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Ari Blatt's scholarship focuses mainly on modern and contemporary French literature and culture. His first book, Pictures into Words, explores the impact of the visual and the visual arts on contemporary French fiction. His interest in the various connections that crop up between media also led him to co-edit an issue of Yale French Studies entitled “Writing and the Image Today” (2008). Other published work includes articles on television and literature; on “interphototextuality” in narrative, theory, the visual arts, and criticism; on manic fiction; on the suspension of movement in cinema; on topographic narratives; on writing about walking; and on looking at (and listening to) trees. He recently co-edited an essay collection entitled France in Flux: Space, Territory, and Contemporary Culture, and is writing a book on vernacular landscapes in contemporary French photography.
Prof. Blatt enjoys supervising undergraduate and graduate student research. He has directed over a dozen Distinguished Major Theses in the last decade on a range of topics that include: rap and violence in the banlieue; cinema and poetry about the Nazi Occupation of France; the “French Paradox”; representations of diversity in contemporary Francophone bandes dessinées; and recent forms of French anti-semitim. He has also directed a number of Ph.D. dissertations on subjects that span the modern and contemporary periods (for example, on project-based narratives; on the scatological dimensions of the Holocaust; on contemporary counter-utopian fictions; and on cutting-edge digital writing practices). He regularly teaches seminars that engage many of these themes, and more, and consistently strives to make his courses relevant beyond the classroom. Prof. Blatt firmly believes that as a faculty member he owes it to his students to be generous, compassionate, open minded and, occasionally, funny.
Deeply committed to study abroad, Prof. Blatt created a two-week January Term seminar entitled "Making Paris Modern: A Secret History of the City of Light." He has taught this course, on site in Paris, each year since 2011.
In addition to his research and teaching, he currently serves on the editorial board for Image & Narrative, Contemporary French Civilization, and Symposium. Prof. Blatt also served as Director of Graduate Studies in French (2012-2014) and, from 2014-2017, as Department Chair.
Brandeis University, B.A.
University of Pennsylvania, M.A. and Ph.D.
Twentieth- and Twenty-First Century French Literature and Film; Word and Image Studies; History and Theory of Photography, and Contemporary Photography from France; Contemporary French Civilization and Culture.
Lately, Prof. Blatt has also been developing a new interest in our experience of landscape, practices of deambulation, and the ways we attend to nature (or, more often, do not).
Mellon Faculty Fellow, University of Virginia, Institute of the Humanities and Global Cultures (2020-2021)
Mead Endowment Honored Faculty, University of Virginia (2020-2021/Postponed until 2021-2022)
Buckner W. Clay Grant for Emerging Issues in the Global Humanities, University of Virginia, Institute of the Humanities and Global Cultures (2014-2015)
University Teaching Fellowship, University of Virginia Teaching Resource Center (2010-2011)
Sesquicentennial Fellowship, University of Virginia (2009-2010, 2017-2018)
Summer Stipend, University of Virginia, College of Arts and Sciences (2007, 2011, 2014, 2017)
Excellence in Diversity Fellowship, University of Virginia Teaching Resource Center (2006-2007)
Bourse Chateaubriand, Dissertation Grant for Research in France, Ambassade de France aux Etats-Unis, Washington, D.C. (2003-2004)
Bourse Jeanne Marandon, Dissertation Grant for Research in France, Société des Professeurs Français et Francophones d’Amérique, New York (2003-2004)
Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching, School of Arts and Sciences, University of Pennsylvania (2002)
Penn Prize for Excellence in Teaching by Graduate Students, University of Pennsylvania (2002)
Publications and Other Scholarly Activity
- Reviewed in The French Review, Criticism, Acta Fabula, French Studies, H-France Review, Modern & Contemporary France, Image & Narrative.
Edited Book Volume
Edited Journal Volume
Articles and Book Chapters
"Into the Woods," Contemporary French and Francophone Studies: Sites, Special Issue on "Frontiers of Ecocriticism" (forthcoming 2021.)
"En Marche! Walking and Writing with Sylvain Tesson and François Garde," The French Review 93:3 (March 2020), 56-65.
"Arpenter le monde d'après." In Thierry Girard, Le monde d'après (La Madeleine: Éditions Light Motiv, 2019), 234-37.
"Picturing a Nation of Local Places in the Observatoire photographique du paysage and France(s) territoire liquide," France in Flux: Space, Territory, and Contemporary Culture, ed. Ari J. Blatt and Edward Welch (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2019), 186-215.
“Traversing the Territoire,” Romanic Review 108 (January-November 2017): 277-92.
“Un territoire truffé de traces,” Nouvelles Francographies 5:1 (2015): 49-68.
“Détours en France: On the Road with Jean-Christophe Bailly and Raymond Depardon,” Contemporary French Civilization 39:2 (July 2014): 161-77. Also published as “Tours et détours en France: Sur la route avec Jean-Christophe Bailly et Raymond Depardon,” Portraits de pays illustrés: Un genre phototextuel, ed. Anne Reverseau (Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2017), 275-92.
“Thinking Photography in Film, or The Suspended Cinema of Agnès Varda and Jean Eustache,” French Forum 36:2-3 (Spring/Fall 2011): 181-200.
“Tanguy Viel’s Manic Fictions,” Contemporary French and Francophone Studies: Sites 14:4 (September 2010): 373-380.
“Phototextuality: Photography, Literature, Criticism,” Visual Studies 24:2 (Sep. 2009): 108-21.
“The Interphototextual Dimension of Annie Ernaux and Marc Marie’s L’Usage de la photo,” Word & Image 25:1 (Jan.-Mar. 2009): 46-55.
“The Revolution will be Televised, or Didier Daeninckx’s Cathode Fictions,” in “Writing and the Image Today,” Jan Baetens and Ari J. Blatt, eds. Yale French Studies 114 (Nov. 2008): 144-55.
“The Play’s the Thing: Marivaux and the Banlieue in Abdellatif Kechiche’s L’Esquive,” The French Review 81:3 (Feb. 2008): 34-45.
“Towards an Iconology of the Text: Art History and the Expanded Field in Claude Simon’s Triptyque,” Word & Image 22:1 (Jan.-Mar. 2006): 68-76.
“Remake: Appropriating Film in Tanguy Viel’s Cinéma,” Contemporary French and Francophone Studies: Sites 9:4 (Dec. 2005): 379-86.
David Martens and Anne Reverseau, Pays de papier: Les livres de voyage (Charleroi, Belgium: Musée de la photographie, 2019). Reviewed in Transbordeur: Photographie, histoire, société (forthcoming 2021).
Akane Kawakami, Photobiography: Photographic Self-Writing in Proust, Guibert, Ernaux, and Macé (Oxford: Legenda, 2013). Reviewed in The French Review 89:2 (2015): 220.
Leon Sachs, The Pedagogical Imagination: The Republican Legacy in Twenty-First-Century French Literature and Film (Lincoln and London: U of Nebraska P, 2014). Reviewed in Contemporary French Civilization 40:1 (2015): 98-100.
Rosa Mucignat, Realism and Space in the Novel, 1795-1869: Imagined Geographies (Farnham: Ashgate, 2013). Reviewed in Modern Language Review 109:1 (2014): 228-29.
Christine Baron and Manfred Engel, eds. Realism/Anti-Realism in 20th-Century Literature (Amsterdam, New York, and Berlin: Rodopi and Weidler Bucherverlag, 2010). Reviewed in Modern Language Review 107:3 (July 2012): 900-902.
Bérénice Bonhomme, Claude Simon, la passion cinéma (Villeneuve d’Ascq: PU du Septentrion, 2011). Reviewed in Romanic Review 102.1-2 (Jan.-March 2011): 290-92.
Andrew Sobanet, Jail Sentences: Representing Prison in Twentieth-Century French Fiction (Lincoln and London: U of Nebraska P, 2008). Reviewed in French Forum 34:2 (Spring 2009): 154-56.
Rosemary Lloyd, Shimmering in a Transformed Light: Writing the Still Life (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 2005). Reviewed in French Forum 31: 1 (Winter 2006): 128-30.
“Thierry Girard: L’intelligence du paysage/Intelligent Landscapes” University of Virginia, Department of French, February 16-May 18, 2015. A recap, which includes Prof. Blatt's introductory text in both French and English, can be found on the artist’s website: <https://wordspics.wordpress.com/2015/03/06/intelligent-landscapes-lintelligence-du-paysage/>. The exhibition was also featured in “L’oeil de la photograhie/The Eye of Photography: The Daily Magazine of Photography,” Monday, April 27, 2015: <http://www.loeildelaphotographie.com/2015/04/27/exhibition/27865/charlottesville-intelligent-landscapes-by-thierry-girard-at-the-university-of-virginia>.
Palimpsestic Culture: Remakes, Rewritings, Recyclings, and other Aesthetic Borrowings
Thinking the Visual/Writing the Image in Modern and Contemporary France
French Literature Now!
The Occupation and Its Ambiguous Legacies
Consumerism, Mass Culture, and the Spectacle in France (1945-2008)
The Contemporary Novel, or "Is French Literature Burning?"
Writing and Photography
The Extreme Contemporary, or What the French are Reading Now
Literature of the Nineteenth, Twentieth, and Twenty-First-Centuries: Great Books
The Occupation and After
Masterpieces of French Cinema
Reflections of the Republic in Literature and Film
Text, Image, Culture
From Ordinary to Extraordinary: How the Arts Transform Everyday Life (First Year Advising Seminar)
Making Paris Modern: A Secret History of the City of Light (J-Term Seminar in Paris)