Van Kelly

Associate Professor of French
Primary office:
785-864-9073
Wescoe Hall
Room 2073
University of Kansas
1445 Jayhawk Blvd
Lawrence, KS 66045-7594


 

Contact information

vkelly@ku.edu

Education

B.A. Vanderbilt Univerity 1974

Ph.D. University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill 1982

About

Van Kelly specializes in contemporary French and Francophone studies with emphases on modern French global poetry and novel, Senegal, Dakar, Wolof, film qua film and as cultural artifact, digital humanities and the global south, comparative urban cultures, empires and postcolonies, human rights and civil society, and sub-Saharan Francophone literatures and cultures. His teaching and research focus on the conjuncture of self-expression and self-crafting (gesture, rhythm, mimesis, image, sound and silence, pov, montage, collage, performance, multilingualism, avatars) with questions of history and ideology (liberation and resistance, human rights, immigration, social and political thought, utopias and dystopias, urban spaces).  He is a member of the Centre de recherches sur le roman des années cinquante au contemporain (CERACC, Université de Paris III-Sorbonne nouvelle), the Modern Language Association, West African Research Association, African Studies Association, African Literature Association, and the Conseil international d’études francophones

Recent and Selected Publications

Books and Special Journal Issues

Pascalian Fictions: Antagonism and Absent Agency in Pascal's Wager and Other Pensées. Birmingham, Alabama: Summa Publications, 1992

Epic and Epoch: Essays on the Interpretation and History of a Genre. S. Oberhelman, V. Kelly and R. J. Golsan, eds. Comparative Literature Series. Lubbock: Texas Tech Univ. Press, 1994.

Cinéma engagé: Activist Filmmaking in French and Francophone Contexts.” Van Kelly and Rosemarie Scullion, eds. Special Issue, South Central Review 17.3 (Fall 2000).

“Literature Between Philosophy and History: Essays in Memory of Professor Edouard Morot Sir.” Van Kelly and R. J. Golsan, eds.  Special issue, Romance Notes 35.3 (1995). 

Articles

“Mapping Self and/as Other: Attempts to Fuse Horizons in Modiano and Le Clézio. Special Issue: “’Detecting’ Patrick Modiano.” Yale French Studies. 27 pp. In press. Forthcoming, spring 2018.

“La poésie de Jude Stefan entre le lisible et le scriptible.” L’illisibilité en question. B. Gorillot and A. Lescart, eds. Lille, France: Presses du Septentrion 2014.  233-241. 

“Sols/seuils de la légende et du mythe dans Ourania de J.-M. G. Le Clézio: la place du sacré dans l'écriture de Daniel Sillitoe In Marie-Hélène Boblet, ed. Chances du roman, charmes du mythe. Paris: Presses de la Sorbonne Nouvelle, 2013. 179-187.

“La Rhétorique d’HHhH : entrer dans le virage avec Binet, Heydrich, Gabčik et Kubiš.” In Mémoires occupées: Fictions françaises et Seconde Guerre mondiale. Marc Dambre, Christopher D. Lloyd, Richard J. Golsan, eds.  Paris :  Presses de la Sorbonne Nouvelle, 2013. 137-144.

“Difficile Traversée: Dakar, Gorée et les passeurs dans « Barsa, ou barsaq » de J.-M. G. Le Clézio.”  Spec. Issue: “J.-M.- G. Le Clézio.” Isabelle Gillet-Roussel and Sabrinelle Bedrane, eds.  Romans 20-50, no. 55 (June 2013): 51-64.

“Tentation du minimalisme et puissance du bricolage: Jean Echenoz vs. Agnès Varda.” Romanciers minimalistes 1979-2003. Marc Dambre and Bruno Blanckeman, eds. Colloque de Cerisy.  Paris:  Presses de la Sorbonne Nouvelle, 2012. 271-281.

“Ghérasim Luca, Mental Capture, and the Omega Point.” Contemporary French and Francophone Studies 15:5 (Dec. 2011): 563-572.

“Mythes contrastés de la France résistante : René Char et Charles de Gaulle.” La France des écrivain: éclats d'un mythe littéraire. Eds. Marie Odile André, Marc Dambre, and Michel P. Schmitt, eds. Paris: Presses de la Sorbonne Nouvelle, 2011. 41-51.

“Jorge Semprun’s Broken Mirror: The Broader Text of Resistance, the Shoah, and Camps in L’écriture ou la vie and Le retour de Carola Neher.” L’Esprit créateur 50.4 (Winter 2010): 20-33.

 “Du bon usage des ruines: feux croisés de Céline et Volodine.” Écritures de la guerre aux XXe et XXIe siècles.  Eds. Marie-Hélène Boblet and Bernard Alazet.  Dijon, France Éditions Universitaires de Dijon, 2010.  Pp. 143-153

 “À la lisière de l’horreur : Jorge Semprun et ses retours à Buchenwald.” À la baïonnette et au scalpel: comment l’horreur s’écrit.  Eds. Caroline de Mulder and Pierre Schoentjes. Romanica Gandensia XXXVIII. Geneva: Droz, 2009.  Pp. 149-161.

“René Daumal’s Exceptional French and Hindu Poetics: Poetry as Inward Theatre, Posture, and Meditation in the Light of Tzara, Desnos, and Dupin.” Sites: Contemporary French and Francophone Studies 12.3 (August 2008) : 393-401.

 “La poésie de René Char: un parcours initiatique des arts de l’espace, du Tombeau des secrets à Recherche de la base et du sommet,” in Michel Collot, Yves Peyré, and Maryse Vassevière, eds., La bibliothèque littéraire Jacques Doucet: archive de la modernité.  Paris: Presses de la Sorbonne Nouvelle et Editions des Cendres, 2007. Pp. 188-209.

“Passages beyond the Resistance: René Char’s Seuls demeurent and its Harmonics in Semprun and Foucault.” Sub-stance 32.3 (2003): 110-32.

"René Char." In J.F. Leroux, ed. Dictionary of Literary Biography, vol. 258: Modern French Poets. Detroit: Gayle Research, 2002. Pp. 104-125. 12,750 words

"The Ambiguity of Individual Gestures:  Revisions of World War I in Abel Gance's Film J'accuse, Alain’s Mars ou La guerre jugée, and Bertrand Tavernier’s La vie et rien d’autre.” South Central   Review 17.3 (Fall 2000):  6-34.

Introduction. Special issue: “Cinéma engagé: Activist Filmmaking in French and Francophone Contexts.” South Central Review 17.3 (Fall 2000):  1-6.

"Maurice Papon’s Transition after World War II:  A Prefect’s Road from Bordeaux, through Algeria, to Paris (August 1944-October 1961)."  In Richard J. Golsan, ed., The Papon Affair:  Memory and Justice on Trial.  London:  Routledge, 2000.  35-72.  “Yet perhaps the most disturbing theme revealed…. with particular force by Van Kelly in his reconstruction of Papon’s post-war career, is the frequency and oblivious ease with which the clockwork of French technocracy has obscured, suspended, and violated human rights in the interest of expediency and continuity” (Review, Sub-stance 31.1 (2002): 126-7).   

Current Projects

“Cityscapes and Mindscapes: Mapping ‘Border Crossings’ within Political, Social, and Spiritual Spaces of Dakar and Saint-Louis, Senegal, through the Optics of Literature and Film.” Book.

“Against the Sense of an Ending: René Char and the Paradoxes of Totality, Combat, and Freedom, 1938-1948.” Book.

“Allies and Adversaries: Paradoxes of Motion, Decision, and Ethical Evaluation in Felwine Sarr, Dahij and Méditations africaines, and René Char, “Le poème pulvérisé.” Article.

“Across from Goree: Crossing Intra-Urban Borders in Dakar, Sénégal, from Dakar-Plateau to the Médina, Gueule Tapée, Ñaari Tali, and Bel Air.” Article.

“Blindness and the Final Insight: Beyond MacGuffins in Philippe Falardeau’s Congorama.” Article.

Recent Graduate Courses Taught

Oralité, témoignage, et la rencontre des voix—J.-M. G. Le Clézio, Patrick Modiano, Eugène Guillevic, Wajdi Mouawad, Maryse Condé (Spring 2017)

L’écriture du risque mortel—André Malraux, Jorge Semprun, Boubacar Boris Diop, Marguerite Duras, Tahar Ben Jelloun, J.-M. G. Le Clézio (Fall 2016).

Introduction to Modern French Poetry—Baudelaire, Apollinaire, Char, Césaire (Fall 2014)

Fantômes de la Décision—Rimbaud, Le Clézio, Perec, NDiaye, Modiano (Fall 2013)

Le Pays et dépaysement d’Apollinaire et Proust à Guillevic, Duras et Le Clézio (Fall 2012)

Criticism and Critical Methods (Fall 2010)

French and Francophone Writers Since 1968 (Spring 2010)

80 Poems and Their Paratexts, from Baudelaire to Marie Alloy (Spring 2007)

Recent Undergraduate Courses Taught

Postcolonial Francophone Film (Spring 2017, Fall 2015)

Tale of Two Cities, Paris/Dakar (Spring 2015)

Double Take: Five Plays, Five Films (Spring 2016)

French Literature of the Twentieth- and Twenty-First Centuries Fall (Fall 2016, Spring 2015, Spring 2014)

Paris, City of Legends, City of Light (Spring 2016, Spring 2014)

Film in and Beyond France (Spring 2013)

French Culture Through Film, 1950 to Present (Spring 2014)

French 592:  French Culture Through Film, Origins to 1950 (Spring 2011)

Areas of Interest 

Modern French global poetry and novel, Wolof, Dakar, Senegal, film qua film and as cultural artefact, digital humanities and the global south, urban cultures, empires and postcolonies, human rights and civil society, sub-Saharan Francophone literature and cultures.  Among the literary and artistic figures whose works interest me are Djibril Mambéty-Diop, Claire Denis, Agnès Varda, Raoul Peck, René Char, Yves Bonnefoy, Christian Dotremont, Aimé Césaire, Cheikh Hamidou Kane, Boubacar Boris Diop, Ken Bugul, Aminata Sow Fall, Ousmane Sembene, Felwine Sarr, Scholastique Mukasonga,Véronique Tadjo, Jorge Semprún, J.-M. G. Le Clézio, Patrick Deville, Alain Gomis, Philippe Falardeau, Wajdi Mouawad, Kandinsky, Miró, Chéri Samba, and Sammy Baloji.


Giving

Statement on Concealed Carry

One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
—ALA
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times