"50 Years of French Cultural Wars: Looking Back on May ’68": A Presentation by Julien Suaudeau

  • Friday, May 18, 2018
  • 6:30 PM - 9:30 PM
  • Alliance Française de Philadelphie

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"50 Years of French Cultural Wars: Looking Back on May ’68"
A Presentation by Julien Suaudeau

« Mai 68 » - depending on who you speak to in France, and what their political opinions are, these two words can make you a friend or a foe. If you didn’t know your friends well, they have the power to spark a conversation with unexpected, and potentially damaging, consequences. What happened during those few weeks in the Spring, half a century ago? What was at stake in the standoff between the forces of authority and tradition, and the forces of change? Why was Paris the main stage of this political drama? Who were the leading actors of the play and what were the ideas that they stood for? Today, why is the legacy of the movement more cultural than social? Does it mean anything to the millennial generation? Can this not-so-distant past teach us valuable lessons about present fractures in the French society? On May 18, we will try to answer those questions and to reflect on the historical magnitude of “les événements de mai”, paying close attention to the words and images that gave them a prominent and enduring place in the French intellectual debate.

Julien Suaudeau is the Coordinator of the Non-Intensive Language sequence in French.  He is the author of three novels: Dawa (2014), Le Français (2015) and Ni le feu ni la foudre (2016). His fiction work focuses on contemporary France seen through the lenses of colonial and postcolonial history, immigration, laïcité, terrorism, and socioeconomic inequalities. He is a regular contributor to the opinion pages of French dailies Le Monde, Le Figaro, Libération and weekly magazine L’Obs. In the US, he lectures frequently as a guest speaker on the topic of connecting American students and teachers with the “real” France and the francophone world. He was the keynote speaker at the American Association of Teachers of French (AATF) 2016 National Convention. As a filmmaker, he has directed documentaries and short fiction films, and has published extensively on film history, film theory and French cinema in Positif.

Mr. Suaudeau studied at Sciences Po (Institut d’Etudes Politiques) and La Sorbonne (Université Paris IV). He has taught French both at the high school and the college level. He currently teaches the non-intensive sequence as well as creative writing.


A reception will follow. 

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