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Germaine Brée Events

The Germaine Brée Lecture, held annually or biannually, honors Germaine Brée (1907-2001), the internationally renowned scholar of twentieth-century French literature often credited with the popularization of French studies in the United States. Brée was a Professor of French and a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Research in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin from 1960-1973. She directed the Institute in 1964-1965 and left a generous bequest to the Institute to sponsor lectures and conferences of wide interest to the campus and community.

Please visit the Germaine Brée Lecture page for more information and for a list of past lectures. All lectures are open to the public.

Recent Germaine Brée Events

March 31, 2016 4:00 PM
L160 Conrad A. Elvehjem Building
Germaine Brée Lecture
Jean-Pierre Bekolo
Filmmaker and Activist

Jean-Pierre Bekolo (1966, Yaounde) is an avant-garde filmmaker and socio-cultural activist whose imaginative work overturns stereotypes of Africa and African cinema. His entertaining films operate on multiple layers, engaging viewers with thrilling stories, biting humor and dramatic aesthetics.

An advocate of artistic freedom, Bekolo is committed to realizing Africa’s philosophies and cultures. Quartier Mozart shows the hybridity, complexity and humor in urban Yaounde in a playful, hip-hop reinvention of a traditional tale about gender, power, magic and politics. Aristotle’s Plot parodies rules and definitions, action movies and ‘African’ cinema made for European audiences, while aesthetically reflecting on the nature of existence, its ambiguities and absence of rigid categories. Aiming to incite viewers to conceive an alternate reality, his fake documentary The President is a hilarious, biting satire on African leaders who cling to power, and his dystopian, sci-fi comic thriller with stunning surreal visuals, Les Saignantes, presents extreme corruption, feminism, social decay and intergenerational conflict for review.

Bekolo’s work on the re-representation of Africa also includes insightful documentaries that seek to educate, such as Grandmother’s Grammar on groundbreaking Senegalese filmmaker Djibril Diop Mambety, and Les Choses et Les Mots de Mudimbe on the renowned Congolese philosopher, multi-linguist and uber-polymath.

Part of a Screening and Lecture Series

Monday, 03/28:
2:25pm, 104 Van Hise : "Life after Life," for a discussion on the film "Les Saignantes" in Vlad Dima's undergraduate class

Tuesday, 03/29:
2:25pm, 483 Van Hise  : Visit with Prof. Névine El-Nossery's graduate course on Francophone literature and film.

Wednesday, 03/30:
12pm, 206 Ingraham Hall : Africa-at-Noon series, an informal interview with the director
Title: "Conversations: Jean-Pierre Bekolo and Cinema" (led by Prof. Dima) on various issues.

Thursday, 03/31:
4pm, L160 Elvehjem : A Germaine Brée Lecture Series : "Le Président: Africa for the Future"
Campus-wide presentation (in English) on the current state of African cinema, followed by a screening of one of the director's films and a brief Q&A

Friday, 04/01:
4pm at the French House : Informal presentation (in French) on Mr. Bekolo's general artistic process, reasons for making films, politics etc.
Reception to follow.

October 29, 2014 7:00 PM
212 University Club Building
Germaine Brée Lecture
Simon Gaunt
French, King's College London

Traditional literary histories tend to be centrifugal, tracing trajectories that move outwards from a strong and identifiable center towards peripheral zones. This lecture suggests an alternative history of medieval literature in French, one that is centripetal rather than centrifugal. Focusing initially on three key places and epochs in the development of literature in French outside France (England in the 1130s and 40s; Flanders in the 1200s; Italy in the late thirteenth century), this lecture will ask how the traditional canon looks different when a more diverse geographical arena and a less Franco-centric optic is taken into account.

Simon Gaunt has taught at the University of Cambridge and King's College London, where he has been Head of French and Dean of Arts and Humanities. His books include Gender and Genre in Medieval French Literature (1995), Martyrs to Love: Love and Death in Medieval French and Occitan Courtly Literature (2006) and Marco Polo's Le Devisement du Monde: Narrative Voice, Language and Diversity (2013). He is co-editor of The Troubadours: An Introduction (1999), Marcabru: A Critical Edition (2000) and The Cambridge Companion to Medieval French Literature. He is currently working on the cultural value and contours of French outside France in the Middle Ages.

October 31, 2013 (All day)
H.F. DeLuca Forum, Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, 330 N. Orchard St.
Germaine Brée Lecture
Sahar Elmougy
Shereen Abouelnaga
Souad Halila
May Telmissany
Aili Tripp

Increasing confrontations with totalitarian regimes in the Middle East and Africa have prompted women to find new ways to cope with political expression and national disenchantment. The dynamics in these movements are complex and sometimes paradoxical. While revolutionary rhetoric celebrates women’s agency, post-revolutionary discourses often instrumentalize them as the bearers of national identity. On the one hand, women find new ways of becoming the subjects of their own history, on the other hand they are summoned to fulfill specific roles in the nation, such as reproduction and the protection of traditional (national) values.

This symposium proposes to reflect primarily on Arab and African women’s aesthetic and artistic forms of resistance, and to expand our understanding of the contemporary means of protest they deploy to subvert social constructions and barriers. The symposium also proposes to discuss the gender/feminist artistic and aesthetic strategies that advocate for new relational possibilities between genders, between citizens and the state, and across ethnic, classes, space and national divides.

November 29, 2012 5:00 PM
French House, 633 N. Frances Street
Germaine Brée Lecture
Azouz Begag
Writer, CNRS Researcher, Equal Opportunity Minister (2005-2007)

Azouz Begag, an internationally acclaimed French writer, has published more than twenty books, most of which are subject to various problems faced by the youth of North African origin, caught between two cultures as well as between tradition and modernism: poverty, racism, unemployment, self-destruction, and despair. Originally Algerian, Azouz Begag was born in the suburbs of Lyon in France in 1957. He holds a PhD in Economics from the University Lyon 2 and leads from the front three careers: novelist, sociologist and politician. Researcher at the CNRS and the House of Social and Human Sciences in Lyon since 1980, he is a specialist in socio-urban economy: his work is largely on the mobility of immigrant populations in urban areas.

October 30, 2012 5:00 PM
L140 Conrad A. Elvehjem Building
Germaine Brée Lecture
Azouz Begag
Writer, CNRS Researcher, Equal Opportunity Minister (2005-2007)

This talk will be followed by a screening of Le gone du Chaâba.

Azouz Begag, an internationally acclaimed French writer, has published more than twenty books, most of which are subject to various problems faced by the youth of North African origin, caught between two cultures as well as between tradition and modernism: poverty, racism, unemployment, self-destruction, and despair. Originally Algerian, Azouz Begag was born in the suburbs of Lyon in France in 1957. He holds a PhD in Economics from the University Lyon 2 and leads from the front three careers: novelist, sociologist and politician. Researcher at the CNRS and the House of Social and Human Sciences in Lyon since 1980, he is a specialist in socio-urban economy: his work is largely on the mobility of immigrant populations in urban areas.