Columbia Maison Française

We are currently developing a new website for the Columbia Maison Française which will include more detailed information about the Maison and its ongoing activities, including video recordings of past events. In the meantime, this temporary page, housed on our Centennial website, includes a full listing of upcoming events and recent news coverage.

Activities hosted by the Maison Française include lectures, conferences, film screenings, seminars and salons, exhibitions, a book club and café conversation, receptions, and special events.

Café Conversation is reserved for current Columbia, Barnard and Teachers College students ONLY. These weekly sessions meet on Tuesdays on the 2nd Floor of Buell Hall: for beginners, from 12-1:30 p.m. and for intermediate/advanced, from 5-6:30 p.m.

Unless otherwise indicated, these events are free, open to the public, and take place in the East Gallery, Buell Hall.

To join our listserv to receive newsletters about our events, please sign up at right.

If you have any questions about our events or reserving space, please call 212-854-4482 or email Lindsey Long at

Subscribe to our mailing list

Upcoming Events

April 16, 2014

6:00 - 7:30 PM


CANCELLED: After Slavery: from Memory to Reparations in the Atlantic World

Please note: This event has been CANCELLED. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Myriam Cottias, historian of slavery and post-slavery society in the Francophone context, and President of France’s National Committee for the History and Memory of Slavery, discusses the politics of memory and the question of reparations in the Atlantic world today.




April 17, 2014

1:00 - 6:30 PM

East Gallery, Buell Hall

Visualizing Universalism: The UNESCO Human Rights Exhibition, 1949-1953

Opening Symposium with Samuel Moyn, Thomas Keenan, Ariella Azoulay, Mark Mazower, Felicity Scott, Elazar Barkan, Yasmine Ergas and Anselm Franke

The Visualizing Universalism symposium coincides with the opening of a new exhibition at Columbia University’s Arthur Ross Architecture Gallery, Buell Hall (through May 19) publicly displaying the original UNESCO Human Rights Exhibition and its archive for the first time in sixty years. UNESCO’s Human Rights Exhibition from 1949 was the first international event that sought to visually represent the history and meaning of the then-recently adopted Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Using the exhibition as a platform for critical debate on contemporary human rights culture, the symposium explores insights provided by UNESCO’s first attempt to visualize and historicize the UDHR. In three sessions, we will discuss the exhibition’s historical context, its teleological narrative, and the ways in which human rights are represented and disseminated through visual culture – questions pertinent to both the exhibition and to contemporary discussions of human rights.

Symposium co-sponsored by the Institute for the Study of Human Rights, Columbia Maison Française, Center for Human Rights Documentation and Research, and Heyman Center for the Humanities.


1 p.m.: Presentation by the Visualizing Universalism exhibition's researchers and curators, Katrine Bregengaard and Eva Prag.
2 p.m.: 'Histories of Human Rights' panel with Samuel Moyn, Mark Mazower, Elazar Barkan. Moderated by Yasmine Ergas
4:30 p.m.: 'Visual Cultures of Human Rights' panel with Ariella Azoulay, Anselm Franke and Thomas Keenan. Moderated by Felicity Scott

For more information, please visit

April 17, 2014

7:00 - 8:30 PM

Rennert Hall, Kraft Center, 606 W. 115th st

Capital in the Twenty-First Century

Thomas Piketty

In conversation with Suresh Naidu, Thomas Edsall and Victoria de Grazia

Registration required; Please click here

French economist Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century,published in French in Fall 2013 and just translated into English (Harvard University Press), will reorient our understanding of economic history and transform the debate  about wealth and inequality. Piketty's ambitious and original work analyzes historic data on capital and income distribution over the past three centuries  from more than twenty countries to argue that the main driver of inequality is the tendency of returns on capital to exceed the rate of economic growth. As a result, the inequality of incomes and the preponderance of capital over work in the accumulation of wealth are, especially in the US, at historical highs, undermining our core democratic values.  Because inequality is a global phenomenon, Piketty proposes a worldwide solution: a global tax on wealth combined with higher rates of tax on the largest incomes.

The book has generated considerable talk among economists and policymakers: Paul Krugman says it will be "the most important economics book of the year — and maybe of the decade, " and Branko Milanovic, an economist in the World Bank’s research department, declared that "we are in the presence of one of the watershed books in economic thinking."

Suresh Naidu is Assistant Professor in Economics and International and Public Affairs at SIPA. Thomas Edsall is Joseph Pulitzer II and Edith Pulitzer Moore Professor of Journalism at the School of Journalism at Columbia. Victoria de Grazia is Moore Collegiate Professor of History and Director of the Blinken European Institute at Columbia.

Event co-sponsored by the Blinken European Institute and Maison Française of Columbia University


April 21, 2014

7:00 PM

French Department, 515 Philosophy Hall, 1150 Amsterdam

Book Club: Trois femmes puissantes

The book club is held one Monday a month at 7 p.m. and is open to Columbia University students and faculty with a valid and current CUID, and to members of the Société des Amis de la Maison Française.

Trois femmes puissantes by Marie Ndiaye

Moderated by Souleymane Bachir Diagne

April 23, 2014

6:00 - 7:30 PM

East Gallery, Buell Hall

On Social Verdicts : Classes, Identities, Trajectories

Talk by Didier Eribon

Society assigns places: it pronounces verdicts and marks us for life. It puts up frontiers and establishes hierarchies between individuals and groups. The role of critical thought  is to shed light on these social mechanisms and on the logic of social domination and reproduction. Through an analysis of literary, philosophical and sociological texts, Didier Eribon proposes a new theory of political subjectivity.

Didier Eribon is a professor at the School of Philosophy and Social Sciences of the University of Amiens. His books include Michel Foucault (1989, Harvard UP, 1991), Réflexions sur la question gay (1999), Retour à Reims (2009; Returning to Reims, Semiotext(e), 2013) and most recently, La société comme verdict (2013). 

April 24, 2014

7:30 - 10:00 PM

East Gallery, Buell Hall

Cinema Thursday: Games of Love and Chance (L'esquive)

Abdellatif Kechiche, 2003, 123 min

A young tough living in a Parisian ghetto, Abdelkrim, develops a taste for the classics when he falls for a girl who wants to be an actor. Winner of four Cesar awards, including Best Film.

April 29, 2014

7:00 - 8:30 PM

East Gallery, Buell Hall

Pour une stylistique de l'existence

Marielle Macé with Vincent Debaene

In French

Please note: This event will now start at 7 p.m.

Marielle Macé s'efforce de construire une "stylistique de l'existence," et débattra avec Vincent Debaene des enjeux de ce projet qui se situe au croisement des études littéraires et des sciences sociales. Il s’agit de faire du style un instrument général d’analyse des pratiques humaines; de retracer l’histoire qui, dans la période moderne, a placé des questions de style (rythme, geste, éthos...) au coeur de la compréhension des formes de la vie dans tous les domaines de la culture; de reconnaître dans ces questions des lieux de conflits et de décisions de valeurs; et de comprendre la part que la littérature a prise à cette histoire. 

Auteur de Façons de lire, manières d'être (Gallimard, 2011), Directrice de recherche au CNRS, Marielle Macé enseigne la littérature à l'Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales et à New York University.

April 30, 2014

6:00 - 8:30 PM

East Gallery, Buell Hall

Pour une femme with director Diane Kurys

Acclaimed French filmmaker Diane Kurys presents her latest film, Pour une femme, newly released this week in the U.S., and discusses the autobiographical nature of her cinematic work--specifically Jewish identity in post-World War II France--which links her to the films of directors including Claude Miller and Alexandre Arcady.

About Pour une femme, The Hollywood Reporter wrote:  "Inspired by the director's own family history, this beautifully crafted historical melodrama goes back and forth between the immediate postwar period and 1980s France, when a young director (Sylvie Testud) tries to write a screenplay inspired by the story of her parents. French stars Nicolas Duvauchelle and Benoit Magimel play Ukrainian-born but France-raised siblings, with Melanie Thierry playing the latter's young wife." The fictional alter ego of Kurys's mother was previously incarnated by French stars Nathalie Baye in C'est La Vie (1990) and Isabelle Huppert in Entre Nous.

This special event is co-sponsored by the Columbia Maison Française and School of the Arts, with support provided by the Knapp Family Foundation.


May 1, 2014

7:30 - 10:00 PM

East Gallery, Buell Hall

Cinema Thursday: Louise-Michel

Gustave Kervern, 2008, 90 min

What to do when the workers of a factory have been laid off overnight? Louise has an original idea: why not pool the compensation money to ... hire a hit man and to liquidate the boss? A social madcap comedy.

May 7, 2014

6:00 - 8:30 PM

East Gallery, Buell Hall

Peppermint Soda (Diabolo menthe) with director Diane Kurys

1977, 97 min

Acclaimed French filmmaker Diane Kurys discusses this autobiographical film, her directorial debut, about two very different Jewish sisters on the threshold of adolescence whose parents have separated.

Diane Kurys is the writer-director of such popular movies as Entre Nous (1983, aka Coup de foudre) and her English-language Man in Love (1987).

This special event is co-sponsored by the Columbia Maison Française and School of the Arts, with support provided by the Knapp Family Foundation.

Recent News

Centennial News

The Columbia Maison Française Centennial celebration and exhibition have garnered great interest in the press. Articles have been published in the International Herald Tribune/New York Times, Ouest France, Columbia University Record, Columbia Spectator, France-Amérique,,  and more.

To read more, please follow the links below:

The leading design publication Communication Arts selected the Maison Française Centennial website as their "Webpick of the Week" on January 10, 2014. To read more and to view their spotlight on our Centennial website, please click here.

On November 7, the Maison Francaise held its centennial celebration at the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and honored Francois Delattre, French Ambassador to the U.S., with its first Centennial medal. To read more in the French Embassy's News from France newsletter, please click here

VIDEO: Columbia Maison Francaise Centennial Celebration at the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, November 7, 2013


Columbia Maison Francaise Centennial Exhibition, September-October 2013

Columbia Maison Francaise Centennial Celebration on November 7, 2013


New York Times/International Herald Tribune: "When Sartre and Camus Met Hoover's G-Men"

French Morning: "La Maison Française de Columbia fête ses 100 ans"

France-Amérique: "Inauguration de l'exposition pour le centenaire de la Maison Française de Columbia"

France-Amérique: "La Maison Française de Columbia: Cent ans d'histoire franco-américaine"

The Columbia University Record: "Bon Centenaire! Maison Francaise Turns 100" (article includes a brief slideshow of Centennial highlights)

French Culture/Cultural Services of the French Embassy: "Columbia Maison Francaise Centennial Exhibition"

Columbia Spectator: "A Storied History: La Maison Française at 100"

Video interviews with Maison Française Director Shanny Peer: "Les cents ans de la Maison Française de Columbia"

BFM Business: "Le Grand Journal de New York: La Maison Française de Columbia fete ses cents ans"


Event News

Press coverage, photos and videos of recent events:

Videos of recent events:

Spring 2014

Edmund White in conversation with Elisabeth Ladenson, Inside a Pearl: My Years in Paris, February 4, 2014

Roundtable discussion with Srinivas Aravamudan, Siraj Ahmed, with Stathis Gourgouris and Gauri Viswanathan as discussants, moderated by Madeleine Dobie, Orientalism, Philology, Literary History, February 12, 2014

Talk by Domna Stanton, Enslaved to Chocolate: Culture, Commerce and Gender in 17th Century France, February 19, 2014

Columbia French professor, Vincent Debaene, speaks in French on the topic of: Entre informateur et auteur: anthropologie, littérature et authenticité culturelle, February 27, 2014

Conversation with historian Alice Conklin, In the Museum of Man: Race, Anthropology and Empire: 1850-1950, March 11, 2014

French chef Jacques Pépin in conversation with Adam Gopnik, French Cuisine, American Taste: Life as a Chef on Two Continents, April 1, 2014

Fall 2013

Andy Martin, THOUGHT POLICE: the FBI and French Philosophers, September 18, 2013

Barbara Carnevali & Fred Neuhouser, Reading Rousseau Today: the Question of Recognition, September 25, 2013

Proust Reread / Proust relu: Du côté de chez Swann at 100, October 4-5, 2013:

Part I; Part II; Part III; Part IV; Part V; Part VI

Isabelle Gournay & Marie-Laure Crosnier Leconte, Paris-New York, ca. 1913: Architects and the Beaux-Arts Connection, October 7, 2013

Carolyn Burke, Edith Piaf in Manhattan, October 9, 2013

Najat Vallaud-Belkacem and Anne-Marie Slaughter, The Balancing Act: Women, Work and Family in the U.S. and France, October 14, 2013

Roundtable on The Humanities and the MLA Today, October 21, 2013

Antoine Compagnon on his 3 recent books, November 13, 2013

Rachel Mesch, Photoshop Feminism: Belle Epoque Women's Magazines and the Elusive Triumph of the French Woman Writer, November 18, 2013

Roundtable discussion on the question: Does Reputation Matter?, November 22, 2013


Najat Vallaud-Belkacem and Anne-Marie Slaughter, The Balancing Act: Women, Work and Family in the U.S. and France on October 14, 2013 in Low Library

Jacques Martial's performance of Aimé Césaire's Notebook of a Return to My Native Land on October 30, 2013 in Miller Theatre

See more photos on our Facebook page


Press release from the French Cultural Services in the U.S. announcing French director Bertrand Tavernier's visit to New York and the Columbia Maison Francaise: French Director Bertrand Tavernier Comes to New York

Last May, the Maison Française hosted a performance exhibition, peace gathering and procession with Cambodian artist Leang Seckon's Flowering Parachute Skirt  as the event's centerpiece. Seckon transformed a parachute from the Vietnam War, into an emblem of reconciliation. To learn more about Seckon, his work and inspiration, please follow this link to an article in the Phnom Penh Post: "Man in the Mirror: the Many Sides of Leang Seckon"

Andy Martin, who spoke at the Maison Française in September on FBI files and French Philosophers, wrote an essay based on this talk published online by Prospect Magazine: "The FBI Files on Being and Nothingness"

The Balancing Act: Women, Work and Family in the U.S. and France, a dialogue with Najat Vallaud-Belkacem and Anne-Marie Slaughter on October 14, 2013:

To watch the video of this discussion, please click here.

Le Monde: "Walls and Bridges, Festival de la pensée transatlantique"

France-Amérique: "Najat Vallaud-Belkacem et Anne-Marie Slaughter débattent de l’égalité hommes-femmes à Columbia University" Video: "La ministre Najat Vallaud-Belkacem en conférence à Columbia University"

French Morning: "La ministre française, l'ex-diplomate américaine et l'égalité des sexes"