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David Birdsong, Chair 201 W 21ST STREET STOP B7600, HRH 2.114A, AUSTIN, TX 78712 • 512-471-5531

Hélène Tissières

Associate Professor Ph.D., New York University

Hélène Tissières

Contact

Biography

Research

Hélène Tissières's work is interested in breaking down barriers between North and sub-Saharan Africa and between the arts. In her book Ecritures en transhumance entre Maghreb et Afrique subsaharienne(2007), she investigates several circulations: geographic – between North and sub-Saharan Africa; cultural – between orality and writing; and aesthetic – between literature and painting. This led her also to analyze the silences that arise from fragmented writing. The authors refer to history and to the political situation. At times they propose an inner quest through initiation, ritual or mystical concepts in order to bypass daily problems, thus enriching their narratives with complex cultural perspectives. In the chapter drawing links between writing and painting, she shows that the writers Khatibi, Meddeb and Farès refer to signs or painting in order to transmit information that goes beyond language. This approach emphasizes that the arts are closely linked throughout the continent and that signs migrate from one object or medium to another. The second part of the book documents these circulations in the works of four writers: the Tunisian Abdelwahab Meddeb, whose texts refer to contemporary painting, tracing a parallel between abstraction and Sufism; the Cameroonian Werewere Liking and the Congolese Tchicaya U Tam’Si, both of whom incorporate elements from the oral tradition and are inspired by ritual or divination systems; and the Algerian Assia Djebar who turns to visual images, moving away from relying solely on the use of language. 

Thanks to a Fulbright she received, she taught at the University of Cheick Anta Diop in Dakar, Senegal, from 2003-05 and has ever since been writing on the Dakar biennale.  Her second book entitled Créations et défis au Sénégal, Diop, Sembene, Diadji (2012) is about the works of three Senegalese figures: Boubacar Boris Diop, novelist, Ousmane Sembene, writer and filmmaker, and Iba Ndiaye Diadji, art critic. It examines how they position themselves to question social norms, political or religious absolutes, international prerogatives. In Senegal, where the practice of Maslaa regulates people’s exchanges and promotes tolerance and politeness, this study shows how these writers confront taboos (role of women, corruption, social inequalities), while unsettling norms. And this brings her to discuss in the conclusion the role played by rappers in Senegal in particular Didier Awadi, presenting the different approaches created to confront the problems faced.

Interested in the way the arts are intertwined throughout Africa, she has been writing on literature, visual arts (in particular painting), film and music. Her book Ecritures en transhumance (2007) will appear in English (2011, translated by Marjolijn de Jager) at Virginia University Press.

Research Subject Headings: Language

Affiliated Research/Academic Unit

Interests

African and Caribbean Francophone literatures, African and French film, African contemporary art, African music, Biennale of Dakar.

FR 340C • The Arts In France

37140 • Fall 2013
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm BEN 1.108
show description

A survey of the major artistic styles, modes, and currents in painting, architecture, sculpture, the decorative arts, and costume, from the medieval through the contemporary periods.

Prerequisite: French 320E.

MEETS WITH EUS 347.

FR 358 • African Francophone Literature

37147 • Fall 2013
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm HRH 2.112
show description

European colonial rule broke up cultures throughout the African continent, imposing Occidental laws, languages, concepts. In turn writers from North and sub-Saharan Africa appropriated colonial languages to denounce the many injustices. Over the course of the term, we will be reading key literary African novels which appeared during the 1950s in order to discuss Pan-African struggles, their political impact, the use of the French language. We will engage in the writers views on colonization and in their philosophical concepts, seeing a wide range of concerns. To better comprehend the texts analyzed, we will view films and read theoretical essays.

FR 340C • The Arts In France

36795 • Fall 2012
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm HRH 2.112
show description

A survey of the major artistic styles, modes, and currents in painting, architecture, sculpture, the decorative arts, and costume, from the medieval through the contemporary periods.

Prerequisite: French 320E.

MEETS WITH EUS 347.

FR 358 • Afr Francophone Lit: Wmn Voice

36805 • Fall 2012
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm HRH 2.112
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Hélène Tissières

Undergraduate FR 358                                                       

Fall 2012

African “Francophone” Literatures

Women’ voices

 

READINGS:

 

- Mariama Bâ                                      Une si longue lettre

            - Assia Djebar                                     Femmes d’Alger dans leur appartement

            - Werewere Liking                              Elle sera de jaspe et de corail

            - Fatou Diome                                     Le ventre de l’Atlantique

 

SECONDARY READINGS:

 

            - Essays by Almeida, Nfah-Abbenyi, Thiam, etc.

 

FILMS:

 

            - Moufida Tatli                                    Les silences du palais

            - Folly                                                 Femmes aux yeux ouverts

 

Texts should be read in advance as well as films seen (Audio Visual Library) with questions and comments prepared  – for day scheduled on calendar.

 

DESCRIPTION:

 

Over the course of the term, we will be looking at texts written and films directed by women from North and sub-Saharan Africa to see how they position themselves regarding present burning issues: role of women, immigration, use of tradition. To do so we will be looking at several theoretical essays on feminism. We will also be discussing the historical context in several African countries to better ground our thoughts.

Course is taught in French.  It is strongly advisable that students have already taken a FR 326 course.

 

REQUIREMENTS AND COMPUTATION OF GRADE:

 

Students will be asked to keep up with the reading and writing assignments, coming well prepared, participating fully in class discussions.

 

                                    Short papers (2 pages)                                    20%

                                    Mid-term exam                                   25%

                                    Final paper                                          25%

Presentation                                        10%

Class participation                              20%    

FR 372 • Comparative Stylistics

36740 • Spring 2012
Meets TTH 930am-1100am HRH 2.112
show description

This course will work on French grammar and French grammatical and idiomatic patters. We will regularly be doing translation, mostly from English to French as well as vocabulary expansion and upper level grammar exercises. 

 

grading policy:

3 tests in class: 75% (25%, 25%, 25%); homework assignments and class participation: 25%.  No Final Exam.

 

Required Readings:

1. R.E. Batchelor & M.H. Offord (3rd edition), Using French. A guide to contemporary French usage.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

2. Geneviève (1984), Merde!  New York: Atheneum

3. A reading packet. 

4. Recommended for all upper-level courses:

i. Roger Hawkins and Richard Towell, French Grammar and Usage. NTC Publishing Group, 1997.

ii. Compact Oxford Hachette French/English Dictionary. Also recommended: Online dictionary  http://www.french-linguistics.co.uk/dictionary

F C 339 • Development Of The French Film

36880 • Spring 2012
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm PAR 301
(also listed as EUS 347 )
show description

 

Over the course of the term we will be looking at a wide selection of films from the beginning of filmmaking with the Brother Lumière to the present. This will allow us to engage in historical, cultural, social aspects of French society. We will also take the opportunity to look at Francophone African films as the production is very rich.

 

FILMS BY:

- Brother Lumière 

-  Vigo                                                                       

- Renoir                                                            - Allaouache

- Clouzot                                                           - Kechiche

- Carné                                                             - Sembene

- Godard                                                            - Mambety

- Truffaut                                                           - Sissako

- Resnais                                                            - Moussa Sene Absa

- Varda

 

READINGS:

 A packet of selected essays will be prepared. These will help us discuss the material and look at the many issues presented as well as obtain an understanding of the history of French and Francophone African cinema (Zants, Harrow, etc)

 

ASSIGNEMENTS:

Presentation                                    10%

Mid-term exam                        25%

Final exam                                    25%

Papers and rewrites                        20%

Participation, etc                        20%

FR 320E • Advanced French I

36575 • Fall 2011
Meets MWF 1000am-1100am HRH 2.112
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Description of FR320E

 

FR 320E • Advanced French I

Prerequisites

FR 612, 312L, 312M, 312N, or the equivalent.

Course Description

This course will be taught in French.

The objective of this course is to improve all four language skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) through a series of communicative tasks (compositions, listening comprehension activities, dictations, oral practice, etc.). Emphasis is placed on diversifying vocabulary, mastering a wider range of grammatical structures, increasing fluency, and developing appropriate rhetorical strategies for essay writing in French. And finally, participants can expect to learn about social issues in the French-speaking world (e.g. role of media in society, immigration, globalization, education, etc.)


Grading Policy

Chapter Exams (4 x 10%) 40%

Oral Exams  (3 x 5%) 15%

Compositions  (4 x 5%) 20%

Daily Assignments  15%

Final Project  10%

FINAL EXAM: NO


Texts

Oukada, Larbi. 2nd Ed. 2012. Controverses. Boston: Thomson/Cengage Heinle. (ISBN textbook 9780495797777; workbook 9781439082065): Required

Hawkins, French Grammar and Usage, (2nd edition), 2001, MCG, ISBN: 9780658017988: Recommended

Oxford, Compact Oxford Hachette French Dictionary, 3rd Ed., Oxford University Press, ISBN: 9780198610717: Recommended

FR 390N • Caribbean & African Literature

36720 • Fall 2011
Meets MW 1230pm-200pm HRH 2.106C
(also listed as C L 386 )
show description

Description:  This course will examine literary works of the Caribbean and sub-Saharan Africa from both the colonial and postcolonial period. We will be looking at the various treatments of similar themes (exile, displacement, “errancy”) and be analyzing the different positions taken around the notion of identity. We will try to comprehend the many connections as well as differences between Africa and the Caribbean and between writers by studying in depth the literary works and examining key critical essays written on colonization, identity, “creolisation”. We will also see a few films to enrich our discussions.


READINGS:

- Aimé Césaire Cahier d’un Retour au Pays Natal

- Senghor Choix de poèmes (Packet)

- Daniel Maximin Isolé Soleil

- Jean Metellus Au pipirite chantant (extract)

- Joël DesRosiers Vétiver (extract)

- Maryse Condé Moi Tituba, sorcière … Noire de Salem

- Tchicaya U Tam’Si Les Méduses ou les orties de mer

- Emile Ollivier Passages

 

SECONDARY READINGS:

  - Ki-Zerbo Histoire de l’Afrique noire (extract)

- Césaire Discours sur le colonialisme (extract)

- Glissant Le discours antillais (extract)

- Glissant Introduction à une poétique du divers (extract)

- Depestre Le métier à métisser  (extract)

- Bernabé, Chamoiseau, Eloge de la créolité

   Confiant

 

FILMS:

- Euzhan Palcy Aimé Césaire: Une voix pour l’histoire

- Christian Lara Sucre Amer

- Cheick Oumar Sissoko La Genèse

 

ASSIGNMENTS AND COMPUTATION OF GRADE:

Presentation   20%

Outline final essay 10%

Final Essay 60%

Participation 10%

 

Students will be asked to keep up with the reading assignments and participate in class discussions.

For those outside the French Department, translations may be read.

FR 358 • African Francophone Literature

36460 • Fall 2010
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm PAR 302
show description

**TAUGHT IN FRENCH**

African “Francophone” Literature:   Rise of Pan-African struggles

 READINGS:

- Mouloud Mammeri La colline oubliée

- Mouloud Feraoun Le fils du pauvre

- Cheikh Hamidou Kane L’aventure ambiguë

- Ferdinant Oyono Une vie de boy

- Sembene Ousmane Les bouts de bois de Dieu

SECONDARY READINGS:

- Ki-Zerbo Histoire de l’Afrique noire (packet)

- Aimé Césaire Discours sur le colonialisme (packet)

- Albert Memmi Portrait du colonisé (packet)

- Frantz Fanon Les damnés de la terre (packet)

FILMS:

- Sembene Ousmane Camp de Thiaroye. VIDCASS 6104

- Pontecorvo, Gillo The Battle of Algiers. VIDCASS 1193

- Jean-Marie Teno Afrique, je te plumerai. VIDCASS 3840

Texts should be read in advance as well as films seen (Audio Visual Library) with questions and comments prepared  – for day scheduled on calendar. The main readings can be bought at the Coop and the secondary readings are in a packet found at Speedway (Dobie Mall).

 

DESCRIPTION:

European colonial rule broke up cultures throughout the African continent, imposing Occidental laws, languages, concepts. In turn writers from North and sub-Saharan Africa appropriated colonial languages to denounce the many injustices. Over the course of the term, we will be reading key literary African novels which appeared during the 1950s in order to discuss Pan-African struggles, their political impact, the use of the French language. We will engage in the writers views on colonization and in their philosophical concepts, seeing a wide range of concerns. To better comprehend the texts analyzed, we will view films and read theoretical essays.

REQUIREMENTS AND COMPUTATION OF GRADE:Students will be asked to keep up with the reading and writing assignments, coming well prepared, participating fully in class discussions.

 

Short papers (2 pages) 20%

Mid-term exam 25%

Final paper 25%

Presentation 10%

Class participation 20%

 

 

FR 371L • Adv Written And Oral Compos

36485 • Fall 2010
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm BEN 1.106
show description

*This class will be taught in French*

 

Prerequisites

FR 320E and 322E, or the equivalent

 

Course description

This course involves intensive practice in writing, grammar and oral expression. It requires a thorough revision of grammatical rules to strengthen syntax, idiomatic expression and compositional skills. Over the course of the term, students will be writing short essays, learning how to summarize, develop their ideas, analyze poetical texts, etc. Also they will be asked to read extracts of literary and journalistic texts. Students will also have the opportunity to read a short novel and see a few films to further engage in discussions.

 

Grading Policy 

6 Short essays and literary journal (50%)

Oral Presentation (10%)

2 exams (20%)

Participation, attendance, homework, improvement (20%)

 [No final exam]

 

Texts

 

- Abbadie, Ch. et al. L’expression française, Presses Universitaires de Grenoble, 2003. [Required]

- Hawkins, French Grammar and Usage. [Recommended]

- French Dictionary. [Recommended]

- 501 French Verbs (Barron’s ) or Bescherelle: La Conjugaison pour tous (Hatier). [Recommended]

- Novel required. Title chosen in the fall.

Publications

This book represents several circulations: geographic – between North and sub-Saharan Africa; cultural – between orality and writing; and aesthetic – between literature and painting. In part II, it analyses works by the Tunisian Abdelwahab Meddeb, whose texts refer to contemporary painting, tracing a parallel between abstraction and Sufism; the Cameroonian Werewere Liking and the Congolese Tchicaya U Tam’Si, both of whom incorporate elements from the oral tradition and are inspired by ritual or divination systems; and the Algerian Assia Djebar who turns to visual images, moving away from relying solely on the use of language. 

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