Students, staff and faculty gathered last week for the traditional wine and cheese tasting at the Madeleine Center. The more adventurous tried the lesser known “stinkier” cheeses such as Epoisses (from the Alsace region) and Munster (from Burgandy), others stayed with tried and true favorites such as Comté (Franche-Comté) and Sainte-Maure de Touraine (Centre-Val de Loire).
Aviva Shwayder, a Middlebury College student, is currently interning at the La Maison des Journalistes (MDJ), a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting journalists who have fled their countries (such as Syria, Iran, Rwanda, Tunisia, Cuba) and who are now political refugees in France. The MDJ not only provides these journalists temporary housing, but the staff also helps them apply for political asylum, teaches them French, and find employment so that they can integrate into their new community. The journalists are able to continue to pursue their work in the name of freedom of the press by writing for the MDJ’s online publication “L’oeil de l’exilé.” The MDJ also organizes outreach to secondary schools and universities throughout France, explaining the importance of freedom of speech, the press, and human rights. Aviva works in the communications department, where she translates documents, designs promotional material, and assists with weekly events with the journalists.
For more information on the organization and its activities, please see their website: http://www.maisondesjournalistes.org/ .
Students from Paris and Poitiers spent last weekend in Burgandy, famous for its medieval towns and ducal vineyards. Like their classmates in Pau last Saturday, they dressed warmly to brave the cold and to discover the historical city center of Dijon, the capital of the famous Dukes of Burgandy and the mustard capital of the world! The afternoon was spent exploring the region’s wine routes and beautiful landscapes and featured a tour and tasting at the Pommard winery. Sunday morning offered students the unique opportunity to visit the renowned Hospices de Beaune, the medieval hospital founded in 1443 by Nicolas Rolin, Chancelor of the Duke of Burgandy Philippe le Bon, to house the ill and the poor. To top off the weekend, they then saw for themselves the traces of Burgandy’s rich archeological heritage by visiting the site of Bolards in Nuit-Saint-Georges where a town founded in the 1st century BC by the Eduens has recently been uncovered. For more information on Burgandy, please visit the following website : http://www.burgundy-tourism.com/.
Students from Bordeaux spent last Saturday in Pau, the birthplace of King Henri IV (responsible for the Edict of Nantes in 1598 that ended the wars of religion); they braved the cold to discover by foot the historical city center and to visit the royal château where Henri IV was born and then toured a Jurançon vineyard. For information further information on Pau, please see the following website : http://www.pau-pyrenees.com/index.php?lan=UK.
All incoming, 2nd semester students to Bordeaux, Paris and Poitiers just signed the Language Pledge or, as we call it in French, “l’engagement linguistique”, and have committed to only communicating in French for the duration of the program and their stay in France. Bon courage à toutes et à tous! May you all have an exciting linguistic and cultural immersion experience thanks to the Pledge!
For more information on Middlebury College’s Language Pledge, please see the following website : http://www.middlebury.edu/ls/approach/pledge .
Audrey Lasserre, a faculty member in French literature at Middlebury College School in France since 2003, brilliantly defended her doctoral thesis in French Literature at Civilization at the l’Université Sorbonne Nouvelle-Paris 3 on December 3rd. Please click here for her dissertation defense details : http://www.univ-paris3.fr/soutenance-de-these-mme-audrey-lasserre-296151.kjsp?RH=1233068248160
We wish to congratulate her and wish her the best of luck in all her future endeavors, which we hope will still include Middlebury in France. Her successful defense represents the culminating point of years of research and writing (the results of which take the form of a 711 page document) and are proud to share the fact the she already has a publisher interested in the manuscript.
Below you’ll find a short summary of her dissertation :
The Women’s Liberation Movement (MLF) was not only a political and social movement, but one of the last, if not the very last, literary avant-garde that France has experienced. From an international perspective, the activity of the literary women within the movement represents one of the fundamental principles of the fight for women’s rights in France. The demonstrators, who publicly placed a bouquet of flowers for the unknown wife of the Unknown Soldier under the Arc de Triomphe on August 26th 1970, are for some, and are soon to become for others, women writers. Ten years later, the MLF, a recently registered trademark with the National Institute for Intellectual Property Rights, belongs to the editor, Antoinette Fouque, promotor of female writing. Within the space determined by these two fixed points, there exists a collection of texts that adhere to two major trends – although antagonistic – of the movement, Feminism on one hand and Neofeminity, or the praise for “difference”, on the other hand. Mirroring each other, a dual editorial form develops, sharing publishers and scholarly journals, into two distinct literary and militant factions. For ten years, literature served the purpose of the Women’s Liberation Movement as much as the latter promoted literature, each influencing and informing the other by practice and thought. It is precisely this coexistence between literature and the Women’s Liberation Movement that the present dissertation proposes to examine, in order to trace the political movement that was and made itself literary, and, by the same token, a literature that was and made itself political. At the same time, the dissertation continues the question asked of literature by an entire women’s movement, challenging its assigned definitions and pushing back its boundaries.
The city of Bordeaux and the Bordeaux chapter of France Bénévolat organized a reception on December 10th at the town hall in honor of our students who all volunteered their time this semester, in addition to a full courseload. In the presence of Philippe Chevalier, President of France Bénévolat Bordeaux Gironde (http://www.francebenevolat.org/), the Deputy Mayor of Bordeaux, Responsible for Community Engagement, Ms. Anne Drézillon (http://www.bordeaux.fr/ebx/LinkResolverServlet?classofcontent=eluCM&id=2629) individually recognized and thanked the following students for their active participation in and enthusiasm for their respective volunteering expériences : Yerlin Baez and Samuel Chase (Banque alimentaire 33) ; Jake Barker (GP IntenCité) ; Charlotte Fairless (Maison de Marie); Lauren Goff (Société Saint-Vincent de Paul) ; Halle Gustafson (Les Blouses Roses) ; Emilie Munson (Radio CHU) ; Katherine Tercek (Promofemmes) and May Harris (Centre d’Animation Jeunesse de Talence). The School in France wishes to thank again the City of Bordeaux for a lovely evening had by all and especially the team of France Bénévolat in Bordeaux for making this opportunity possible for our students (current and future!) And last but not least a huge thank you to the students in question ; you made a difference this semester and your contribution was visibly much appreciated by your host organizations – merci!