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"We value the humanities, the truths in literature, the nuances of grammar, the lessons from history, and the evolution of languages.  We value communication and the power of spoken words.  The languages we teach are alive and are used every day all over the world.  We are global citizens." Salvador A. Oropesa, Ph.D.

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Languages Student Spotlight

Hilda Chan, a 2017 graduate with dual degrees in Biochemistry and Modern Languages with an emphasis in Mandarin Chinese, has been accepted into the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) at Baylor College of Medicine. MSTPs are hosted by top-tier medical colleges in the U.S. and are funded by the National Institutes of Health. Such programs aim to train the next generation of physician-scientists and allow students with strong research and clinical experiences to pursue both medical and biomedical sciences doctoral degrees. MSTP students receive full financial support from the program. Hilda will begin her first year of medical school at Baylor in July, and she hopes to specialize in infectious diseases during her graduate school years. She hopes to work at an intersection between infectious diseases and oncology in the future.

Languages Faculty Spotlight

Joseph Mai, Associate Professor of French, published Robert Guédiguian in Manchester University Press in May. Intervening at the crossroads of philosophy, politics, and cinema, this book argues that the career of Robert Guédiguian, director of Marius et Jeannette (1997) and other popular auteurist films, can be read as an original and coherent project: to make a committed, historically-conscious cinema with friends, in a local space, and over a long period of time. Illustrated with comprehensive readings of all of Guédiguian's films.

From the author:
“In the book I examine the career of the Marseille-based filmmaker, Robert Guédiguian, and in particular the role of friendship in it. Guédiguian is unique in that he has worked with the same small number of collaborators since his very first film, released in 1981. These people all knew each other from before (in fact his best childhood friend played the main role and his girlfriend, then wife, played the love interest). Amazingly, this small group of about 5-6 people have been working together, in front of or behind the camera, ever since. Some act or practice their profession for other filmmakers, but they return to Guédiguian for every film (one, the best friend, was actually a nurse and only acted, for many years, for Guédiguian).

This set of relationships strikes me as original for many reasons. First of all, it is a deep reflection of what philosophers since Aristotle have said about the importance of friendship to human flourishing. Friendships alter our lives, give us meaning, fill our time, help us develop our values, and help us face our vulnerabilities. Secondly, the kind of deep friendship spoken of by Aristotle and practiced by Guédiguian has a political dimension. As my own friend and colleague, Todd May of the Clemson philosophy department, has argued: instead of the usual figures of human interaction that one finds in the present day, figures such as the consumer or the entrepreneur, the deeper kind of friend is interested in richer long-term narratives between people. It is passionate, and altruistic. I find that friends represent an important stake in political action (we want to protect our friendships, and thus our neighborhoods and communities where they develop), but they are also good figures of how we should treat others generally.

Starting from here I examine how, over the past few decades, Guédiguian’s friendships have taken his films through political contexts, during times when the French Left has had various crises dealing with the rise of economic and cultural liberalism. Guédiguian is inspired by thinkers like Ernst Bloch and Karl Marx to rethink the social link along the lines of friendship and utopianism.

At the same time, I am perhaps most interested in how his career separates from individual films to become a greater, coherent, and discretely original project of living together. By watching his films we watch friends working, living, thinking, acting, and growing old together. This deeper aspect of his career grows more and more pronounced as the director ages, and his films should be understood as a monument to the particular individuals and relationships that have contributed to his flourishing. I find this deep yet fragile project a model of how we might develop trust and love for others, at a moment in which we don’t often see such models. ”