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    Dr. Elisabeth Donato, associate professor of modern languages at Clarion University, was the opening speaker in the Spring 2009 portion of the Faculty Author Seminar Series.

donato faculty author

    Donato presented “Je t’aime…Moi non plus: Images of America in the Early French Rock Press,” which discussed the “serious” rock and roll criticism that emerged in France in the second half of the 1960’s. Donato’s research was conducted through popular French magazines, primarily focusing on, Rock & Folk magazine.
    Her PowerPoint presentation opened with a list of American artists and songs that made the French top-20 list in 1966. Artists included: Simon and Garfunkel, James Brown, Nancy Sinatra, Frank Sinatra, James Brown, The Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, The Lovin’ Spoonful, Sonny and Cher, The Supremes, and Otis Redding. Their popularity led to French artists converting to their own style of rock and roll.
     Donato also discussed the discourse of early French rock criticism, reflecting a fascination with, and attraction to America in an era when France was paradoxically expressing some staunch anti-American sentiments.
    “French artists were changing their names to American monikers such as: Jean Philippe Smet as Johnny Hallyday, Claude Moine as Eddy Mitchell and Herve Fornieri as Dick Rivers,” said Donato.  “To the French, America was imaginary, and Rock & Folk magazine helped shape the opinions the French had on America. The magazine showed us images of America that were ignored. The French rock press is now starting to recognize themselves as French, because rock and roll doesn’t belong to a culture, it’s a style of music.” 
    In closing, Donato played a song written by French artist, Michel Sardou, titled “Les Ricains,” and held open discussion and questions.
    Dr. Laurie Occhipinti, professor of anthropology, will be the next speaker for the series on Feb. 16 at noon, in the Center for Academic Excellence, Level A., Carlson Library. For further information, contact pkolencik@clation.edu.
    This is the second year for the Faculty Author Seminar Series, which has a goal of establishing a forum for faculty to share their scholarly activities with the university campus community. The Faculty Affairs Committee of Clarion University Faculty Senate in cooperation with the University Libraries sponsors the series. This initiative is funded through the Clarion University-Wide Faculty Development Committee's Presidential Advancement Award.
    Clarion University is the high-achieving, nationally recognized, comprehensive university that delivers a personal and challenging academic experience.

Published
2/5/2009 3:40 PM

Donato discusses American images in French rock press