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Nation / Transnation


What do the languages and histories of Italian and French-speaking world regions have to tell us about national and transnational identities from the medieval Mediterranean to contemporary experiences of migration? What does it mean to “do” French or Italian studies in dialogue with global, migration, diaspora, and postcolonial studies? And what can we learn from studying Italian or French “within and beyond the nation” (as Susan Suleiman and Christie McDonald define their global approach to literary history)? Faculty and graduate students in this research network put pressure on the relationship between “nation” and “transnation” across histories, cultures, and media. We teach and research in and beyond our “national” disciplines to join conversations about the politics and practices of translation, about acculturation and exile, about political citizenship and gender and racial identities, about racism and anti-racism in global contexts, about networks of migration and belonging.

Some of our preoccupations include the circulation of transnational genres from the banlieue to Hollywood; Afropean cultural production and African diasporas in France; knowledge networks of early modern Europe; linguistic landscapes in global cities; religious and secular identities in Europe; food culture, diversity, and multiculturalism; early modern empire and colonialism; French universalism and subjectivity; Sicily and Italian identity; and island identities. This research network stimulates cross-disciplinary connections with transnational work being done at the University of Pittsburgh in, for example, the Global Studies Center, the European Studies Center, the World History Center, the Humanities Center, the Department of History, the History of Art and Architecture Department, and the Department of English. 

Recent events in the Nation/Transnation Network

Recent Events in the Nation/Transnation Network
  • Lecture by Professor Malcom Ferdinand (Université Paris Dauphine), "A Decolonial Ecology: Perspectives from the Caribbean World," March 19, 2021
  • Lecture by Ngofeen Mputubwele, New York radio producer, "Black Italians Fight to Be Italian," October 15, 2020
  • Lecture by Fred Kuwornu, Brooklyn filmmaker, “Black Lives Matter Italy and the Legacy of Italian Colonialism,” October 6, 2020
  • Lecture, Bruno Jean-François (Penn State), "Of Shores and Waves, and Marine Tales: Islands, Oceans, and Fallacies of Colonial Geographies in the Indian Ocean," March 19, 2020
  • "East Meets West Meets South: A Global Conversation," with Pernille Røge (History, secondary appointment in French and Italian) and Raja Adal (History), November 13, 2019
  • "Debauchery and Enlightenment in Eighteenth-Century France," with Lisa Jane Graham (Haverford). Hosted by the Early Modern Worlds Initiative, in conjunction with FRIT, October 31, 2019
  • Lecture by Moira Inghilleri, Professor and Director of Translation and Interpreting Studies, U of Massachusetts, Amherst, “Translating the Landscape: The Visual Terrains of Migration” April 2019
  • Lecture in French: "La Reconquête, histoire et politique linguistiques du Québec," with Professor Chantal Bouchard, McGill University, September 12, 2019
  • Tucci-Cornetti Lecture by Stefano Muneroni, Associate Professor of Theatre, U of Alberta), “Immigration and Italian National Identity in the Plays of Gianni Clementi,” April 2018
  • Philip Watts Lecture, "The Water Crisis in Senegalese Literature and Film" (Richard Watts, U of Washington), March 20, 2018
  • Documentary Film Screening, Mariannes Noires (dir. Mame-Fatou Niang, CMU), March 20, 2018
  • "Migrations of Culture," bi-annual undergraduate conference (2019, 2017).
  • Lecture by Gabriella Romani, Professor of Italian Studies, Seton Hall U, “The Nationalization of the Postal Service and Print Media in Post-Unification Italy," October 2016
  • Staged reading of Lina Prosa’s Lampedusa Beach in both Italian and English, with post-performance Q&A with Lina Prosa, March 2016
  • Distance Q&A with Andrea Segre, filmmaker and researcher in Sociology of Communication, Università di Bologna, Director of Mare chiuso [The Closed Sea], a documentary (60′) made in the aftermath of the 2009 Silvio Berlusconi-Muammar Gaddafi agreement that governed the forced repatriation of Libyan migrants, November 2015
  • Lecture by Katarzyna Pieprzak, Professor of French and Comparative Literature, Williams College, “Spaces of Migration and Aesthetics of Immobility: Bidonvilles in the Francophone Mediterranean Imagination,” October 2015
  • "Afro Diasporic French Identities," a film screening by Nathalie Etoke, November 13-14, 2014
  • Humanities Center Colloquium, "Afropean Narratives of the 21st Century," with Alain Mabanckou and Dominic Thomas, October 30, 2014

Sample Graduate Courses

  • Reading Archipelagos: Mediterranean and Global Networks and Texts, 1300-1700, spring 2021, James Coleman
  • The Global South and Climate Fiction, fall 2021, John Walsh
  • From Metropoles to Megacities: Urban Environmental Imaginaries in the Global South, spring 2020, John Walsh
  • Nation, Transnation: France and Frenchness in the Renaissance, Todd Reeser (fall 2020)

Current PhD Students currently working in this Network

  •  Yacine Chemssi
  • Don Joseph
  • Phoebe Marshall

Alums in this Network

  • Sylvia Grove
  • Andrea Jonsson
  • Charles-Louis Morand Métivier
  • Maeva Mateos
  • Pat Nikiema
  • Emma Ben Hadj
  • Emily Bryan

Sample Undergraduate Courses

  • Global French (a Writing in the Disciplines course taught in French), John Walsh/Chloé Hogg (offered spring)
  • La vie en noir: Black Francophone Cultural Studies, spring 2023
  • Varieties of World French(es), Brett Wells, fall 2021
  • Green France: Environmental Situations, Giuseppina Mecchia, spring 2021
  • The Eternal City: Rome from Antiquity to Today, offered regularly
  • Italian Mobilities, in development (Lina Insana)
  • "L'Idée de la France," Kaliane Ung, offered regularly
  • French Kiss (taught in English), offered regularly
  • Paris: Urbanism Past and Present (taught in English), taught regularly

Undergraduate Research Projects in this Network

  • Zeinab Abbas, Honors Thesis: "Étude de cas: géographie et politique de la langue française dans les provinces des prairies au Canada" (Brett Wells, dir.), Spring 2020.
  • Sarah Beth Belanger, Honors Thesis: "Liberté, égalité, surdité: La culture sourde en France" (Chloé Hogg, dir.), Fall 2015
  • Darlene D'Souza,. Honors Thesis: "Une exploration de la relation entre cartographie, langue et culture" (Brett Wells,dir.), Spring 2018
  • Cyd Johnson, Honors Thesis: "Translating Crimes Against Humanity: La conclusion de la déposition de Michel Zaoui dans le procès de Maurice Papon" (John Walsh, dir.), Spring 2018
  • Julia Hartigan, Honors Thesis: "Les écrivaines haïtiennes et la migration genrée: réconcilier un passé violent et l'identité nationale" (John Walsh, dir.), Spring 2019
  • Zac Enick, Eliza Jermyn, Rita Keil, Archie Millar: “La Lega Toscana di Protezione: A Social, Spatial, and Linguistic Study” (Lina Insana, dir.), Spring 2018; housed at


Network coordinator: Chloé Hogg