Research Seminar 2016-2017

François Tochon

Poetry, Depth, and Displaced Children

I will first present my recovered book of French poetry, “Béryls de l’aube.” Then I will introduce the field of “Deep,” with the creation of a Deep Approach to world languages and cultures, Deep University Press, Deep University International, and the concept of Deep Education at large.  How can Deep Education be of service to language learners, in particular heritage learners and refugee children?  Many multi-generational refugees today experience hate crimes, discrimination and racism.  Identity politics includes citizenship, group belonging, and language: all play out in schools. I am starting an international and comparative study of how language teachers welcome or not and deal with refugee children in Bouches-du-Rhône and Provence, Andalusia, and Wisconsin.  My presentation will be in French.


Tessa Sermet

A Train that Never Stops: The Cyclical and the Linear in Le Transperceneige/Snowpiercer

The presentation will focus on the tension between the cyclical and the linear in the French graphic novel “Le Transperceneige” (1982) and its cinematic adaptation “Snowpiercer” (2013): indeed, the train’s cyclical and never ending journey around the globe is an attempt to maintain an autarkic and totalitarian social system, while the 3rd class passengers’ progression to the front and to the “Sacred Engine” is a disruption of that very system. 


Kristin Phillips-Court

Vasari’s Unforced Error

Drawing on my book, Vasari’s Literary Art, I will offer an exegesis of Raphael’s monumental Parnassus fresco in relation to Vasari’s pseudo-Petrarchan description of it, which creates a narrative stand-still in the Vite (Lives of the Artists, 1550 and 1568).  We know that there is a material discrepancy between the Parnassus as it appears in the Stanza della Segnatura and Vasari’s description of it. Why did Vasari not alter his description between 1550 and 1568?  Scholars generally agree that Vasari relied on Raimondi prints and other aide-memoires for his revision of the Vite. How much access Vasari had to the Vatican rooms after he first viewed the frescoin 1532 remains a point of debate. Nonetheless, the author’s final description (willfully?) conflates aspects of the print and of Raphael’s portrayal. Exercising his prerogative to err, Vasari creates a separate experience that is not analogous to viewing the fresco. I consider how and why Vasari sought to create a Petrarchan pastoral ethos in this passage that is arguably also an aesthetic failure.

This seminar will feature presentations of ongoing scholarly work by the graduate students, academic staff and faculty of the department, and a lively discussion following.  The languages will be English, French and Italian.  Discussion will be held in English.  For further information please contact Ullrich Langer (, Caitlin Schaer ( or Lauren Surovi (