Research Colloquia Program (2020-2021)

Every academic year the CFLLC holds a Research Colloquium, at which a colleague presents current research in an informal setting, with ample opportunity for discussion, feedback, and questions. This year’s colloquia will begin with the following discussion. Please RSVP to [email protected].


Beyond Pronouns: Teaching and Using Non-Binary Grammar in the French Classroom

Thursday November 19, 12:30-1:30PM
Cécile Tresfels, Assistant Professor of French

Cécile TresfelsIn 2020 it is our duty as instructors to properly address and represent non-binary, trans and gender nonconforming students, as well as to introduce all students to a more capacious and flexible understanding of gender. Kris Knisely-Southerland (University of Arizona) has indeed underlined that there are two aspects to queering the language classroom: teaching content to queer students and teaching all students about queer content. It can be a challenge to teach gender neutral grammar in a gendered romance language in which non-binary or neutral grammars have not yet been institutionalized, such as French. Discussions about pronouns and introductory forms including a variety of pronouns are usually an important first step in that direction. This presentation aims to reflect on on how to go beyond pronouns, and will offer pedagogical suggestions to achieve this dual goal of representation and information. After reflecting on how to identify internal motivation for teaching non-binary grammar instead of seeing it as an external constraint, I will share a few resources and activities, and will then explore the consequences of expanding our understanding of grammar for many aspects of language teaching: pronunciation, assessment, course objectives, proficiency and curriculum design.

Saharan Imaginations: Saharanism, from Mild to Wild

Tuesday, December 1, 4:30 – 5:30PM,
Brahim El Guabli, Assistant Professor of Arabic Studies

Brahim El GuabliSaharanism offers a framework through which desert studies can understand and deconstruct the origins and continuation of the imaginaries, which the mere mention of the word ‘desert’ evokes. I draw on the life story of Jacques Lebaudy, the self-declared Emperor of the Sahara, and Jack Mortimer Sheppard’s travelogue Sahara Adventure as well as Carlo Carretto’s epistolary book Letters from the Desert to examine how Saharanism undergirds, informs, and shapes the attitudes and endeavors of these explorers and writers. By investigating their intellectual genealogies to former explorers and writers who inspired their own work, the paper shows how Saharanism has its own set of references, genealogies, traditions, and imaginaries that are transmitted from generation to generation, across times and spaces, and intellectual schools.

Representing the Unruly Body: Reflections on Dance and Literature in Ancient Greece

Wednesday, March 24 from 4-5 PM via Zoom
Sarah Olsen, Assistant Professor of Classics

Sarah E. Olsen“Ancient Greek dance” traditionally evokes images of stately choruses or lively Dionysiac revels – communal acts of performance. In my book (Solo Dance in Archaic and Classical Greek Literature, Cambridge UP, 2020), I look beyond the chorus to the diverse and complex representation of solo dancers in Archaic and Classical Greek literature, arguing that dancing alone often signifies transgression and vulnerability in the Greek cultural imagination. My colloquium talk will highlight the major aims and contributions of the project, including the importance of the singular dancing body in the articulation of poetic, narrative, and generic interests across Greek literature. I will also discuss how my work on this book has shaped my current research on models of inspiration and artistic creation in early Greek thought.

Nahua Writing at a Moment of Crisis: Hernando de Alvarado Tezozomoc, Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxochitl, and Domingo Chimalpahin

April 27, 4:30 – 5:30 PM via Zoom
Carlos Macías Prieto, Assistant Professor of Spanish

Carlos Macías PrietoIn this presentation I examine the works of three prominent Nahua authors of the late 16th and early 17th Centuries and the intellectual projects that can be discerned from their works. I begin by exploring the works of Hernando de Alvarado Tezozomoc (c. 1520s – c.1610), a direct descendant of the Aztec ruler Moctezuma II, who is perhaps the best known and most celebrated Mexica chronicler and annalist who wrote both in Spanish and Nahuatl. I then turn to Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxochitl (1578-1650), a castizo, who descended through the maternal line from the famous Texcocan ruler Nezahualcoyotl and whose known works are written in Spanish in the form of relaciones. Finally, I turn to Domingo Chimalpahin (b.1577-1560?), a native of Chalco whose noble lineage was more modest than the previous two and who wrote primarily in Nahuatl in traditional Nahua annals. In exploring the works of these three Nahua authors, I show that while Tezozomoc was still limited by the altepetl-centered histories of his predecessors (i.e., histories focused on a particular city state) and writes for both Spanish-speaking and Nahua audiences, the second deployed a discourse of native nobility focused on his personal and familial interests by appealing to the colonial authorities, in Spanish, perpetuating a discourse that has become known as “lord’s discourse.” For his part, Chimalpahin extends the work of an earlier generation of Nahua scribes—tlacuiloque—beyond altepetl-centered histories while appealing to Nahua readers of future generations. Thus, I argue that in the work of Chimalpahin we encounter a continuation and expansion of the Nahuatl work of Tezozomoc and other tlacuiloque of an earlier generation and one that deviates from Ixtlilxochitl’s project directed at the colonial authorities, an intellectual project written in Nahuatl for Nahuatl readers of future generations at a moment of crisis which not only preserves the ancient history of his ancestors but also documents their dislocation and dispossession. Such an intellectual project presents an alternative vision in which surviving indigenous communities could retain and reclaim their indigenous government systems and institutions while legitimizing their indigenous rights to the land.