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SSA could not be possible without the generous support of Drs. Herbert A. and Betty Lou Lubs and the Science, Society, and the Arts Research Conference Endowment. We are deeply grateful!
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Friday, March 17 • 10:30am - 11:45am
France and French Culture — Huntley 301

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French Identity and Algerian Immigration (Paper)
Jack McGee
In this project, I examine the history of immigration from Algeria to France in the 20th Century. Discourse about immigrants from Algeria, a former French settler colony, offers a helpful case study to understand the construction of “French” identity in relation to colonial subjects. With the rise of the xenophobic far right in France, this paper will help contextualize that rhetoric within a larger historical trajectory. It will also help to connect current discourse on race and sexuality to former colonial policy. An exclusive notion of ‘Frenchess’ as white, secular, and sexually ‘modern’ formed during the colonial period and worked to create distance between France and its colonies beginning in the 19th Century. This paper will explore both the history of immigration from Algeria and the ways in which rhetoric about immigration creates an exclusive French identity.

Writing an Honors Thesis Through the Digital Humanities (Paper)
Abdurrafey Khan
Huon d'Auvergne is a Franco-Italian epic about a man and his journey into Hell. The epic poem survives in the form of four different manuscripts found across Europe as well as a digital edition. The project involves digitizing and displaying all four versions of the story side by side on a single website to make close reading and text analysis possible, and requires the application of several digital humanities techniques. This project will present these techniques and how they were used in order to create the website and a digital honors project.

A Tale of Two André's (Paper)
Sam Gibson
My paper examines two figures in the discourse on homosexuality, Marc-André Raffalovich who wrote on homosexuality around the turn of the century, and celebrated author André Gide, who wrote the controversial Corydon in 1924. Both men attempted to subvert the contemporary narratives about homosexuality both directly and indirectly; however, both of their works employ uniquely French vocabularies about sexuality in telling ways. Both Raffalovich and Gide attempt to construct a homosexual identity to fit compatibly with wider French society and its values of masculinity, virility, valor, and natalism. Gide, motivated by his unique personal morality, and Raffalovich, inspired by his profound Catholic faith, both seek to push back against the pathologizing discourse. In this way, we can use texts that were explicitly meant to challenge narratives about homosexuality to illustrate the structural influence of the very same political and social forces that undergirded the medical and moral repudiation of homosexuality.

The Burkini Controversy in France (Paper)
John Dannehl
Controversy erupted across France this past summer due to the banning of the burkini, a type of swimsuit worn predominantly by Muslim women. In several cities across the country, mayors banned the swimsuit, citing security concerns after the July 14th, 2016 terrorist attack in Nice. What began as a local issue in the French press quickly evolved into a national scandal, touching on issues of economics, national identity, religious expression, and feminism. This presentation will focus on a sub-theme of the burkini controversy, using a variety of articles from the French press and academic literature to explain how and why a simple article of clothing created such a lasting uproar in French society. Was it worth it to ban the burkini in the name of national security? Does the ban offer a larger commentary on the integration of French Muslims into contemporary French society?

Taming the Knights Templar: from Fighting Frescoes to Marian Murals (Paper)
Aidan Valente
This paper examines the historical, social, and religious contexts surrounding a set of frescos within the Templar chapels at Cressac and Coulommiers, France. By analyzing these frescos in conjunction with an examination of Templar history, I aim to offer insight into the reasons for the depiction of certain figures and events in these religious settings. Furthermore, I present a glimpse into the nature of the Templar order beyond the well-known Crusading knights in the Levant, and instead focus on its lay members in the West, particularly France. Thus, this paper touches on issues of art and patronage, Medieval culture and religion, European history, and more in a decidedly interdisciplinary approach.

Friday March 17, 2017 10:30am - 11:45am
Huntley 301

Attendees (2)