LSU’s Center of French and Francophones Studies, alongside the Université des Antilles, received a $235,000 grant provided by the Partner University Fund, the FACE Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This grant is the largest amount awarded to the LSU French department and the largest ever to LSU for a collaboration between the LSU and French government.
Dr. Alexandre Leupin, Phyllis M. Taylor professor in French Studies, thought the odds were against him when he and his colleague, Professor Jean-Pierre Sainton of the Université des Antilles, submitted a proposal for the grant. While at the beach on vacation this summer, Dr. Leupin received an email from the cultural services of the French embassy in New York granting LSU’s French department’s Center of French and Francophones Studies and the Université des Antilles, the full proposed $235,000 partnership grant.
“I was floored! I thought we had no chance. I have never submitted a proposal that large,” said Dr. Leupin with a smile on his face. “Humanities doesn’t receive big sums like this. It was crucial we receive the grant because this puts the Center on solid operational ground to pursue the activities tied to the grant over the next three years.”
The grant will support the collaborative research shared by LSU and the Université des Antilles over the duration of three years. The research will focus on the theme, Slavery in the Caribbean Basin – a theme selected due to the commonalities that run through Louisiana and the Caribbean – its climate, culture, history and slavery.
“I believe that the French government ultimately chose LSU because Louisiana Francophone culture is essential to them,” said Dr. Leupin. “I think this is their way of telling us we consider you important and we want to fully support LSU and the Center of Francophone Studies in a privileged way among other institutions in the United States. The French government counts on us for material outcomes: publications of colloquia in referred journals, publication of archives, exchange of faculty and students and collaborations between the two institutions.”
By partnering with the Université des Antilles (UA), the grant will allow graduate students and faculty members from both institutions to engage in collaborative efforts and publish international research. For one week, five students from UA will attend a colloquium at LSU and conduct research while five LSU students will conduct research at UA. In the spring of 2017, the five LSU students will do research in Guadeloupe, along with their peers. Funds will also support expenses for scientific collaboration and academic publications. In 2017, there will a colloquium in Martinique and, of course, we will repeat the reciprocal student exchange in 2017 and 2018.