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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

French department hosts francophone week

Taylor Watts ’16 unveils her project, “A Choreographic exploration of le commerce triangulaire.ß” Photo by Alberto Vazquez
Taylor Watts ’16 unveils her project, “A Choreographic exploration of le commerce triangulaire.ß” Photo by Alberto Vazquez
Taylor Watts ’16 unveils her project, “A Choreographic exploration of le commerce triangulaire.ß” Photo by Alberto Vazquez


After one speaker turned into two and then more, Professor Gwenola Caradec, French, and Post-Doctoral Fellow and Lecturer Kristina Kosnick organized a whole week celebrating the Francophone World from May 1 through May 6.

Caradec and Kosnick, with the financial support of the Center for Humanities, the Rosenfield Program, Translation Collective, the Center for International Studies and the French and Arabic Department, brought Hatian actress Pascale Julio, French Scholar Linda Brindeau and translator Ivanka Hahnenberger to host events and give talks about their work in the French-speaking world.

“We often don’t think about graphic novels or films so much and that was really part of the momentum [for organiziwng the week],” Caradec said. “[We also wanted to] represent other countries as well — Haiti, the Caribbean — and show how translation can help a student communicate not just different genres but different cultures, and that was really the spirit.”

Caradec did not set out to plan a week of events, but when she invited a colleague who studies Haiti and that colleague knew Julio, Caradec and Kosnick decided to tie both events with Hahenberger’s visit to Taylor Watt’s choreographic interpretation about the slave trade.

“In courses we’re so often reading or maybe watching a film or looking at other cultural documents, but to have the opportunity to bring other people in these fields to campus to have conversations and create another dimension is part of what we wanted to do with the week,” Kosnick said. “It’s also interesting to see Pascale’s translation of [how] an actor interprets a written text and renders it on the stage … That’s a kind of translation.”

Caradec and Kosnick are both excited about international aspect of the week — instead of just highlighting accomplished French people, the week celebrates Hatian and American work as well.

“I am really benefiting from seeing people in the field,” said French department secretary Colleen Moser ’16. “So often we’re sitting in class, focusing on a literary text and we forget that the French major can be applied in a professional context, in an artistic context, in ways we don’t think about.”

Hahnenberger’s visit also ties into the work French students are doing in Kosnick’s senior seminar, where French majors are reading “Blue is the Warmest Color,” which Hahneberger translated. During her Wednesday reading entitled “Options and Selections: The Trials of a Translator,” Hahnenberger discussed the difficulty of translating the meaning of words within graphic novels.

“When we have events like this, it just reminds me of how glad I am to go to a place like Grinnell, where we have opportunities like this … where you can talk to them on a more personal level,” said Acadia Broussard ’19, an intended French major.

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