Each semester the Department awards the Mousseau Prize for best undergraduate essay in French. For Fall 2022, we are happy to announce that the award goes to David Villani! His paper, which was written for Prof. Déborah Blocker’s class on Religious Fanaticism, Toleration, and Laïcité, is entitled “'Article d’exportation': L’implémentation des lois laïques dans le Sénégal colonial.” The Mousseau prize comes with an award of $200. Congratulations David!

UC Berkeley's own Caroline Godard, a doctoral student in the French Ph.D. program, recently found her work to be published in the Early Modern French Studies. For readers and researchers entranced by Montaigne, this article is the ideal read. Congratulations, Caroline!

Title: Being ‘time-bound’: Montaigne on Touch, Contagion, and the Contemporary


In 2023, we will mark the twentieth anniversary of the passing of the lesbian activist, writer and
philosopher Monique Wittig (1935-2003), as well as the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of
her Corps lesbien, with a two-part international conference: « Monique Wittig : Twenty Years
Later / Monique Wittig : Vingt ans après »
. Hosted jointly by the Department of French at the
University of California – Berkeley and the Institut des Études Genre at the Université de

Warm congratulations to Tony Soyka on his retirement, which was celebrated with a jam session (including songs by Tony himself) in Ishi Court on June 9. Thank you, Tony, for your seven years of service as Undergraduate Advisor in Comparative Literature, and your two years of doubling up in French as well! We, and our students, have a lot to be thankful for. We wish you all the best in this next phase, and hope you will come back to visit!

On May 2 the French Department held a celebration in honor of Distinguished Professor Emeritus David Hult's career, with special invited speakers who were former students.

Mary Franklin-Brown (Christ’s College, University of Cambridge) presented “The Architecture of Song,”
in which she examined two sets of architectural remains—the Chertsey tile and the ducal hall built for Richard Cœur de Lion in Poitiers—in the light of lyric form and Pythagorean harmony.

On Sunday April 10, the French Department set out to animate an otherwise sleepy campus morning by bringing politics and coffee to Dwinelle Hall’s Library of French Thought. The first round of France’s presidential election was announced at 11:00 AM PST. Leading up to the announcement, conversation percolated into beamish or bleak anticipation for France’s five years ahead.

We are sad to report that Professor Emeritus Leo Bersani died on February 20, 2022.

As of August 2021, William Burton joined the Department of French. They have a rich background in teaching, research and service in higher education and the Humanities, and their interests and expertise in 18th- and 20th-century French literature and philosophy; gender, sexuality, and feminism; and theoretical consideration in critical social and translation frameworks will inspire you to spark a conversation and explore new ideas!

Dr. Margot Szarke, a long-time lecturer and researcher, was recently awarded the 2021 Society of Dix-Neuvièmistes Publication Prize for the article "Modern Sensitivity: Émile Zola's Synaesthetic Cheeses."

We congratulate Margot on this amazing accomplishment and for producing such wonderful scholarly work! If you are interested in reading the article, click HERE.

First-year language coordinator Dr. Daniel Hoffmann has been selected from more than 500 nominees as a recipient of the Campus's "Extraordinary Teaching in Extraordinary Times" award. Thank you, Daniel, for the innovation and creativity you've helped bring to our program during these disruptive times!

Congratulations to Debarati Sanyal on the award of a Guggenheim Fellowship for her book project, Arts of the Border: Voices of Displacement at the Edges of Europe! Read about Professor Sanyal and the three other Berkeley Guggenheim awardees in the Daily Cal. The announcement of the fellows can be found here. Bravo, Debarati, on this amazing distinction!

2013 Ph.D. Maya Angela Smith, currently Associate Professor of French at the University of Washington, has just been named co-winner of the 2020 Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for French and Francophone Studies for her book Senegal Abroad! Read the award announcement here!

Congratulations to Professor Emerita Suzanne Guerlac, Professor Emerita Ann Smock, Professor Mairi McLaughlin, and Professor Nicholas Paige, on the publication of their new books! They can't even fit in the same photo... Please see the "Books" section of our site for more information!

Please note that because of pandemic conditions, our phone lines are not being monitored. Instead, see our "Contact" page for the email of the appropriate person to field your questions. Please also note that departmental mail is currently being stored as it comes in, so physical mail will not be delivered to the departmental community.

Congratulations to this year’s winners of the Mousseau Undergraduate Prizes In French!

To: Our Spring 2020 Graduates in French