By MORGAN TARPLEY
Dolliann Hurtig, an associate professor of foreign
languages, was a chosen speaker at Henderson State University-Arkadelphia April
Hurtig spoke on “French Civilization and Culture” at Henderson’s
11th Annual International Focus Week held April 3-7; the event is the
equivalent of Tech’s International Days.
Hurtig spoke about different themes of the French culture
using songs and poetry about controversial issues.
“I used a song about the issues that girls have with their
bodies and how most girls want to look like supermodels,” Hurtig said.
“I didn’t want to speak about the French songs like the
‘I love you, and you love me’ fluff, but I wanted to give students a deeper
understanding of the issues of the French culture and how the same issues face
the world, not just the United States.”
Hurtig said her next song dealt with the treatment of
Arab immigration, and the other songs and poems were about the Cajun culture.
“The [Arab] song was about how four generations of Arab
immigrants called the Beurs are facing persecution and having doors shut in
their faces, even though they are [natural-born] French citizens,” Hurtig said.
“The Cajun song is about the ‘grass is greener on the other side’ phrase, and
the poetry is about the expulsion of a group of French people from Nova
Scotia who settled in South Louisiana.”
Hurtig was invited as a guest speaker by Bob Yehl, the
chair of the International Focus Week committee and chair of the Huie Library
at Henderson, along with Tech alumnus
Herman “Doc” Gibson, a member of the International Focus Week and chair of the
department of sociology at Henderson.
Gibson said Hurtig was chosen to speak due to the theme
for Henderson’s International Focus
“Every year for [Henderson’s]
International Focus Week, it is devoted to generally a specific global region
or cluster of countries,” Gibson said. “This year the region focused on was Western
Europe, which included France,
Germany and Belgium.”
Gibson said all the speakers spoke on some aspect of
history, politics, culture and language of the three countries.
“[Our committee] wanted to find someone to speak on
French culture and civilization, so I checked at Tech and found Dr. Hurtig, who
has her doctorate in French from Tulane,” Gibson said.
“We thought, ‘Who better to talk about French than
someone who had studied in South Louisiana and who
specializes in French literature?’”
Lee Mitchell, an instructor of French at Henderson,
said Hurtig gave a presentation to his elementary French class.
“[Hurtig]’s speech was perfect for my French class,”
Mitchell said. “Her speech, based on contemporary French and international
issues, was very interesting.”
Gibson said Hurtig did an excellent job as an
International Focus speaker.
“[Hurtig] took two current songs from the French culture,
a Cajun song and poem to show a glimpse of modern French issues and culture,”
Gibson said. “She spoke to my sociology class, and she kept the students
interested by using modern issues in French songs and poetry as a way to give
insight to French culture.”