French and RLL Majors are eligible to apply for The Rosen Travel Grant for the summer after their junior year. Recipients are awarded grants between $1500 and $3000 dollars to conduct research in a Francophone country. Applications are due toward the end of March each year. For more information, contact Jack Abecassis.
French students at Pomona College have the opportunity to apply for funding for intensive summer research through the Summer Undergraduate Research Program. Below are recent SURP projects by French students.
Caminar hacia mi: (Re)Discovering Latin American Identity in Paris
Haley Ferguson ’18; Mentor: Virginie Pouzet-Duzer
My project focuses on the Latin American writers Alejo Carpentier and Julio Cortázar, both of whom spent much of their adult lives in Paris, with the goal of uncovering how the city shaped their approaches to the expression of Latin American identity. In order to understand the historical and personal factors surrounding their journeys to Paris, I consulted a variety of sources in English, French and Spanish, drawing primarily upon the resources of The Claremont Colleges Library and the archives of the Fundación Alejo Carpentier in Havana. I applied this contextual knowledge to Carpentier’s “El reino de este mundo” and Cortázar’s “Rayuela” in order to examine the influence of Paris in their fiction. Carpentier believed that his interactions with the French surrealists allowed him to see his culture through the eyes of a foreigner and thus recognize the “marvelous” aspect of American reality. The impact of this experience is evident in his concept of lo real maravilloso and the use of perspective in “El reino de este mundo.” Cortázar maintained that living in Paris gave him a more global perspective on his homeland that divorced itself from the “challenge and response” of daily reality in Argentina. “Rayuela” represents a literary “exorcism” of the psychological conflicts he faced during his first few years abroad, including the existential shock of moving between vastly different geographical and cultural spaces and the difficulty of gaining acceptance as an outsider in French society.
Funding Provided By: Aubrey H. & Eileen J. Seed Student Research Fund
Hidden Voices: Complexities of Becoming a Woman in XIX-XX Century France
Tiffany Mi ’19; Mentor: Virginie Pouzet-Duzer
What does "coming of age" entail for young women in late 19th and early 20th century France? How did they receive the "correct" knowledge to transition into womanhood? Imbued with layers of messages, postcards were a significant medium through which young women would communicate with and learn from each other. These exchanges not only reflected societal beliefs on how women ought to behave, but also shed insight on these young women's responses to the social pressures that often barred them from leaving the domestic sphere. This project constitutes an important segment of Prof. Duzer's research, "Les savoirs des femmes," which investigates women's roles in France (1880-1920). Specifically, my research assistantship revolved around postcards dispatched among young French women in the early 20th century. My methods included researching about women in France, as well as scanning, archiving, organizing and watermarking, transcribing and translating nearly 150 postcards front and back. An interesting trend is that the images of the cards often show women in the household, reinforcing the "Angel of the Hearth" doctrine. Other cards make use of irony or sarcasm to suggest women's supposed frivolity. Still others portray the young woman as bright and empowered, yet caged within societal gender barriers. Overall, I received great insight on how societal ideas influenced young women growing up during a time of increased sex equality in a nonetheless patriarchal society.
Funding Provided By: Faucett Catalyst Fund SURP Grant
Loanwords as Lifestyle: Anglicisms and queer self-fashioning in T.A.T.U magazine (1995-2015)
William Curtis ’18; Advisor: David Divita
Various sociolinguists have noted the homogenizing role that technology and advertising have played in normalizing queerness under conditions of late modernity, citing in particular the influence of Anglo-American norms in transnational sexuality discourse (Leap & Boellstorff 2004; Provencher 2004, 2007). To examine the intersections among globalization, queerness and language, the project aimed to compile an index of English loanwords in T.A.T.U, a French-language gay lifestyle magazine in print from 1995 to 2015, thus straddling the AIDS epidemic of the 1980-90s and the rapid technological developments of the early 2000s. Hailing itself as the leader of the French gay press, it constructed for readers a supranational gay identity that was defined largely as taste, borrowing from the English language to do so. In this project I created a comprehensive list of anglicisms (e.g., un must-have, le coming-out) across 21 representative issues of the magazine, one from each year of T.A.T.U publication; I then coded these words according to themes (e.g., “clothing,” “visibility”), thus highlighting discourses where anglicisms appear and the way they change over time. Initially clustering around discourses of visibility in coverage of events like “la Gay Pride,” anglicisms in later issues cumulate around discourses of consumption. Taste becomes highly anglicized, while discussions of high culture and politics tend to avoid English borrowings, thereby respecting French linguistic norms.
Funding Provided By: Faucett Catalyst Fund SURP Grant
Temperance and Transformation: Absinthe and the Aperitif in France
Luke Miller (2015); Mentor(s): Margaret Waller
Abstract: This summer, I was the recipient of the French Department's Rosen Travel Grant, which extended my studies in Paris, France, for a month. Originally, I intended to conduct a history of anise in French culture; however, after extensive research at libraries in Paris, my focus shifted to absinthe, the Temperance movement in France, and the subsequent transformation of French drinking culture. The Temperance movement in France reached its zenith at the end of the 19th century, bolstered by nationalistic and religious discourse surrounding the future of the French "race" after its defeat in the Franco-Prussian war. Absinthe was the target of Temperance groups, and through an analysis of Temperance pamphlets and posters, I was able to observe the construction of the mythical reputation of this drink in popular culture and in literature, as well as its influence on the advertisements and marketing of later apéritifs, such as Ricard and Pernod.
Funding Provided by: Maurice Rosen Student Research and Travel Fund
Making Masculinity Modern: the Clergy, the Fashion Press, and Napoleon’s “New” Clothes
Hannah Pinkham (2015); Mentor(s): Margaret Waller
Abstract: While evolving gender norms have begun to erode the idea that fashion is inherently feminine, we still tend to assume it natural for women to follow fashion trends, while men adopt a disinterested approach to dress. My research for Professor Margaret Waller’s book, Napoleon’s Closet, challenges this assumption through a re-examination of the “Great Masculine Renunciation,” an 18th and 19th century phenomenon where previously flamboyant menswear became sober and standardized, leaving the frivolity of la mode to women. While many scholars have studied this transition, we are the first to examine the ways the French clergy, the men behind Paris’s early fashion magazines, and the emperor Napoleon intersected to inform the construction of modern masculinity. Drawing from historical accounts and contemporary scholarship, we analyze narratives that challenge and explain our modern understanding of men and fashion: priests highly concerned with what they wore and how they wore it; Pierre de la Mésangère, a cleric turned prominent fashion editor who publicly denied his interest in fashion while hoarding thousands of garments; and Napoleon’s careful attention to dress as a means of reinforcing political power. We find that the modern expectation for men to downplay or “closet” their appearance for fear of exposure is not inherent or based in individual desire; rather, it is an historical and contingent phenomenon heavily influenced by 18th and 19th century sociocultural developments.
Funding Provided by: Pomona College SURP