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French and Arabic

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FRENCH_DEPARTMENT

Critical Narratives & Creative Forms

“Critical Narratives & Creative Forms: Fresh Perspectives from the Francophone World” activities run May 1–6, and include readings, lectures, a performance and opportunities to meet with those featured:

  • Linda Brindeau, assistant professor of French, Dickinson College
  • Pascale Julio, Haitian stage actor
  • Ivanka Hahnenberger, translator
  • Taylor Watts ’16, Anthropology/French major

Professor Kristina Kosnick, Department of French and Arabic, remarks, "This week of events highlights artistic, scholarly, and activist work that addresses important issues in the contemporary French-speaking world – notably related to post-colonialism and the ways it intersects with gender, race, class, and environment. Featured presenters and performers engage with these issues through various creative forms including dance, theater, teaching, and literary translation and criticism. Events will expand on topics explored in courses at the College, and also offer opportunities for students, faculty, and members of the Grinnell community to make meaningful transdisciplinary and interpersonal connections with each other, and with our guests."

"We are very excited about our collaboration with the Translation Collective during this week of events since all of the participants will help us broaden the scope of the way in which we conceptualize translation – as cross-cultural, interdisciplinary and/or artistic in nature, for example. We hope that this week’s discussion will enrich our pedagogical or scholarly approaches to our work," adds Professor Gwenola Caradec, Department of French and Arabic.

Events for faculty, students, and staff include a French table lunch with some of the presenters, and a Karaoke night with the French Student Educational Policy Committee.

The events are sponsored by the Center for the Humanities; Center for International Studies; Department of French and Arabic; Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations, and Human Rights; and the Translation Collective.

Public Events

Sunday, May 1

7–8:30 p.m., Rosenfield Center, Room 209
Drop-in Dessert/Cheese Reception with Brindeau, Julio, and Hahnenberger

Monday, May 2

7:30 p.m., Rosenfield Center, Room 101
Brindeau presents “Re-Presenting Haiti: Why We Need Counter-Narratives”

Tuesday, May 3

7:30 p.m., Flanagan Theater, Bucksbaum Center for the Arts
Watts performs “A Choreographic exploration of le commerce triangulaire”

Wednesday, May 4

7:30 p.m., Faulconer Gallery
Hahnenberger reads “Options and Selections: The Trials of a Translator”

Thursday, May 5

4 p.m., Kallaus Lecture Hall, ARH, Room 102
Julio performs dramatic reading of La Couleur de l’aube, by Yanick Lahens

Friday, May 6

Noon, Rosenfield Center, Room 209
Hahnenberger leads round-table discussion: "The Discreet Waiter—The Business of Translating"

Exploring History Through Dance

Taylor Watts ’16 had never danced before taking a salsa lesson during her New Student Orientation. She discovered she loved dance.

Her passion for French goes back a little further, to her sophomore year in high school. Watts is combining both passions in a Mentored Advanced Project (MAP), “A Choreographic Exploration of the ‘commerce triangulaire,’” under the direction of Celeste Miller, assistant professor of theatre and dance.

Watts had the idea for this MAP after several powerful academic experiences. One was a summer MAP in Atlanta, also directed by Miller, working with theatre and dance companies whose work addresses social justice issues.

Another was a semester abroad in Nantes, France. While there she learned about the history of France’s largest slave port in the 18th century in a course taught by a black Frenchman. “Why is it so much easier to study [slavery and race] in a different culture’s history? I was very interested in the class, but I wasn’t going to do anything with it,” Watts says.

When she returned to campus the next semester, Watts took a class on Caribbean authors from Haiti, Guadalupe, and Martinique with Gwenola Caradec, assistant professor of French. The impact of slavery on the Caribbean was a topic that spoke to Watts.

Taylor Watts performanceShe says, “I really questioned doing it because I’m not French or from the Caribbean. Do I have the right to write about this? So I chose words directly from the text. Dance adds another layer of emotionality.”

“Taylor’s ‘Choreographic Exploration’ is a rich example of how dance, because of the undeniability of the body, can be a powerful and visceral use of the arts to examine complex and difficult topics,” Miller says. ”It is a choreographed embodiment drawn from research into both her topic and the aesthetic of the art form of dance.”

“Because of the emphasis spoken French places on connecting each word so that a sentence flows together, just listening to French I can visualize movement,” Watts says.

Watts was already planning the MAP when she heard about the France on Campus Award competition. She had just watched the film The Royal Tenenbaums, written and directed by Wes Anderson, one of the France on Campus Award patrons. The timing seemed auspicious. She won second place.

Watts will perform her work at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 3, in Flanagan Studio Theatre in the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts. As part of her award, she also will receive mentoring from the French Embassy and from Kickstarter to raise funds that will enable her to perform the work on other U.S. college campuses. 

Taylor Watts ’16 is a French and anthropology double major from Sacramento, Calif.

Timbuktu at The Strand

Timbuktu, winner of seven Cesar Awards including Best Picture, will be shown at 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14, at The Strand Theatre, 921 Main St., Grinnell. The screening is free and open to the public.

The film centers on proud cattle herder Kidane, who lives peacefully in the dunes with his wife, Satima, his daughter, Toya, and Issan, their 12-year-old shepherd. Their home is near the ancient Malian city of Timbuktu in the West African nation of Mali.

Jihadists determined to control the faith of Timbuktu residents have imposed a grinding interpretation of Sharia law. Music, laughter, cigarettes and even soccer have been banned. Kidane and his family have avoided the chaos that reigns in Timbuktu — but their destiny changes suddenly after a tragic accident.

A nominee for the 2015 Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, Timbuktu also garnered seven of France's Cesar Awards. In addition to Best Picture, the film won Best Director for Abderrahmane Sissako, Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Music, Best Film Editing, and Best Sound.

Timbuktu is rated PG-13 (for violence and thematic elements). Sponsors of the screening are the French and Arabic department, Center for the Humanities, Center for International Studies, Intercultural Affairs, and the Cultural Film Committee.

Balanced Performance

Ever wonder about handling the rigors of both academics and athletics at Grinnell?

Fully one third of Grinnell’s student body participates in varsity athletics. And while many Grinnell students achieve big things in sports (search Jack Taylor 138), all Grinnell student athletes find their own way to combine passion for athletics with academic priorities.

Anushka Joshi ’18 holds tennis racket with book, balls balanced on topAnushka Joshi ’18 came to campus two weeks before classes to prepare for the fall tennis season. “Coach (Andy Hamilton ’85) sends us a workout schedule for summer, so he expects us to be in top form with our tennis as well as our fitness,” Joshi says. “The first two weeks we played five hours a day.”  

Joshi is among six to eight players on the squad of 20 who traveled most weekends and played every Saturday until fall break in October. This year, having built a 9-1 record in a tie for second place after fall conference play, the team will also have a short spring season before going to the 2016 NCAA automatic qualifier tournament.  

Joshi says sports at The British School in her native Nepal were not nearly as intense as they are at Grinnell. She handled her first year here fairly easily. But with 200-level courses this year, she questioned if she could pull it off all season.

“The first weekend, six of us played for six hours straight,” Joshi says. “I was thinking ‘can I do this every week?’ I had so much studying to do on Sunday. But, I mean, I couldn’t quit. We have seniors on our team doing biochem and they’re managing, so I thought to myself ‘I can do this, too.’”

Joshi says getting a head start on her reading and doing homework as soon as it is assigned are strategies for a workable balance.

“It’s a handful, but it’s fun,” Joshi says, “Definitely you have to focus on academics, because it is academics first at Grinnell.”

Joel Baumann ’18 says athletics and academics fit together well at Grinnell because “coaches here respect academics. They’re very clear on emphasizing that you are always a student first.”

Baumann runs cross country and specializes in the 800 meters during indoor and outdoor track seasons. Training is “pretty much continuous” with a two or three week break between each season. “For all intents and purposes, it’s year-long running,” he says.

This fall Baumann is combining a rigorous cross country regimen with macro economics, a 200-level poli sci course, French, and environmental studies. “We have an open curriculum and a wide variety of courses to choose from, so I’m able to schedule my day in a way that makes sense for me,” Baumann says.

On a typical day Baumann goes to class the entire morning, then works afternoons in the Admission office as overnight host coordinator for prospective male students. He takes an hour to relax or study before a two-hour practice that starts at 4:15 p.m. Following dinner with the team, his evenings are dedicated to homework for the next day.

Baumann says daily discipline “allows your body and your mind to adjust to doing certain things at certain times throughout the day.

“I enjoy being in athletics because it forces you to plan your day and develop good time management skills,” Baumann says. “You have to be really strict with your regimen.”

Anushka Joshi ’18 is from Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Nepal. She is considering computer science and economics as possible majors, and hopes to study abroad next year. Joel Baumann ’18, a native of Grinnell, intends to pursue a double major in political science and economics.

Alumni Begin Year of Service

This August, a dozen Grinnell alumni began a year of service through the Lutheran Volunteer Corps (LVC), a national service-leadership program that unites people to work for peace with justice. The program is popular among Grinnellians, and Grinnellians are popular with the organization, as well. Holding more than 10% of the 104 positions, the Grinnellians represent the largest group of alumni from any college or university in this year’s cohort of volunteers.

After the week of intensive training and orientation on topics including anti-racism work, self-care and intercultural communication, the volunteers dispersed to 13 U.S. cities, each person committed to serve full-time for one year with a particular social justice organization, while practicing simple, sustainable living in household communities of four to seven people.

The Grinnell alumni are serving in a variety of positions — including case managers, program assistants, and academic associates — and in everything from marketing and communications to farm and gardens to academics. They will serve in six cities this year:

Chicago, Ill.
Hannah Bernard ’15, Chicago Community Loan Fund
Elaine Fang ’15, Lakeview Pantry
Eleni Irrera ’14, Free Spirit Media
Katherine Quinn ’15, Lincoln Park Community Shelter
Milwaukee, Wis.
Ankita Sarawagi ’15, Bread of Healing Clinic
Seattle, Wash.
Rebecca Carpenter ’15, Jewish Family Service
Tacoma, Wash.
Fatima Cervantes ’15, L’Arche Tahoma Hope
Brittany Hubler ’15, L’Arche Tahoma Hope
Twin Cities, Minn.
Jordan Schellinger ’15, Twin Cities’ Habitat for Humanity
Alex Sharfman ’15, Our Saviour's Community Services
Washington, D.C.
Georgina Haro ’15, La Clinica del Pueblo
Alexa Stevens ’15, Thurgood Marshall Academy

The LVC says they are “proud of the continued partnership with Grinnell College and congratulates these 12 Grinnellians as they begin their year of service!”

LVC, affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, is open to persons from all spiritual traditions and welcomes people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered in all aspects of the organization. It supports volunteers as they explore the spiritual aspects of justice, community, and sustainability.

The Grinnell alumni earned degrees in a wide variety of areas: anthropology, art, biological chemistry, economics, French, psychology, philosophy, political science, Russian, sociology, and Spanish.

Synchronizing Mind and Body

Wellness on Grinnell’s campus comes in as many forms as its students have passions, and they don’t have to be strictly athletic passions.

Synchronized swimming has been a fixture in Tea Cakarmis ’17’s life since her childhood, and it wasn’t something she could leave behind her when she came to Grinnell. After arriving on campus, she formed the Grinnell Synchronized Swimming Club to keep synchro in her life and make it possible for other students — regardless of skill level, body type, or experience — to fall in love with it as she has.

Bringing Synchro to Grinnell

I envisioned the Grinnell Synchronized Swimming Club as a community, one that encourages both artistic expression and the development of athletic abilities.

At the age of 13, I was selected as a swimmer of the Serbian National Synchronized Swimming Team. I was both petrified and extremely honored. The five years I spent on the team before coming to Grinnell have been the most meaningful of my life. My teammates became my sisters as we shared countless hours of training, frustrations at being away from home, and pride in our accomplishments.

Swimmer performing move in a pool is mirrored by the pool's surface above.While competing internationally, we traveled together from Jerusalem to Geneva, we made countless friends and memories, and we spread our love for a unique sport that unifies ballet, gymnastics, swimming, and theatre. We performed routines requiring physical abilities equal to those of any other professional athletes — endurance, core strength, and flexibility. And we executed our routines gracefully, in sync, and while smiling — even underwater, we smiled. Although we were all too aware of the fact that our sport enjoyed little recognition in our country, we knew the value of what we were doing; we were our country’s ambassadors, painting the accurate picture of our people and our culture through our talent.

Through it all, the competitions and the pressure, synchro always remained my safe space. And it’s because it is such a beautiful mixture of all different athletic and artistic disciplines that it allows the performer to communicate any type of emotion or state of mind. It gives the performer an ability to enact their own reality or create a completely new one in the water. Because it is so subjective and open to interpretation, I believe that it is enhanced by the diversity of its performers.

Synchronized swimming is traditionally viewed as a sport that strictly prescribes the body type of the performer and thus excludes a lot of possible perspectives on the discipline. Although this remains somewhat true even today, the sport in general is becoming more accepting. I formed the Grinnell Synchro Club in that spirit. I wanted all of my club members to establish their own unique approaches to synchro.

Forming the Grinnell Synchro Club offered me yet another opportunity to be an ambassador, to represent the sport I love and my home country. It is a club that, to my surprise and excitement, has been growing during the past year. During my year abroad it will be led by two inspirational swimmers — Zala Tomasic ’18 and Tess Fisher ’18 — and it will be accepting all new members, with any level of experience.

Author Teodora Cakarmis ’17 is a French and political science double major from Belgrade, Serbia; Tess Fisher ’18 is an undeclared major from Oak Park, Ill.; and Zala Tomasic ’18 is an undeclared major from Skofja Loka, Slovenia.

Against Reason: Anti/Enlightenment Prints

“Against Reason: Anti/Enlightenment Prints by Callot, Hogarth, Piranesi and Goya,” an art exhibition exploring the darker side of the Enlightenment, also known as the Age of Reason, opens Friday, April 3, at the Faulconer Gallery, Bucksbaum Center for the Arts.

Beginning in the mid-seventeenth century, Enlightenment thinkers in Britain, France, and elsewhere in Europe began to question religious and political authority, embracing the notion that humanity could be improved through critical reasoning. The Enlightenment produced scientific discoveries, legislative reform, pioneering philosophical texts, wars, and revolutions. It also supported the institution of slavery. 

Featuring prints by Jacques Callot, William Hogarth, Giovanni Battista Piranesi and Francisco de Goya y Lucientes, "Against Reason" examines the dangers of secularism, nationalism and a scientific method that dismisses rather than exalts the qualities that make us both human and humane.

The exhibition, which is free and open to the public, was curated by Timothy McCall ’15, Maria Shevelkina ’15, Dana Sly ’15, Emma Vale ’15, Elizabeth Allen ’16, Mai Pham ’16, and Hannah Storch ’16. The students worked under the direction of J. Vanessa Lyon, assistant professor of art history, during a fall 2014 exhibition seminar.

"With Good Reason: Conversations, Celebration and Music" will be held at Faulconer Gallery at 4:15 p.m. Friday, April 17, featuring the opportunity to speak with student curators and hear music from the Enlightenment period. Faculty members from the departments of philosophy, English, and French will join student curators in a roundtable discussion on the themes of the exhibition at 4:15 p.m. Tuesday, April 28, at the gallery.

"Against Reason" will be on view through Sunday, Aug. 2. The Faulconer Gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. This exhibition includes a loan of four prints from Legacies for Iowa: A University of Iowa Museum of Art Collections Sharing Project, supported by the Matthew Bucksbaum Family.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Bucksbaum Center for the Arts has accessible parking in a lot behind the building just north of Sixth Ave. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations.

 

Business Pursuits

Psychology major Fanchao (Frank) Zhu ’15 never expected to receive intensive business preparation as a liberal arts student. A scholarship through the College’s Center for Careers, Life, and Service (CLS) has changed his perspective.

The psychology major from Nanjing, China attended the prestigious Stanford University Summer Institute in General Management that he describes as “a mini-MBA.”

“The program gave me a taste of everything in business,” says Zhu, who works in his family’s small chain of restaurants. “Now I know what I am really passionate about in business — entrepreneurship and marketing.”

Liberal arts and business can combine into a powerful mix. Just peek into the college backgrounds of CEOs at some of the nation’s most well known companies. Hiring professionals also prize liberal arts students who can think creatively and critically.

Business Binge

The summer business programs inspire students and complement Grinnell.

“When coupled with their academic and co-curricular experiences at Grinnell, these summer programs expand and refine the participants’ soft and hard skills as they prepare for their post-graduate careers in business and other sectors of the economy,” says Mark Peltz, Daniel ’77 and Patricia Jipp Finkelman ’80 Dean in the Center for Careers, Life, and Service.

Frank Zhu and Thatcher HealyLast summer, Zhu and Thatcher Healy ’16 (pictured) attended the Stanford Institute and Chi Nguyen ’15 and Joseph Wlos ’16 attended the University of Chicago’s Booth Summer Business Scholars Program.

Students studied finance, corporate operations, marketing, accounting, and human resources. They also interacted with professors, other students, and local business professionals. Students visited companies such as Intel, which was co-founded by Robert N. Noyce ’49.

Value of Studying Business

Healy, a biological chemistry major from Mill Valley, Calif., wanted to learn more about the business side of biotech.

“The Stanford program helped me understand how I could apply what I’ve been learning in Grinnell to a job in the future,” Healy says. “I feel equipped to market myself to a business or start my own business if I wanted to.”

All students can benefit from having a business background, Healy says.

“It is pertinent to most all fields of study,” he says. “Especially for those seniors who are lost on what to do after undergrad or how to apply their expertise into a lucrative career.”

The program has excited Nguyen about the possibility of earning an MBA after graduation. She especially liked working with a diverse mix of students from around the world.

“Academically, the concepts that I learn will help me with my senior seminar in macro finance,” she says. “Activities from the program also inspired me to start some similar workshops about business and professional skills in Grinnell.”

Opportunities for Summer 2015

Next summer 2015, CLS will offer two scholarships to Chicago’s Booth Program, which Peltz said fits well with Grinnell’s priorities. Scholarships include tuition, housing, most meals, and a travel stipend.

Fanchao (Frank) Zhu ’15 is a psychology major from Nanjing, China. Thatcher Healy ’16 is a biological chemistry major from Mill Valley, Calif. Chi Nguyen ’15 is a French and economics double major from Ha Noi, Vietnam. Joseph Wlos ’16 is a political science major from Crete, Ill.

Standing for Parliament

Win or lose, Todd Foreman ’95 will start a new chapter in his political life on May 7, 2015, election day in the United Kingdom. Foreman is the Labour Party candidate for North East Somerset, a constituency in southwest England. If elected, he’ll serve in the House of Commons along with 649 other Members of Parliament.

“This was the right time in my life to stand for Parliament,” Foreman says. “I don’t like what the current government is doing to health care nor the widening gap between rich and poor,.” Foreman says.

“Politics is something I’ve been passionate about for as long as I can remember,” says Foreman, a political science and French double major. He won a Watson Fellowship that set him firmly on the political path.

During his yearlong fellowship, he worked for the Labour parties in New Zealand, Australia, and the United Kingdom. He examined the ways the party could advance equality for women, ethnic minorities, and lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. “My fellowship shaped my political values and political thinking,” he says. “I knew that in the Labour Party I had found my political home.”

Foreman earned a law degree at the University of Pennsylvania and in 2001 moved to London to practice law with an international law firm. He’s currently taking a break from his job with Axiom, an alternative legal services provider, where he specializes in banking and financial services law.

Banking is one of the issues Foreman cares deeply about. He earned a master’s in banking and finance law from King’s College, London, and his experience in the banking field is one of the reasons the Labour Party selected him to stand for this election.

“During the financial crisis in 2008 where taxpayers had to bail out banks and are still paying for it, that issue really resonates with people in North East Somerset,” Foreman says. “Bankers are not being held accountable. I think my experience as a lawyer will be valuable in Parliament.”

If he wins his election, Foreman has promised to be a full-time MP and not take outside work. And if Labour wins enough seats, Foreman says the party will crack down on MPs being allowed to have second jobs. He notes that his opponent, Jacob Rees-Mogg, a Conservative elected in 2010, works for a hedge fund in addition to his MP duties.

“I’m standing against one of the most right-wing MPs sitting in Parliament now,” Foreman says. “I don’t think he’s serving the priorities of the vast majority of people living in North East Somerset.”

If Foreman wins, this will not be his first successful race. In May 2014, he completed a term as a councilor, an elected position at the city government level, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in London.

Foreman has since moved to the North East Somerset constituency with his spouse Mark Sutter. The two were married Dec. 22, 2014. “We are a partnership politically as well,” Foreman says. They’re both working full-time, unpaid, on the campaign.

Election campaigns in Britain are “very focused on door-step campaigning, going out and knocking on doors and meeting people,” Foreman says. Approximately 70,000 voters live in the constituency near Bath.

Money is needed, of course, but much less than in U.S. campaigns, he says. Money is raised for running the campaign headquarters, staff, leaflets, etc. Individual candidates aren’t allowed to do television or radio advertising.

Originally from Kansas, Foreman became a British citizen in 2006.

Handel’s ‘Esther’

The Lyra Baroque Orchestra, a professional period-instrument ensemble from Minneapolis, will join forces with the Grinnell Singers to perform Handel’s Esther.

The Performance

The concert will start at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 1, in Sebring-Lewis Hall. Although the concert is free and open to the public, tickets are required. Tickets may be picked up at the Bucksbaum Center box office beginning at noon on Monday, Feb. 23. For more information, call the box office at 641-269-4444.

Members of the orchestra will perform on replicas of instruments in use during the 18th century, including a full complement of string instruments, as well as oboes, horns and trumpets. Iowa Public Radio plans to record the performance to be broadcast across the state at a later date.

Handel’s oratorio tells the story of Esther, the Jewish queen of Persia, as she acts courageously to save her people from destruction.

The production will feature guest soloists:

  • Linh Kauffman, soprano, as Queen Esther
  • Seth Keeton, baritone, as the villain Haman
  • Richard Joseph, tenor, as the King of Persia
  • Craig Lemming, tenor, as Esther’s Uncle Mordecai
  • Nicholas Miguel, baritone, as the Priest of the Israelites

Grinnell College Blanche Johnson Professor of Music John Rommereim will conduct.

The Panel Discussion

The performance will be preceded on Friday, Feb. 20, by a panel discussion titled “Stories Told and Retold: Handel’s Esther and Narratives of Oppression and Genocide from Biblical Times to the Present.”

The discussion will start at 4:15 p.m. in Lawson Lecture Hall, Bucksbaum Center for the Arts Room 152. The panel will include Rommereim as well as:

Jacque Ogg, musical director of Lyra Baroque Orchestra will play harpsichord. The orchestra also includes Grinnell Music faculty member Guinevere McIntyre playing on natural horn.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Bucksbaum Center for the Arts has accessible parking in the rear of the building north of Sixth Ave., and Sebring-Lewis Hall is fully accessible. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations.