[PAST EVENT] 2022 Fauvel Lecture in French & Francophone Studies

February 25, 2022
4:30pm - 5:45pm
Online (Zoom)
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  • Open to the public
2022 Fauvel Lecture - Denis Provencher on Abdellah Taïa
2022 Fauvel Lecture - Denis Provencher on Abdellah Taïa

Abdellah Taïa’s Transflilial Myth Making and Unfaithful Realms of Memory (online lecture - contact [[mdll]] for Zoom link). In this lecture, Denis M. Provencher briefly presents recent work in French and Francophone Studies where scholars like Etienne Achille, Charles Forsdick, and Lydie Moudileno examine the postcolonial sites of memory and mythmaking both in and beyond the Hexagon that continue to erase the memory making for communities of color in France. Next, and in contrast to this scholarship, Provencher illustrates through an analysis of Moroccan author Abdellah Taïa’s writings that while queer Maghrebi French speakers may be initially drawn to the French Republic and its associated cultural mythologies and realms of memory first discovered through films and books -- like Jean Genet or Isabelle Adjani among others -- they will sooner or later decolonize them and propose new “non-white” and Arabicized models of belonging in the postcolonial, the French, and the transnational contexts because of their sense of disconnection and disidentification with their homeland and also France. While Taïa is not a postcolonial French subject creating a new set of cultural myths or realms of memory for all citizens of the Hexagon, he does assemble from a distance to the French metropole a different set of cultural codes and signifiers that are not necessarily always and already linked to colonial memory. Hence, Provencher illustrates that Taïa moves beyond the binary of France and its former colonies and proposes new tranfilial (transnational and transgressive) paths forward to a more understanding space of belonging for queers of color in the Francosphère and in the world. In sum, Taïa’s work involves global bodies and transfilial signifiers, like Marilyn Monroe and James Baldwin, which is largely due to the desire among queer migratory individuals to seek new forms of queer and neoliberal belonging on a global scale but also to combat forms of isolation, unrealized dreams and cruel optimism as well as impossible citizenship in the context of the postcolonial metropolis of Paris.

Denis M. Provencher is Professor of French and Francophone studies in the Department of French and Italian and affiliate faculty in Anthropology, Gender and Women's Studies, the Institute for LGBT Studies, Linguistics, and Second Language Acquisition and Teaching. His main interests include French civilization and cultural studies, language, gender and sexuality, migration and diaspora studies, conversation and discourse analysis, intercultural pragmatics and critical intercultural communication. Provencher is the author of Queer French: Globalization, Language, and Sexual Citizenship in France (Ashgate/Routledge, 2007) and Queer Maghrebi French: Language, Temporalities, Transfiliations (Liverpool UP, 2017). Queer Maghrebi French won the 2017 Ruth Benedict Book Prize, Honorable Mention, from the Association of Queer Anthropology of the American Anthropological Association. With Siham Bouamer, he has co-edited the volume Abdellah Taïa's Queer Migrations: Non-Places, Affect, and Temporalities (Lexington Books, 2021). He is currently preparing a new co-edited volume with Bouamer and Ryan Schroth on Queer Realms of Memory, building on the work of Pierre Nora. Provencher is also conducting fieldwork in Ottawa and Montréal, Canada for a new monograph on Queer Québec Diaspora. He will be on leave in spring 2022 to pursue this work as part of the Chaire Moblité Francophone Program at L’Université d’Ottawa and will be working at the Centre de recherche en civilisation canadienne-française.


Michael Leruth, [[mfleru]] (for more information) - [[mdll]] (for Zoom link)