Haitian-Quebecois writer, Dany Laferrière. I seek to determine how Laferrière conceptualizes his identity through his novels Comment Faire l'Amour avec un Nègre sans se Fatiguer, l’Énigme du Retour and La Chronique de la Dérive Douce.
Emily Keizer '11
Les Identités Regionales: Breton and Alsatian Interpretations of European Unification
In a world of increasingly diverse politics, supranational political organizations are becoming much more prominent actors on the global political scale. The European Union, one of these organizations, now affects hundreds of different identity groups that must work together. This study examines the Breton and the Alsatian people and their interpretation of European unification. Using local newspaper articles, the study looks into coverage of several categories of events revolving around the EU’s activity. In addition, personal interviews are included. Participants were asked directly to voice opinions about the EU and its ability to unite. Each of these data sets was analyzed for tone, language choice and message to establish whether or not each identity group has embraced European unification as a core part of their identity. The study concludes that the Breton people see the union as an effective resource, but only in uniting superficial aspects, such as policy and currency. Overall, the Bretons have not embraced the concept as a central part of their identity’s core. The Alsatians have embraced the European Union more fully, but remain pessimistic about the course of integration to date. My research adds to existing identity studies, and could be used to further understand the relationship between these regional identity groups and the development of the European Union (or potentially other supranational organizations).
Kaia Smith '11
Instruments de polyphonie : les festivals de musique comme politique en Europe
Music tends not to be seen as an important tool for states. However, my Independent Study shows how shared musical experiences can reinforce national identities and bolster intercultural dialogue. My project explores the creation and impact of la Fête de la Musique in France. Although this festival started out as a single concert in Paris, it soon proliferated throughout the city, then the nation, and finally throughout the world. With the help of the Copeland Fund, I was able to experience la Fête first-hand and conduct interviews with participants, musicians, and organizers. This project also examines two other important music festivals: European Music Day in Greece, and The Varna Music Festival in Bulgaria. Because interactive music festivals endorse individual creativity and participation, they can reinforce personal connections to governments and nations. Moreover, music's unique ability to communicate ideas and emotions across linguistic barriers creates linkages that transcend the nation. I explore whether music festivals might also serve to strengthen bonds between European populations and the European Union.
Kelly Epstein '11
J’ai tellement envie … Le Mariage au service de la critique et de la satire de l’Ancien Régime et de la Révolution française
Although it has become a common cliché, the idea of marrying only for love is surprisingly quite modern. Popularized during the second half of the Eighteenth Century, the redefining of marriage coincides with the social and political questioning of the Enlightenment. Marriage serves as an intriguing backdrop against which to study wider concerns such as injustice, inequality, the failings and inadequacies of female education, and even the very notion of human nature itself. My Independent Study examines how the portrayal of marriage in late Eighteenth Century literature allows authors to tackle these critical issues through their critique and satire of French society. The analysis focuses on Beaumarchais’ Le Mariage de Figaro, Choderlos de Laclos’ Les Liaisons dangereuses, and le Marquis de Sade’s La Philosophie dans le boudoir. My Independent Study has also allowed me to unite all my interests by incorporating elements of art history, history, and philosophy into the study of literature. Yet most importantly, I have been able to develop my longstanding fascination with the Ancien Régime and the Révolution française.
Martina Kinkle '11
Traductrice, Traidora: Confronting Betrayal in Translation
As a French and Spanish double major, I wanted to steer away from literary analysis and deal more directly with the languages themselves, and translation presented an interesting and engaging means to do so. George Steiner’s “The Hermeneutic Motion,” in which Steiner redefines translation as an act of reciprocity from which both the original work and the translator gain, provides the main theoretical framework for the introduction of my Independent Study. Steiner presents a vision of translation as “a hermeneutic of trust (élancement), of penetration, of embodiment, and of restitution,” in which the work is both a destructive and regenerative process. I also discuss at length the inherent betrayal of the original author in any translation, due to the lack of exact equivalence between languages and to the impossibility of flawlessly adopting the voice of another. I feel that love of the original is necessary to render a “good” translation. A full half of my project consists of translations (into English) of four short stories: “The Coffeepot” by Théophile Gautier, “Night, Face-Up” by Julio Cortázar, “Les Mamelles” by Birago Diop, and “A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings” by Gabriel García Marquéz. Although the tone, style and setting of each story translated are distinct, each of them plays with the reader and characters’ perception of reality. My conclusion is in large part a narrative constructed around difficulties encountered during my experience translating. Through completing this project I gained a lot of confidence in my ability to work with French, Spanish and English. Translation is very rewarding work, and I feel proud to have brought four great texts to a larger audience.
Nana Akuffo-Sagoe '11
La Négritude face à face au colonialisme
This study seeks to understand how Negritude – an important literary and political movement born in interwar Paris – influenced the idea of decolonization. My project focuses primarily on two poets, Aimé Cesaire and Léopold Senghor, who used the Negritude movement to explore their alienation in France and to reconnect emotionally and psychologically with their native lands. I examine how Césaire’s and Senghor’s conceptions of Negritude were reshaped and solidified as a result of their individual experiences during World War II, and as a result of their entry into the world of politics after 1945.