La Maison Française will host talks on the cultural politics of the French language (Feb. 4); class and race in France through the story of writer and director Isabelle Boni-Claverie (Feb. 13); the role of the contemporary French novel in addressing climate change (Feb. 21); and more in February.

La Maison Française will host talks on the cultural politics of the French language (Feb. 4); class and race in France through the story of writer and director Isabelle Boni-Claverie (Feb. 13); the role of the contemporary French novel in addressing climate change (Feb. 21); and more in February.

All events are held at La Maison Française, 16 Washington Mews (between University Place and Fifth Avenue), and are free and open to the public and in English, unless otherwise noted. Seating for free events is on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, call 212.998.8750 or visit Subways: R, W (8th Street); 6 (Astor Place); A, B, C, D, E, F, M (West 4th Street).

Monday, February 4, 7:00 p.m.
En langage maternel francoys: Naturalizing the French Language

How does the king’s language become the mother tongue of a nation? This talk will explore the cultural politics of the French language around the year 1540.

Assistant Professor of French, Princeton University; author of The Prosthetic Tongue: Printing Technology and the Rise of the French Language (forthcoming, University of Pennsylvania Press)

Sponsored by the NYU Center for French Language and Cultures

Thursday, February 7, 7:00 p.m.
The Politics of Urban Architecture

Futures of French Series

Futures of French is a seminar series exploring new directions in French Studies and highlighting the work of early career scholars.
, Assistant Professor of French, University of Rochester
, Associate Professor of French and Francophone Studies, Carnegie Mellon University
Commentator: JEANNE ETELAIN (French, NYU)
Chair: CÉCILE BISHOP (French, NYU)
Co-sponsored by Institute of French Studies and Department of French Literature, Thought, and Culture

Wednesday, February 13, 6:30 p.m.
Too Black to be French/Trop noire pour être françaie

Institute of French Studies Book Event

“Where are you from?” is the question that black French people are asked the most. In Trop noire pour être française, Isabelle Boni-Claverie tells her story, from Paris to Abidjan, from her private Catholic school to working in television. A black woman from a privileged social background, she nonetheless has to face the obvious: in France, class does not erase race.
, Film and television screenwriter and director; writer/director of the documentary film Too Black to be French (Trop noire pour être Française) and author of the book of the same title (Tallandier, 2017)

Thursday, February 21, 7:00 p.m.
The Rise of the Sea and the Novel

Does the contemporary French novel have anything to say about climate change? This talk is part of a larger project that considers literature as an ambiguous witness of humans' fragile earthly predicament.

THANGAM RAVINDRANATHAN, Associate Professor of French Studies, Brown University; author of Behold an Animal. Four Exorbitant Readings (forthcoming, Northwestern University Press, 2019); Là où je ne suis pas. Récits de dévoyage

Sponsored by Department of French Literature, Thought, and Culture

Tuesday, February 26, 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Speak Up (Ouvrir la voix)

Film Screening and Discussion

2017, 122 min., in French with English subtitles
African and African Diaspora writers and artists have met the 21st century with unprecedented new images and visions of Africa and the world. In the documentary film Speak Up (Ouvrir la voix) by Amandine Gay, women of African descent in France and Belgium converse about what it means to be a woman today and to belong to the Afro community.

Followed by a discussion with director AMANDINE GAY, SANDRINE COLARD (African Art History, Rutgers), and poet/scholar SYLVIE KANDÉ

RSVP:  Please visit after February 11, 2019. Space is limited.

Presented by Institute of African American Affairs & Center for Black Visual Culture in the 21st Century/New African and African Diaspora Writings and Arts series; Co-sponsored by Institute of French Studies and La Maison Française

Wednesday, February 27, 6:30 p.m.
Demos Assembled: Democracy and the International Origins of the Modern State, 1840-1880


Stephen W. Sawyer’s Demos Assembled (University of Chicago Press, 2018) provides a fresh, transatlantic understanding of the birth and transformation of the modern democratic state, and sheds new light on the subsequent reciprocal influence that American thinkers and politicians had on the establishment of post-revolutionary regimes in France.
, Professor, chair of history, director of Center for Critical Democracy Studies, American University of Paris; editor, Tocqueville Review; associate editor, Annales. History and Social Sciences; author of Demos Assembled (University of Chicago Press, 2018)
(History and French Studies, NYU)
(Center for European Studies, Harvard University)
(Political Science, University of Chicago)
(History, University of Pennsylvania)

Co-sponsored by Institute of French Studies, Center for European and Mediterranean Studies, Department of History, Remarque Institute

Editor’s Note
For over six decades, La Maison Française of New York University has served as a major forum for French-American cultural and intellectual exchange, offering contemporary perspectives on myriad French and Francophone issues. Its rich program of lectures, symposia, concerts, screenings, exhibitions, and special events provides an invaluable resource to the university community, as well as the general public. For more, please visit

Press Contact

Sarah Binney
Sarah Binney
(212) 998-6829