Title

Qui est français?: Negotiating National Identity in Alain Badiou's Ahmed philosophe

Presenter Information

Jordan Talbot

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC 135

Start Date

21-5-2015

End Date

21-5-2015

Keywords

Identity, Immigrant, French

Abstract

Alain Badiou’s character Ahmed is often compared to Molière’s classic character Scapin. Both characters are tricksters who use their lower-class status in order to speak truth to power. However, Badiou uses Ahmed to challenge the political climate of France, while Scapin merely pokes at the silliness of the French bourgeois. Scapin is assumed to be an intellectual because he is already French. Ahmed must advocate for his status as an intellectual. In this paper, I conduct a close reading of Ahmed philosophe, looking at the relationship between Ahmed and Madame Pompestan. Ahmed’s conversations with Madame Pompestan explore the construction of French identity and French intellectualism. Through their interactions, the audience can understand that Ahmed has as much of a right to the intellectual, philosophical, and political traditions of France as the most elite members of the French government, represented by Madame Pompestan.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Jay Ball

Department/Program

Theatre

Additional Mentoring Department

Theatre

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May 21st, 3:40 PM May 21st, 4:00 PM

Qui est français?: Negotiating National Identity in Alain Badiou's Ahmed philosophe

SURC 135

Alain Badiou’s character Ahmed is often compared to Molière’s classic character Scapin. Both characters are tricksters who use their lower-class status in order to speak truth to power. However, Badiou uses Ahmed to challenge the political climate of France, while Scapin merely pokes at the silliness of the French bourgeois. Scapin is assumed to be an intellectual because he is already French. Ahmed must advocate for his status as an intellectual. In this paper, I conduct a close reading of Ahmed philosophe, looking at the relationship between Ahmed and Madame Pompestan. Ahmed’s conversations with Madame Pompestan explore the construction of French identity and French intellectualism. Through their interactions, the audience can understand that Ahmed has as much of a right to the intellectual, philosophical, and political traditions of France as the most elite members of the French government, represented by Madame Pompestan.