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Research Seminar

April 26 @ 4:00 pm - 5:15 pm


Presenter 1: Kimberly Rooney

Title: Reading the School across the works of Scholastique Mukasonga

Abstract: In her 2012 award-winning novel Notre-Dame du Nil, Scholastique Mukasonga paints the Our Lady of the Nile high school as a crucible of ethnic hate concealed by the veneers of virtue and modernity – a microcosm of 1973 Rwandan society. The novel exposes the institution’s role in disseminating racial conflict and patriarchal violence, yet the strong criticism in Notre-Dame du Nil does not completely align with depictions of the school in the rest of Mukasonga’s corpus. The school is a constant presence throughout Mukasonga’s fictional, autobiographical, and historiographical texts, and each work adds texture and perspective to her larger representation of the educational institution. As an example, I will show how Mukasonga artfully blurs myth and reality to communicate ambivalent feelings towards school and echo historical realities of post-independence Rwanda. Ultimately, I argue that Mukasonga’s extensive portrayals reveal the complex condition of the school in a postcolonial context.


Presenter 2:  Dr. Ullrich Langer

Title: Repose and tranquility of the realm (of France)

Abstract: Why, that is, to what end, does the king govern his kingdom? Why, to what end, does a people form a government? One of these ends is, simply, calm. So that things can be at rest, tranquil, peaceful. This notion of repose is present in innumerable political and poetic texts in the Ancien Régime (and after). What does it mean? Where does it come from?


Presenter 3: Matthieu Schmidt

Title:  Rewriting (with) the Book : the Bible and C.-F. Ramuz

Abstract: Although not well known in France, Charles-Ferdinand Ramuz is the leading figure of what could be a “francophone Swiss literature” that is still very young: it didn’t flourish until the beginning of the twentieth century, in a sociopolitical context that was still predominantly rural, Protestant, and eclectic. According to some critics, the Bible (the only literature that was easily available in this area, and whose reading was encouraged) constitutes the “matrix” of a “French-speaking Swiss literature”, despite the interactions that the authors have with France. My research explores the biblical intertextuality in three works by C.-F. Ramuz, to show how the use of the biblical text is diversified and particular to each work. The Bible, therefore, is not only a simple “picture book” or a “mythological reservoir,” but undergoes a different treatment in each work on many levels, while guaranteeing a certain coherence at the scale of the entire body of work.


April 26
4:00 pm - 5:15 pm
Event Category:


Van Hise Hall, room 256
1220 Linden Drive
Madison, WI 53706 United States