Permalink: https://diginole.lib.fsu.edu/islandora/object/fsu:women_in_french_studies_2018
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Baya Mahieddine and Lalla Essaydi
Baya Mahieddine and Lalla Essaydi
Coming from distinct cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, Algerian painter Baya Mahieddine (born Fatma Haddad, commonly known as Baya) and Moroccan photographer Lalla Essaydi predominantly feature women in their artwork through their female gaze. Despite Baya’s reticence to discuss her colorful and unique depiction of women, animals, and vegetation, her mesmerizing gouaches have inspired abundant commentary by poets, writers, curators, and artists. Through her accomplishments and artwork, she moreover instills “hope” among her fellow female compatriots in their “combat de femme” as they contend with gender-specific quotidian struggles (Khanna 210; Djebar 18). In contrast to Baya’s reserve, Essaydi deluges her public with words, whether through her photo/calli-graphic texts or artist statements and interviews in which she informs her audiences about the content of her work. By inscribing (un)veiled women’s bodies with Arabic calligraphy, she produces provocative photographs that incite an introspective critique of the Western gaze while simultaneously sensitizing her Arab publics to reactionary compulsions that dictate the (in)visibility of women. The objective of this article is therefore to examine how their art corrects Orientalist misinterpretations and questions gender-bound Arab traditions. From post-colonial and feminist angles, I argue that both women usetheir female gaze to create artwork that serves to reimag(in)e girlhoods of Maghrebi women., Publication Note: Selected essay from the Women In French International Conference 2018
Caribbean Women’s Fugitive Speech Traditions
Caribbean Women’s Fugitive Speech Traditions
This essay analyzes Caribbean Creolophone women’s speech, para-linguistic sounds, and songs as an underappreciated form of women’s self-fashioning. Afro-Creole women’s speech developed as a tradition within conditions of fugitivity (Derby 2014; Moten 2008). Fugitive speech here refers to speech and vocalized sounds, meant to be understood only by those in a position to know its meanings, under repressive conditions. Caribbean women use vocal expressions to constitute themselves into collectivities that sustain and support them. This essay firstconsiders the sphere of women’s gossip and its meta-linguistic sounds, and then the links between gossip and magic that reveal themselves in the ethos of fugitivity and silence in the magico-juridical secret societies in Haiti. Finally, we listen to the noisy, boisterous women’s songs in the public street bands called Raras. A final section considers the silences, sufferings, and punishments that men have visited on Creolophone women and the links between silence, para-linguistic sounds, and suffering. This essay builds on Sarah Mantilla Griffin’s work on Black women’s “sonic performatives” in American literature. Griffith argues that black women’s writings incorporate sound-based ways of knowing that have contributed to Afro-modernity, but have gone underappreciated (Griffin 2012, vi). I extend her insights to consider the Creolophone sounds, noises, and speech that Haitian women have created to sustain and express themselves and defy male repression., Publication Note: Selected essay from the Women in French International Conference 2018
Des soupirs de la sainte aux cris de la fée
Des soupirs de la sainte aux cris de la fée
L’article analyse les bruits féminins qui figurent au dernier vers du sonnet « El Desdichado », les « soupirs de la sainte » et les « cris de la fée ». À partir d’une étude de l’intertextualité et des sources du poème, il propose d’identifier ces formes d’expression inarticulées à des bruits de souffrance. Les enjeux politiques de tels bruits sont abordés au moyen de références au travail de Nicole Loraux dans Les Mères en deuil. L’historienne montre que dans la Grèce antique la législation réglementait de manière précise l’expression de la souffrance féminine, et que cette réglementation visait à imposer à la fois la distinction et l’inégalité entre les genres. L’article a pour but de montrer qu’une telle aliénationdes femmes par leur assignation à un certain type de bruit est remise en cause dans « El Desdichado » dans la mesure où Nerval instaure un réseau de correspondances entre les genres qui les rend réversibles. Cette réversibilité trouve son prolongement dans l’intérêt de l’auteur pour l’androgynie, qu’il manifeste tout particulièrement dans la nouvelle Pandora. L’article envisage l’actrice héroïne de ce texte comme une incarnation du principe poétique d’alternance des genres construit par Nerval autour des soupirs de la sainte et des cris de la fée. Un tel regard sur « El Desdichado » et Pandora conduit à considérer ces deux textes comme étant investis d’un potentiel d’émancipation politique pour quiconque saurait y discerner la déstabilisation des genres qui y opère., Publication Note: Selected essay from the Women In French International Conference 2018
Gendering of Listening and Speaking in Post-Revolutionary Salons
Gendering of Listening and Speaking in Post-Revolutionary Salons
In post-revolutionary French literary circles, women’s voices were marginalized. Romantic cénacles welcomed few women as writers or performers. Meanwhile, female-led salons were dismissed as unserious, trivial, worthless—not because of any lack of literary readings or literary conversation but because of their inclusion of women. This article will examine two post-revolutionary salonnières who managed to create a space and a role for themselves within the new maledominated literary circles: Juliette Récamier, whose more conventional approach made only slight modifications to the earlier codes of mondain sociability, and Delphine de Girardin, whose more radical approach integrated the new Romantic codes of sociability and literary recitation. The social success of these two women required a strict attention to the codes of feminine speech and silence that complicated women’s participation as literary performers., Publication Note: Selected essay from the Women In French International Conference 2018
George Sand’s La Filleule
George Sand’s La Filleule
With input from Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak’s thirty-five-year-old essay, “Can the Subaltern Speak?” to the relatively new field of “animal studies,” the article looks at Sand’s use of the roar—le rugissement—for three characters, a Romany woman soon to give birth, a Spanish duchess from the Paris social elite, and a Romany performer/composer, within the conference theme of women’s sound. It then turns to a character who does not roar, the daughter born to the young Romany mother, just before the mother’s death, who finds her voice as the novel progresses and will use it to speak truth to power. Finally, the conclusion presents the hypothesis that, implicit in the 1853 novel is a fourth roar, that of Sand herself, as she continues her writing career after the events of 1848 and, especially, after the coup d’état of December 1851., Publication Note: Selected essay from the Women In French International Conference 2018
La femme, la voix, le livre. De la séduction heureuse des voix féminines dans les récits courtois
La femme, la voix, le livre. De la séduction heureuse des voix féminines dans les récits courtois
La voix est indéniablement pour nos sensibilités modernes à la fois une expression intime de l’individu et une arme de séduction à la frontière du dedans et du dehors, de l’âme et du corps, de la parole et de la musique. Mais le Moyen Âge est-il sensible à ses charmes ? En évoque-t-il les sortilèges lorsqu’une femme parle (il ne sera pas ici question du chant, dont les séductions sont bien connues et documentées)? Une idée préconçue veut que la voix féminine soit inaudible dans les textes parce que l’on rêve la femme muette au Moyen Âge. C’est partiellementvrai. Cependant, aux XIIe et XIIIe siècles s’opère une réelle réhabilitation de la parole. Le roman courtois, parce qu’il est contemporain de ce mouvement de revalorisation, et parce qu’il met en scène de nombreux personnages féminins séduisants, sera mon domaine d’exploration : nous rend-il sensibles au doux bruit de la voix féminine? Je montrerai tout d’abord qu’alors même qu’il peut accorder une grande importance à la parole de ses héroïnes, il n’en fait pas beaucoup entendre le son, et j’explorerai ce paradoxe d’une parole sans bruit. J’essaierai parailleurs de montrer que c’est au moment où se construit une culture écrite vernaculaire et où la lecture silencieuse devient la norme que les voix féminines se font plus audibles dans les textes. C’est en effet dans leur rapport au livre que les femmes du roman courtois font le plus clairement résonner une voix séduisante, voire sensuelle et érotique., Publication Note: Selected essay from the Women in French International Conference 2018
Le Bruit des Femmes
Le Bruit des Femmes
Introduction to selected essays from the Women in French International Conference 2018
Le bruit des femmes haïtiennes
Le bruit des femmes haïtiennes
De nombreuses écrivaines haïtiennes ont aussi milité dans des organisations féministes. En tant qu’écrivaines et en tant que militantes, elles ont oeuvré et continuent d’oeuvrer à effacer les silences de l’histoire dans lesquels les femmes haïtiennes sont trop souvent consignées. Elles font donc résonner non seulement leurs voix mais aussi les voix ensevelies des femmes haïtiennes à travers l’histoire, y compris l’histoire récente de la dictature duvaliériste. Cet article détaille quelques exemples qui indiquent que les liaisons qui existent entre militantisme et expression artistique, l’écriture en particulier, permettent de faire un travail civique sur la mémoire des femmes. Par ailleurs, l’article trace aussi les engagements contemporains qui vont de pair avec la perspective historique., Publication Note: Selected essay from the Women In French International Conference 2018
Listening to the “Voix Prescheresse” in Marie Dentière’s Epistre tres utile
Listening to the “Voix Prescheresse” in Marie Dentière’s Epistre tres utile
Driven out of France for her conversion to Protestantism, ridiculed by her contemporaries for her scathing criticisms of the Roman Catholic Church as well as the nascent reformed church in Geneva, Marie Dentière emerges as a controversial public female figure whose voice was considered clamorous and intolerable for sixteenth-century authorities immersed in an era fraught with religious upheaval. In her Epistre tres utile (1539) addressed to Marguerite de Navarre, Dentière sets forth a clear agenda: the justification and defense of the reformed faith by all people, and especially women. Not only does she overtly propagate the reformed faith, Dentière also argues that women have the right topreach and teach this faith to others. While Dentière’s Epistre serves as a typical example of epistolary rhetoric written as a means to garner Marguerite de Navarre’s support in the defense for the reformed faith in Geneva and France, I analyze Dentière’s stylistic choices that stage a sermon, albeit in the form of a letter. Moreover, the formal qualities of Dentière’s written text illustrate the notion of dilatio—an opening and abundance of discourse—that provides a gendered lens through which I approach the Epistre. Dentière’s Epistre enhances our current understanding of the prescheresse and its impact on female spiritual identity and community during the Reformation., Publication Note: Selected essay from the Women in French International Conference 2018
Paging the Administration
Paging the Administration
Women in French has a long history of supporting women and/in French. When the organization was created in 1978, its founding mothers stated that its goals included “promot[ing] women’s growth and impact within higher education settings by welcoming women’s leadership in departments, divisions, and the university hierarchy.” In 2018, exactly forty years after its creation, Women in French reached a new milestone: that goal had been achieved to the point where women leaders who had been integrated in the higher education administration hierarchy realized they actively wanted and needed to encourage more women to enter by hosting a roundtable about the importance of female voices in higher education administration, a topic that aligned perfectly with the conference theme of “Le bruit des femmes” (Women’s Voices). The roundtable aimed to demonstrate how women administrators find and use their voices while simultaneously underlining the importance of recruiting more women into higher education administration. The session was well attended, a lively discussion followed the panelists’ presentations, and audience members, some of whom were seasoned administrators while others were relatively new to higher education administration or were merely considering entering it indicated they found it a useful contribution to their professional development., Publication Note: Selected essay from the Women In French International Conference 2018
Parasitic Reproduction
Parasitic Reproduction
In Solibo Magnifique (1988), Patrick Chamoiseau’s ethnographer laments: “Je n'étais plus dans ce marché qu’une sorte de parasite, en béatitude stérile” (44). The explicit comparison of the ethnographer to a parasite evokes the seminal work by philosopher Michel Serres, Le Parasite (1980), in which he proposes the parasite as a figurative model for social relations. Drawing from the polysemy of the word parasite in French, Serres seeks to demonstrate the intrinsic relation between the three meanings of the word and the ways in which they execute similar functions in a system. These three figures find direct parallels in two of Chamoiseau’s novels, Solibo Magnifique and Texaco (1992), through the constellation of the female body, the ethnographer, and the tape recorder. Since both novels are ostensibly based on the narrator’s recordings, this article thus proposes to use Serres’ theorization of the parasite to posit the tape recorder as a site of renegotiation between oraliture and gender. Through a comparison of the male Maître de paroles, Solibo, and the female conteuse, Marie-Sophie, we may tease out the ways in which sound recording imposes new paradigms of reproductive fidelity onto oraliture, what I term “parasitic reproduction.”, Publication Note: Selected essay from the Women In French International Conference 2018
Paroles de femmes
Paroles de femmes
L’oeuvre de fiction comme les essais de Nancy Huston ont ceci de particulier : ils sont marqués par d’abondantes notes de bas de page, des citations, des références intertextuelles et métatextuelles qui accompagnent le texte, le commentent, l’agrémentent. Ces renvois ont le plus souvent comme sources d’autres textes littéraires, la plupart étant signés par des femmes auteurs. Cet article souhaite examiner l’usage de la citation dans deux oeuvres de Nancy Huston (Journal de la création et Bad girl. Classes de littérature) en l’associant à la notion d’archives. Il s’agira de mettre en lumière de quelles manières ces fragments empruntés à d’autres et sans cesse répétés dans l’oeuvre, sont considérés comme des matériaux historiques, des prises de paroles permettant à l’auteure d’inscrire les femmes au sein de l’histoire littéraire, voire de ré-écrire cette histoire., Publication Note: Selected essay from the Women In French International Conference 2018
Paroles étouffées et voix maternelle dans Bord de mer de Véronique Olmi
Paroles étouffées et voix maternelle dans Bord de mer de Véronique Olmi
Une mère tue ses deux jeunes garçons. Ce pourrait être un fait divers presque ordinaire, si ce n’est qu’il s’agit d’un roman et que la voix maternelle et meurtrière se charge de faire entendre au lecteur l’inconcevable. Au fil des pages, la narratrice entrechoque, avec acharnement, les mots là où la société avait contraint cette mère célibataire au silence. Elle raconte minutieusement le détail de son échappée depuis ce jour où elle est partie, avec Stan et Kevin, pour découvrir ce bord de mer pluvieux qui donne son titre au bref roman de Véronique Olmi, paru en 2001. L’oralité du récit trahit progressivement la précarité et le désarroi maternels, mais aussi la maladresse et la fragilité d’une langue qui aisse entendre les prémices du drame : la mère, finalement, étouffe l’un après l’autre ses deux garçons, de tout le poids de son corps, comme elle avait, jusque-là, étouffé sa propre voix. L’analyse du fonctionnement et des modalités de la narration permet ici de définir le bruit d’une voix maternelle qui, bien que particulièrement puissante et dérangeante, n’en reste pas moins isolée dans la production romanesque française contemporaine. L’impensable et l’indicible sont à l’origine d’une langue unique dont il est nécessaire d’envisager les enjeux et les échos parmi le bruit des femmes aujourd’hui., Publication Note: Selected essay from the Women In French International Conference 2018
Repurposing l’art épistolaire
Repurposing l’art épistolaire
In the preface to Les Belles lettres (1961), Charlotte Delbo argues that l’art épistolaire reclaims significance through contemporary political events. Letterwriting becomes a mode of indignation previously expressed through political parties, protests, and collective action at the turn of the twentieth century. In Les Belles lettres, Delbo curates a selection of letters featuring testimony about the Algerian War, selected primarily from Le Monde, but also from political journals such as Les Temps modernes and Vérité-Liberté. Interspersing biting commentary, Delbo condemns French imperialism in Algeria and critiques comparisons to the Holocaust, Vichy France, and Nazi Germany. She democratizes the epistolary genre to amplify voices and testimonies that are often silenced or censored because of race, gender identity, political affiliation, religion, and socio-economic status. Delbo’s subversion of belles lettres is an act of civil disobedience. Letter-writing disrupts the political discourse by channeling le bruit des femmes., Publication Note: Selected essay from the Women In French International Conference 2018
Screaming Mother and Silent Subaltern in Ousmane Sembene’s La Noire de…
Screaming Mother and Silent Subaltern in Ousmane Sembene’s La Noire de…
Ousmane Sembene’s 1966 La Noire de…, the first full-length feature film by an African director, follows a young Senegalese woman who works for a French couple as a maid. With the exception of answering “Oui, Madame” or “Oui, Monsieur,” Diouana, the protagonist, does not speak in the space of the couple’s home; however, throughout the film, the voice-over discloses her inner monologue. Unable to express her outrage through language, she commits suicide to silence her female boss. Recent scholarship on this film qualifies the couple as her oppressors without exploring their vastly different interactions with her. In this essay, I show how the relationship between the three protagonists’ speech and silence reveals gendered differences in neocolonialist motivations. In contrast to the husband, neither Diouana nor the wife achieve recognition of their speech acts. Characterized by their silence and screaming, these two women lack the acknowledged authority necessary to enact performative utterances. I argue that the wife oscillates between the roles of the civilizing missionary and the slave master in a futile attempt to gain acknowledgment for her speech. This essay shows how the film’s juxtaposition of a white European woman screaming to be superior and a black African woman making her silence heard through suicide underscores the complexity of gendered relations between neocolonialists and women from formerly colonized countries. In a film critiquing the desires of all its characters, Sembene points to the limits of screams, silence, and the overvaluation of male voices in bringing about change for post-colonial institutions and relationships., Publication Note: Selected essay from the Women In French International Conference 2018
Speaking for Colette
Speaking for Colette
Literary tourism draws visitors to sites associated with writers or their works such as the recently restored natal home of Colette in rural Burgundy where she lived from 1873 to 1891. Purchased in 2011 and opened to the public in 2016, La maison de Colette is a writer’s house museum that incorporates the interpretive techniques of storytelling to communicate information and engage the emotions and imaginations of visitors as they literally walk in Colette’s footsteps. The director of the museum drew on Colette’s own stories about her childhood to recreate the house and gardens as she would have known them growing up, and to design a narrative for the guided tour that evokes the connection between Colette’s childhood and her genesis as a writer. Each tour is facilitated by a guide who uses storytelling to make Colette’s house come alive and “speak” to each visitor. To illustrate this aspect of storytelling, the author of this essay uses the example of three stories “told” to her during multiple visits to Colette’s house in 2017. The first uses the house to establish the outsider status of the Colette family in the village; the second relates the experience of Colette’s childhood bedroom to her close relationship with her mother; the third focuses on the garden wall featured in Colette’s story “Le curé sur le mur,” to illustrate how imaginative engagement with the enclosed garden provided insights into how Colette developed her sensibilities as a writer., Publication Note: Selected essay from the Women In French International Conference 2018
Telling (Her)story
Telling (Her)story
In her work Framing Silence (1997), Myriam J. A. Chancy posits that Haitian women writers redefine the status quo rather than depend on a unified understanding of Haitian culture to write their narratives. According to Chancy Haitian women writers offer a feminized version of Haitian History where fiction serves as a conduit for historical discourse that either silences women or refuses to tell their story. Drawing from Chancy’s study of authors who create a space for female voice within a Haitian history that has denied female expression, this paper considers the telling of history in the novels of two contemporary Haitian women writers. In Le Livre d’Emma (2001) and Bain de Lune (2014), Marie-Célie Agnantand Yanick Lahens employ an intermediary in the narrative to uncover the silenced voice of a female protagonist. In Le Livre d’Emma, the eponymous character has been silenced by a paternalistic society that ignores women that speak too loudly and too often. Diagnosed as mentally unsound, Emma relies on Flore, a translator, to tell her story and transmit the historical narrative she has uncovered. In Bain de Lune, a spectral first-person narrator is used to speak for a young woman whose body is found washed ashore. Through a close reading and comparison of these two novels, this paper uncovers the specific narrative devices used by Agnant and Lahens to bring to light feminine voices from the past and considers what these approaches suggest about Haitian women and their relationship to the past., Publication Note: Selected essay from the Women In French International Conference 2018
Voicing Herstory
Voicing Herstory
At the peak of his reign, Louis XIV commissioned several of the best writers of the time to chronicle the story of his reign. Much like in previous historical narratives, female characters were rarely featured and often silenced. However, as twentieth-century feminist criticism has shown, women writers like Mme de Villedieu actively combatted and upended these dynamics of power by rewriting women’s role in historical events in their historical novellas. In Les Désordres de l’amour, Villedieu gives back their rightful place to sixteenth-century female characters and also gives them voices. In doing so, she not only reverses the overwhelming silencing of women in historical narratives but also asserts the power of the female voice, traditionally dismissed as babil, caquet, and rumeur. In what follows, I will show that in focusing on the material noise produced by female speech, in giving her female characters voices, tones, and individual textures, Villedieu writes a her-story that is “not one story” (Elam 37), but rather a space where “several histories (are) underway” at once (Cixous 160). I will first lay out the originality of Villedieu’s own voice. Then, using the first novella of Les Désordres de l’amour as a case study, I will focus on the character of Mme de Sauve, and examine how the paraverbal nuances rendered by Villedieu, by making her unique, also contribute to her success at court. Finally, I will focus on the choral role of the thunderstorm, a metaphor for a female alliance in the text, as a noisy locus of female power., Publication Note: Selected essay from the Women in French International Conference 2018
Women in French Studies
Women in French Studies
Keywords: Feminism, Francophone studies, Creole studies
À contre-silence
À contre-silence
The following article examines the role of sound and silence in the work of the Franco-Algerian author Maïssa Bey, Puisque mon coeur est mort (2010). The text takes the form of an epistolary novel written by a mother, Aïda, to her murdered son, Nadir. Despite the acutely personal histoire which acts as a catalyst for the act of writing, Bey’s protagonist endeavours to speak out for the maternally dispossessed in Algeria—and elsewhere—in order to give voice to a more public Histoire: the textual emphasis on the importance of audibly speaking to her son through her written letters encompasses a political objective of speaking out for all those who have lost a child in Algeria’s bloody décennie noire, leaving a compte rendu of a mother’s profound grief. That account is most vividly conveyed through the many sounds and noises which made up Aïda’s daily life with Nadir and to which she returns repeatedly throughout the work as a source of comfort and strength. She refuses to succumb to both sonic and writerly silence, but seeks to disturb the enforced silence imposed by the Algerian authorities following the execution of Nadir by ‘loudly’ bearing witness to private and political truths. This article argues that the much-quoted adage ‘Speech is silver, but silence is golden’ is both meaningless and politically noxious for those women for whom freedom of expression is denied., Publication Note: Selected essay from the Women In French International Conference 2018

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