Catering to Popular Tastes: Purdue Professor Emeritus Will Present Lecture on Reading Trade in 18th Century France

April 11, 2012

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Dr. Paul Benhamou, professor emeritus of French at Purdue University, will present his lecture, "Catering to Popular Tastes: The Reading Trade in 18th Century France," at 3:30 p.m. Friday, April 13, in Room 139 of Draper Academic Building on the Baylor University campus. The event, presented by the department of modern foreign languages in the College of Arts and Sciences at Baylor, is free and open to the public.

Benhamou grew up in Algeria, at a time when it was a French colony. After graduating from the University of Dijon, France, with a Licence-es-Lettres in English and American literature, he returned to Algeria where he taught English in high school, until the political situation forced him and his family to relocate to France. He came to the United States on a Fulbright scholarship, at the University of Iowa, where he earned his master's and doctoral degrees in French Literature. He began his academic career teaching French literature of the 18th century and French culture at Purdue University.

His research has focused on the French Enlightenment, particularly the "antiphilosophes" and the Encyclopedie, the pre-revolutionary press, and the French book trade. At Purdue, he twice chaired the department of French and Italian and founded the Association of Friends of French, an organization that supports undergraduate and graduate students in French to study abroad and attend professional meetings.

Now retired, he enjoys reading new writers--such as Carlos Rui-Zafon, Naomi Ragen and David Liss--and reads papers at national and international meetings--on topics such as anti-Semitism in 21st century France, Voltaire and the hot air balloon craze in France before 1789.

About the Department of Modern Foreign Languages

The department of modern foreign languages at Baylor offers study in Asian and African languages, French, Italian, German, Russian, Spanish and Portuguese. As well as the ability to read, writer, understand and speak another language, students benefit from the study of foreign language in a number of other ways: cultural awareness, world citizenship, career opportunities and critical thinking skills.

For more information, contact Julie Wright, administrative assistant for the department of modern foreign languages, at (254) 710-3711.

About Baylor University

Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, classified as such with "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions.

About the College of Arts & Sciences

The College of Arts & Sciences is Baylor University's oldest and largest academic division, consisting of 27 academic departments and 13 academic centers and institutes. The more than 5,000 courses taught in the College span topics from art and theatre to religion, philosophy, sociology and the natural sciences. Faculty conduct research around the world, and research on the undergraduate and graduate level is prevalent throughout all disciplines.

by Katy McDowall, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

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