Indiana University Bloomington
Department of French and Italian


French Linguistics PhD Student Receives NSF Grant

Michael Dow, a doctoral student in French linguistics, has received a prestigious National Science Foundation grant for his dissertation research in France for the project “A comparative Study of Regressive Vowel Nasalization in Picard and French,” under the supervision of Professor Julie Auger. Dow received a Gertrude F. Weathers fellowship this semester as well, from the Department of French and Italian (see below). The NSF grant of over $15,000 will be used for travel in the Picardy region of northwestern France to collect linguistic data, a nasalance measurement and feedback system, a laptop, and human subject compensation.

“In my mind, this project has not only theoretical interest but also potential real-world consequences,” says Dow. “It might provide further evidence for the independence of the Picard language. I’m thrilled to join other linguists in the exploration of Picard and am extremely grateful to the colleagues, friends, and administrative personnel who have helped me along the way.”

Two Italian PhD Students Win Fellowships

Sandro Puiatti and Anna love

We are proud to announce that two doctoral students in the Department of French and Italian have received dissertation fellowships from the College of Arts and Sciences to support their research and writing in 2014-15. Anna Love received the College Dissertation Completion Fellowship and Sandro Puiatti received the College Dissertation-Year Fellowship.

Love received her MA degree from Middlebury College in Summer 2009 and began in our Italian PhD program in Fall 2010. In her dissertation research, she studies manuscripts prepared by and for nuns in the late middle ages and early modern period in Italy. She has found that people (mostly men) outside of convents prepared manuscripts that were tailored specifically to a nun-audience. They "feminized" these manuscripts by, for example, the use of illuminations and the inclusion of "appropriate" texts. By tailoring these manuscripts for nuns, they were better able to impose certain norms of identity and behavior upon the female religious. On the other hand, she has also found that nuns used writing (manuscripts, letters, treatises) as an expression of their own identities.

Puiatti completed his MA degree in Italian at Florida State University in 2009 and began in the PhD program in our department that fall. His dissertation is a study of Giovanni Boccaccio’s manuscripts, in particular three monumental editions of Dante’s work. Puiatti argues that with his manuscripts Boccaccio created a successful model that has heavily influenced at least two hundred years of book production and interpretation of Dante’s poetry. Boccaccio’s editorial frame (paratexts, order, pagination, scripture, etc.) in creating these manuscripts had a fundamental role in promoting Dante’s work and influence.

International Research Collaboration on “Assembling the Global” Underway

Hall Bjørnstad

Professor Hall Bjørnstad, in collaboration with scholars at universities in Oslo, Paris, and Chicago, is facilitating research on the topic of “Assembling the Global: University History, Past and Present.” The project focuses on the period 1550-1800 when thinkers in Europe attempted to incorporate all known historical events and intellectual developments into one global history. This was (and is) a difficult task, as this period included several major changes in world view including the Reformation, the discovery of the New World, and the development of humanism. After a successul workshop at IUB in September, the working group will meet again at the University of Oslo next year. To find out more about the project, visit the College of Arts & Sciences news website.

Dow Receives Annual Weathers Fellowship

Michael Dow

Michael Dow, a dual-degree PhD student in French linguistics (Department of French & Italian) and linguistics (Department of Linguistics), has received this year’s Gertrude F. Weathers Fellowship for dissertation research in French studies. Michael received his BA in French and Classics from St. Olaf College (Minnesota) in 2008 and his MA in French linguistics in 2012. He is working on his dissertation entitled “A Comparative Study of Regressive Vowel Nasalization in Picard and French” under the direction of Professor Julie Auger. He will use the fellowship funds to travel to France to collect data in the form of recordings of speakers of French in Bretagne and speakers of Picard in northeastern France. In addition to adding to our knowledge of language development, Michael’s research will serve to further document Picard before this endangered language vanishes completely from use.

Professor Julie Auger praises Michael’s work so far as a graduate student, saying “Michael Dow is a very promising young phonologist.” Indeed, he has already co-authored an article in the acclaimed scholarly journal Lingua, and he has presented at prestigious conferences in the US and abroad. The Department is pleased to support his dissertation research with the Weathers Fellowship this year.

The fellowship is named after Gertrude Force Weathers, an alumna of the Department and a teacher of French in public schools in Indiana for many years, and it was established in the mid-1980s. We would also like to acknowledge the Marjorie and Francis Gravit Fellowship Fund, which is providing supplemental financial support this year. This fund is endowed in memory of Francis Gravit, a former French professor here, and his wife, who were both devoted to Indiana University.

Valazza Wins Larry Schehr Memorial Award

Nicolas Valazza

Assistant Professor Nicolas Valazza received the Larry Schehr Memorial Award for the best junior faculty essay presented at the 39th Nineteenth-Century French Studies Colloquium, on October 24-26, 2013, in Richmond, Virginia. The essay he presented, "Seuils livresques et horizons textuels, entre Parnasse et Zutisme," is part of his new book project, provisionally entitled La Poésie délivrée: le livre en question du Parnasse au Symbolisme, which explores the impact of the politics of printing upon the transformations of poetic textuality in the second half of the nineteenth century in France.

Also participating in the colloquium were Adjunct Assistant Professors Aiko Okamoto-MacPhail, who chaired a session titled "Barrières, clôtures, limites et vides chez les Goncourt," and Erin Edgington (PhD '13), who presented a paper on "Crossing the artist's threshold: unstable boundaries in Edmond de Goncourt's La Maison d'un artiste."

Storey Receives Grant for Digital Petrarch Project

Professor of Italian H. Wayne Storey is spending Fall 2013 continuing work on a digital edition of Petrarch’s Rerum vulgarium fragmenta (Canzoniere), the iconic book of 366 poems that served as a model for much of lyric poetry in Europe from the 15th to the 18th century. He and collaborator John A. Walsh, professor in the School of Informatics and Computing, received an IU New Frontiers in the Arts and Humanities Grant to support their project. Their small team of specialists in codicology, textual editing, early Italian lyric, and Text Encoding Initiative includes two Italian PhD students, Isabella Magni, and Sandro Puiatti.

In November, Professors Storey and Walsh will present their work in a plenary session of the 10th Conference of the European Society for Textual Scholarship: “Variance in Textual Scholarship and Genetic Criticism / La variance en philologie et dans la critique génétique” at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris. Their paper is entitled “Indexicality, Visual Poetics and the PetrArchive: A Scholarly Digital Edition of Petrarch’s Songbook.” They will also give an hour-long presentation of the edition and the PetrArchive at the Digital Library brown bag lunch series on Wednesday, Dec. 4 at the Wells Library (room E174, 12-1 pm). More information about the project can be found in the news release.