Skip to main content

Faculty Bio

Mai, Joseph H.

Mai, Joseph H.

Associate Professor of French

Office: 509 Strode
Web Site:

Ph.D., Yale University (2004)

Joseph Mai teaches all levels of French, including courses on film, poetry, and contemporary civilization, and in the World Cinema Program. Professor Mai’s scholarly interests include French Film, World Cinema, Film Theory and Philosophy, and Contemporary Literature. He is the author of a book on the Belgian filmmakers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, and a more recent book exploring friendship, philosophy, and politics in the work of the Marseille filmmaker Robert Guédiguian. He is presently co-editing a book on the Franco-Cambodian filmmaker Rithy Panh. He has also been pursuing a number of projects in the field of animal studies and French literature. Penultimate versions of several publications can be found at the following site: https:

Selected Professional Works

Books (Published)

Robert Guédiguian. Manchester University Press, 2017.

Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2010. Reviewed in: H-France, Film-Philosophy, Sight and Sound, Contemporary French Civilization, The French Review, Modern & Contemporary France, Choice

Books (Edited)

Barnes, Leslie and Joseph Mai (eds.). The Cinema of Rithy Panh: Everything Has a Soul. Rutgers University Press, 2021

Journal Articles & Book Chapters (Published)

“In Praise of Cinema: Stanley Cavell, Arnaud Desplechin, and Telling What Counts (Trois Souvenirs de ma jeunesse).” 2020.

“Site 2: Style and Encounter in Rithy Panh’s Cinéma-monde.” Cinéma-monde: Decentred Perspectives on Global Filmmaking in French. Ed. Gott, Michael and Schilt, Thibaut. Edinburgh University Press. 2018. 25-44.

“Infinity and Home: Exploring Conscience and Action in Les misérables.” Approaches to Teaching Victor Hugo’s Les misérables.” Ed. Ginsberg, Michal and Stevens, Bradley. MLA press. Forthcoming.

Wang Bing’s ‘Til Madness Do Us Part (2013): An Apprenticeship in Seeing. LOLA (2016)

Un tissu de mots”: Writing Human and Animal Lives in Olivia Rosenthal’s Que font les rennes après noël ?” Mosaic: A Journal for the Interdisciplinary Study of Literature, vol. 49.3 (2016), 55-70

“The Ideal of Ararat: Friendship, Politics, and National Origins in Robert Guédiguian’s Le voyage en Arménie.” in Gott, Michael and Herzog, Todd ed. East, West, and Centre: Reframing post-European Cinema Since 1989. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2015.

“‘Humanity’s True Moral Test’: Shame, Idyll, and Animal Vulnerability in Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being,” Studies in the Novel, vol. 46.1 (2014), 100-116.

The Dardennes’s Lorna's Silence: Form, viewer, and Levinas' ethical alternative, New Review of Television and Film Studies, vol. 9.4 (2011), 435-453.

"Corps-Caméra: The Evocation of Touch in the Dardennes' La promesse (1996)," Esprit Créateur 47.3 (2007), 133-144.

New(er) stories: Narrative and de-figuration in Robert Bresson's Mouchette (1967), Studies in French Cinema 7.1 (2007), 31-42.