Amin Erfani, PhD – CV
Positions & Education
Assistant Professor of French & Comparative Literature, the Department of Languages and Literatures, Lehman College; City University of New York
Doctoral Lecturer of French, The Department of Languages and Literatures,Lehman College, City University of New York, Fall 2013 – Spring 2018
Visiting Assistant Professor of French, The Department of French and Italian, Emory University, August 2011-May 2013.
Ph.D. in French Literature & Graduate Certificates in Comparative Literature & Psychoanalytic Studies, from Emory University, Atlanta, GA, Summer 2011.
M.A., French Literature, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY, December 2004.
B.A., Comparative Literature and French Language and Literature, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY, Summer 2003.
20th and 21st Century French and Francophone Literature; Comparative Literature; Theater; Psychoanalytic & Critical Theory
Academic Book Project
Theatricality Beyond Disciplines (Recipient of the Faculty Fellowship Publication Program, CUNY, 2020-2021)
This book expands on theories of “theatricality” in French and critical studies, taking a transdisciplinary approach beyond performance studies into poetry, media technology, translation studies, critical and psychoanalytic theory. This reconfiguration builds upon Antonin Artaud’s elaboration of the “theater” as a “plague”: a cataclysmic event, both unforeseeable and contagious, that disrupts power structures, pre-established fields of knowledge, and accepted representational categories. Working against millennia-long Aristotelian norms of “healing” and “teaching” society, “theatricality” here reveals to be a disruptive force, akin to what Artaud names “the return of the repressed,” calling for absolute hospitality toward radical otherness. Also breaking from traditional scholarship, the chapters in this book show “theatricality” to be detached from its western conception as primarily visual, revealing its modality to be rather aural, one that incites “paranoiac listening,” invokes an irretrievable “primal scene,” and allows for unconscious and “psychic” contamination. This “theatricality” is explored through works by prominent as well as contemporary figures – Freud, Kristeva, Girard, Derrida, but also Baudelaire, Artaud, Genet, Novarina – who upset the premises of their own artistic genres and fields of study, questioning binary systems of thought at the heart of the western tradition, such as “artistic” production versus “theoretical” articulation, the “technological” versus the “natural,” “art” versus “life.” As demonstrated here, such binaries structurally rely on processes of repression, sacrificial violence, and the abjection of the voiceless other. These readings of “theatricality” therefore assign a generative function to traditionally maligned notions of unintelligibility, marginality, madness, contagion, criminality, and intoxication.
Co-directed by Dr. Geoffrey Bennington and Dr. Claire Nouvet.
This dissertation is a multidisciplinary study of theatrical and critical corpuses by four 20th century and contemporary French authors, responding to the work of Antonin Artaud, whose precepts challenge dramatic, discursive, and conceptual rules of representation. It focuses on the tension between speech enactment and discursive structures, depicted in the motif of “souffle” as a base for affective transmission across performance, literary, and analytic fields.
Bernard-Marie Koltès: Seven Plays. Ed. Amin Erfani. Martin E. Segal Theater Center Publications. New York (2022).
An Incomprehensible Mother Tongue. Valère Novarina. Trans. Amin Erfani. Martin E. Segal Theater Center Publications. New York, May 2015.
“The Night Just Before the Forests.” By Bernard-Marie Koltès. Trans. Amin Erfani. In Bernard-Marie Koltès : De l’oeuvre au style en passant par le registre.Ed. André Petitjean. Editions Universitaires de Dijon, June 4, 2014, pp. 271-288.
Dictionnaire Bernard-Marie Koltès : « Amérique du Nord. » Ed. Florence Bernard. Éditions Honoré Champion, forthcoming 2022.
Dictionnaire Bernard-Marie Koltès : « Traduction. » Ed. Florence Bernard. Éditions Honoré Champion, forthcoming 2022.
Dictionnaire Bernard-Marie Koltès : « Rapport au metteur en scène. » Ed. Florence Bernard. Éditions Honoré Champion, forthcoming 2022.
Introduction: Bernard-Marie Koltès: Seven Plays. Ed. Amin Erfani. Martin E. Segal Theater Center Publications. New York, forthcoming, 2022.
“Secular Prayers : Genet’s Criminal Child.” Contemporary French and Francophone Studies, vol. 14, August 2020.
“Traduire l’étrangeté de la langue chez Koltès: The Night Just Before the Forests.” In Bernard-Marie Koltès : De l’oeuvre au style en passant par le registre.Ed. André Petitjean. Editions Universitaires de Dijon, June 4, 2014, pp. 265-270.
“La Parole est une affaire d’essoufflement.” In Dans la solitude de Bernard-Marie Koltès. Ed. Christophe Bident, Arnaud Maïsetti et Sylvie Patron. Revue Textuel. Éditions Hermann, Paris, Fvrier 15, 2014, pp. 51-56.
“La Chose musicale de Francis Ponge : vers une résonance pré-textuelle.” Ed. Scott Shinabargar. In La Revue des Sciences Humaines. Université de Lille III, avril-juin 2014.
“Le Souffle de Bernard-Marie Koltès: les inventions de l’autre dans la Nuit juste avant les forêts.” In Koltès maintenant et autres métamorphoses. Eds. Yannick Butel, Christophe Bident, Christophe Triau, Arnaud Maisetti. Paris, Peter Lang, coll. Liminaires – Passages interculturels italo-ibériques, vol. 18, 2010, pp. 145-160.
“Charles Baudelaire et le Théâtre du Mal.” In Revue Littérature,no157. Ed. Martin Mégevand, Paris: Editions Armand Colin, pp. 51-65, April 2010.
“Le Texte errant: La Textualité incarnée dans L’Enfant de sable.” In Nouvelles Etudes Francophones, Vol. 21, No.1, pp.79-95, Spring 2006.
“Trauma, Theater, and Translation,” New York Theatre Artists for Ukraine: A 12-hour online marathon of readings and conversations with 24 New York theatre institutions (Part One), The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, 16 April 2022.
Book launch, staged readings, followed by Q&A for Bernard-Marie Koltès: Seven Plays (Martin Segal Publications, 2022), at Villa Albertine, French Embassy, New York city, April 8, 2022.
« L’écriture et la mort: les Valises de Jean Genet », 39th Annual 20th & 21st-Century French & Francophone Studies International Colloquium, Média / Mediums, March 24, 2022.
“Artaud’s Contagious Cries: Virtuality as Aurality,” 52nd Northeast Modern Language Association Annual Conference, March 12, 2021; Guest Speaker, French Doctoral Program, Graduate Center, City University of New York, Match 11, 2022.
Co-organizer of the International Academic Conference: “Open Borders: Translation and its Perils,” sponsored by the School of Arts & Humanities at Lehman College, the departments of PhD in Comparative Literature, French, Italian, and Spanish at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. October 15-16, 2021.
Guest Speaker, « Traduire le théâtre de Valère Novarina », Departement de Lettres, Sciences du langage et Arts, Université Lumière Lyon 2, Lyon, France, October 7, 2019.
Guest Speaker, « La République des traducteurs 2: Atelier de la pensée autour des traducteurs de Valère Novarina », Théâtre Nationale de la Colline, Paris, France, October 5, 2019.
Guest speaker, “Theater Without Drama: In Search of a French Tradition,” School of Modern Languages, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, September 19, 2019.
Guest speaker, “Reading Koltès’ Roberto Zucco,” DramaTech, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, September 18, 2019.
Guest Speaker, “New Directions In Comparative Literature,” the Ph.D. Program in Comparative Literature, CUNY Graduate Center, March 29, 2019.
“Monstrous Tongues: On Foreignness in the Theater of Bernard-Marie Koltès,” Northeast Modern Language Association 50th Anniversary Convention, Washington, DC, March 22, 2019.
“Survivance: Jean Genet’s Criminal Child,” 20th- and 21st- Century French & Francophone International Colloquium, 36th Edition : Oklahoma City, March 14, 2019.
Guest Speaker at New York University’s “La Maison Française” in relation to my translation of Bernard-Marie Koltès’ La Nuit juste avant les forêts/The Night Just Before The Forests; discussion following a staged reading of excerpts of the original French and my American translation of the play, with NYU undergraduate & graduate students, as well as faculty and the general public; organized by the French Department at New York University; March 28, 2017.
Guest speaker, alongside author Valère Novarina and Martin Segal Theater director, Dr. Frank Hentschker, following the performance of L’Animal du temps (“The Animal of Time”) by Valère Novarina, translated by Amin Erfani, at the Martin E. Segal Theater, CUNY Graduate Center, as part of the PEN World Voices Festival, May 4 2015.
“Breaking the Radio Waves: Interference as Text in Artaud and Novarina,” 20th and 21st Century French and Francophone Studies International Colloquium, Traces, Fragments, Restes, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, March 2013.
“Traduire l’étrangeté de la langue chez Koltès: The Night Just Before the Forests,” Biennale Bernard-Marie Koltès 2012, Université de Matez, Metz, France, October 18, 2012
“Edouard Levé’s American Autoportrait,” Spaces of French Migration, Culture, and Politics in the 20th Century Americas, by the South Atlantic Center of the Institute of the Americas Workshop and Collaborative Conference, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA, February 10-12, 2012.
“The Crying Crowd: Caribbean Theater as Post-Dramatic,” Comparative Caribbeans: an Interdisciplinary Conference, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, November 3-5 2011.
“Valère Novarina: Staging the Infant Tongue,” Psychoanalytic Studies Fall 2010 Brown-bag, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, October 15 2010.
“Mother Tongue,” International Koltès Symposium, organized by 7 Stages Theatre, Alliance Française, Atlanta, GA, April 3 2010.
“Le Souffle de Bernard-Marie Koltès: les inventions de l’autre dans la Nuit juste avant les forêts.” ConferenceBernard-Marie Koltès, organized by Christophe Bident, Arnaud Maisetti, Christophe Triau, University of Paris VII, Diderot, Paris, France, November 12-14 2009.
“The End of Theory is Only the Beginning: of Blood in Jacques Derrida’s Circumfession.” South Central Modern Language Association Sixty Sixth Annual Meeting, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, October 30 2009.
“The Scene of the Unrepresentable: The Transferential Setup in Beckett’s Not I.” Psychoanalytic Studies Fall 2008 Brown-bag, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, November 6 2008.
“The Theater of Affectivity: For a Study of Unconscious ‘Susceptibility’ in Analytic and Theatrical Setups.”Theater and/as Psychoanalysis, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, March 29 2008.
“From the Object to the Thing: Lacan’s Subject Formation Through Perrault’s Fairy Tales”. International Conference on Narrative, Georgetown University, Washington DC, March 17 2007.
“La Chose musicale de Francis Ponge: vers une résonance pre-textuelle”. Annual French Department Colloquium, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, February 10 2007.
Selection of Courses:
Created Graduate Course in French:
Theater Without Drama: In Search of a Contemporary French Tradition. French 86200/THEA80200 – Seminar in Dramatic Genre; PhD. Program in French/Theater & Performance Program, Graduate Center, City University of New York, Fall 2020.
Created Course for the Lehman Scholars Program:
Stifled Voices: Prison Art and Literature. Lehman Scholars Program, Seminal 350; Lehman College, the City University of New York, Spring 2020.
Created Undergraduate Courses in French:
Modern French and Francophone Theater; FRE 346. Department of Languages and Literatures, Lehman College, City University of New York, Fall 2020.
French and Francophone Cinema for Conversation; FRE 360. Department of Languages and Literatures, Lehman College of the City University of New York, Fall 2018.
French Theater Performance: Le Malade imaginaire, Molière. Department of French and Italian, Emory University, Spring 2013
Strangers at Home: French and Francophone Novel and Film From 20th Century to Present; FREN 488: Special Topics. Department of French and Italian, Emory University, Spring 2011
L’Autoportrait de l’artiste XXème & XXIème siècles; FREN 488 Special Topics. Department of French and Italian, Emory University, Spring 2011.
Recent Advanced Undergraduate Courses Taught in French:
Honors Thesis Adviser: « La Notion du Mal dans la littérature de François Villon, Charles Baudelaire, Albert Camus et Jean Genet », by Camila Buse; FRE 481, Department of Languages and Literatures, Lehman College, the City University of New York; Spring 2018
Honors Thesis Adviser: « Le Flâneur: La modernité, l’homme du monde et la littérature française », by Marichelle Pita; FRE 48; Department of Languages and Literatures, Lehman College, the City University of New York; Spring 2015
20th & 21st Centuries French Literature II; FRE 342. Department of Languages and Literatures, Lehman College, the City University of New York, recurring.
French Literature from the Eighteenth Century to the Present; FRE 302. Department of Languages and Literatures, Lehman College of the City University of New York, recurring.
Introduction to French Literature and Literary Criticism; FRE 300. Department of Languages and Literatures, Lehman College of the City University of New York, recurring.
Francophone Studies; FREN 391R. Department of French and Italian, Emory University; Spring 2012
Course Taught in Comparative Literature:
Classics of the Western World: Ancient and Medieval; IDW 211. Department of Languages and Literatures, Lehman College, the City University of New York; Fall 2017
Awards, Honors, Fellowships & Nomination
Faculty Fellowship Publication Program, City University of New York, 2021.
Nominated for The National Endowment for the Humanities’ Summer Stipends by the Dean of Arts and Humanities at Lehman College, City University of New York, Fall 2019.
PSC-CUNY 45, Research Award, 2014-2015.
Ivory-Billed Woodpecker Award for Fiction, by Unsaid Literary Journal, January 2012.
Nominated for the United States Artists Theater Arts Award, Summer 2011.
Anne Amari Perry Award, outstanding work in writing dissertation, French & Italian Department, Emory University, May 2010.
The Emory College Center for Creativity & Arts Grant, 2009-2010.
The Andrew W. Mellon Emory-Koltès European Studies Program Fellowship, Emory University, 2008-2009.
Artistic Grant by French Government, Foreign Ministry, Dance and Theater, Cultural Services, 2009.
Research Development Support, Emory University, Summer 2008 (Field research at the International Theater Festival of Avignon, France).
The Thomas M. Hines French Studies Scholarship, outstanding work for first-year graduate student, French & Italian Department, Emory University, 2006.
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Fellowship, Emory University, 2005-2010.
Emory Graduate Assistantship, 2005-2010.
Presentation of the Languages and Literatures Department French Program, Weeks of Welcome; “Career and Professional Development Week”, the Division of Student Affairs, Lehman College, CUNY, September 15, 2021.
Committee member for selecting abstracts of prospective presenters at the 20th- and 21st- Century French & Francophone International Colloquium, 36th Edition : Oklahoma City, March 2019 “Catastrophes, cataclysms, adaptation and survival.” (9/19/2018 – 10/28/2018)
Stage Director and producer of Doll Factory at the Midtown International Theater Festival, play written and directed by Amin Erfani, with actress Laura Peterson, New York, NY, November 18-22, 2015.
Collaboration with the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in New York, and with the PEN World Voices Festival, for the stage production of L’Animal du temps (“The Animal of Time”) by Valère Novarina, translated by Amin Erfani, with director Valéry Warnotte and actor Chris Kayser, at the Martin E. Segal Theater, CUNY Graduate Center, May 4 2015.
Interviewed by Nicole Birmann Bloom, from the French Cultural Services of the French Embassy in New York, about Amin Erfani’s English book translation of An Incomprehensible Mother Tongue, by French playwright Valère Novarina, and the stage performance of The Animal of Timeat the Martin E. Segal Theater, on May 4 2015; interview sponsored by the French Institute Alliance Française:
Organizing Committee Member of series of events around the visit of Pascal Quignard, March 25-27 2013, Emory University.
Supervisor of the French Theater Club – le Cercle théâtral intended to introduce students to new French and Francophone plays while being immesed into language through series of readings and performances, Department of French and Italian, Emory University, Atlanta, Fall 2012-Spring 2013.
Dramaturgy and Organization for two-week development and performances of The Night Just Before the Forestsat the Biennal Bernard-Marie Koltès Festival in Metz, France, in collaboration with University of Metz, Metz, France, October 4-18, 2012.
Dramaturgy and Organization for Stage Reading of The Night Just Before the Forests at the Department of Theater and Dance, University of Florida, Gainsville, FL, Jan. 29-30, 2012.
Curricular Development, devising course and syllabus in Medieval and Renaissance Studies, including primary and secondary reading lists and writing assignments, for an advanced undergraduate French literature course at Emory University, Atlanta, Fall 2012.
Committee Member, Honors Thesis in History Program, Emory University, Atlanta, Fall 2011-Spring 2012.
Committee Member, 2011 French Undergraduate Colloquium; one of three members selecting undergraduate essays by French majors to be presented at the annual colloquium, Department of French and Italian, Emory University, Atlanta, Spring 2011.
Organization of theatrical workshops around Bernard-Marie Koltès with students and faculty at Emory University’s Theater Studies, for the artistic residence of French stage director Philip Boulay at Emory University, Atlanta, February 18-25, 2011. (Sponsored by grants from Culturefrance Etant Donnés: The French-American Fund for the Performing Arts, the French Consulate of Atlanta).
Head Organizer and Dramaturg for play by Valère Novarina, “Le Monologue d’Adrameléch,” with actor Jean-Yves Michaux, English subtitles by Guy Bennett and Amin Erfani, Schwartz Center, Emory University, February 10-11 2011. Sponsored by the French Consulate at Atlanta.
English Translation for stage reading of “An Incomprehensible Mother Tongue,” by Valère Novarina, chapter from L’Envers de l’esprit (Paris: P.O.L, 2009), with actor Chris Kayser, as part of the series of events “FRANCE-ATLANTA,” organized by the French Consulate of Atlanta, Emory University, December 12 2010.
Original Dramaturgy and English Translation of texts by Valère Novarina from (l’Acte inconnuandla Scène) and his theoretical writings (Pour Louis de FunèsandLumières du corps), for the creation of an original stage performance, l’Acteur sacrifiant/The Sacrificing Actor, with le Théâtre du Rêve and Valéry Warnotte, produced at Emory University, Atlanta, GA, on March 2 2009 and on January 13-25 2010, also produced at le Festival des Francophonies in Limoges, France, September 20-27 2009, and at Georgetown University, Washington DC, April 12 2010.
Head Organizer of panel discussion and round-table on the work of Bernard-Marie Koltès, with Dr. Claire Nouvet from Emory University, Dr. André Petitjean from the University of Metz, France, Stage Director Philip Boulay from Wor(l)d Cie, and translator Amin Erfani, open to public, Emory University, Atlanta, February 21 & 23, 2010.
Video-taped interview on Bernard-Marie Koltès with Isma`il Ibn Conner, translator and founder of the Koltès Project at Atlanta’s 7 Stages Theatre, screened at the international conference Koltès, maintenant, organized by Christophe Bident, Arnaud Maisetti, Christophe Triau, at the University of Paris VII, Diderot, in Paris, France, on November 12-14 2009.
Assistant organizer and round table participant for the English translation of French playwright Bernard-Marie Koltès’s “The Day of Murders in the Story of Hamlet,” by translator Isma`il Ibn Conner of the Koltès Project of the 7 Stages Theatre, with stage director Thierry de Peretti; position awarded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation as the Emory-Koltès European Studies Program Fellow, Emory University, October 20-30 2008 & April 1-7 2009.
Head Organizer of week-long series of academic and artistic events for the visit of French playwright Valère Novarina at the French and Italian Department, at Emory University, Atlanta, GA, February 27 to March 4 2009.
Head Organizer of a series of academic and artistic events for the visit of French playwright Marie NDiaye, including a lecture and a round table with the author and reading groups with graduate and undergraduate students, at the French and Italian Department, at Emory University, Atlanta, GA, April 14-17 2008.
Book Exhibit Coordinator, International Association of Philosophy and Literature, Syracuse, NY, June 2004.
Founder and Editor of L’Etranger: Journal d’Expression de la Langue Française Sous Toutes ses Formes, Vol. 1-3, Fall 2001.
Committee member for selecting 6 theatrical plays out of 21 plays by Caribbean francophone playwrights, for the ACT (Actions Caribéennes Théâtrales) project, initiated by the Guadeloupean theater group Siyaj, in partnership with the Martin Segal Theater at the CUNY Graduate Center for spring 2019, with the support of the French American Cultural Exchange (FACE) Foundation. (6/1/2018 – 8/31/2018).
Organizer and producer of the stage performance of L’Animal du temps (“The Animal of Time”) by Valère Novarina, translated by Amin Erfani, with director Valéry Warnotte and actor Chris Kayser, at the Martin E. Segal Theater, CUNY Graduate Center, as part of the PEN World Voices Festival, May 4 2015.
Assessment Coordinator for the Department of Languages and Literatures at Lehman College: Assessing undergraduate students’ speaking abilities in Spanish, French, and Italian, across Elementary, Intermediary, and Advanced undergraduate courses, in Spring 2015; assessing reading abilities of for Fall 2015 & Spring 2016; submitted a four-year plan to also assess students’ writing and oral skills in those languages, as well as their cultural and critical acquisitions in those different course levels; assessing students’ cultural and critical acquisitions of for Fall 2016 & Spring 2017; assessing undergraduate students’ speaking abilities in Spanish, French, and Italian, across Elementary, Intermediary, and Advanced undergraduate courses, in Fall 2018 & Spring 2019.
Development of interdisciplinary major in Modern Languages with tracks in French, Japanese, Irish, and Italian, in the Languages and Literatures Department of Lehman College.; Spring 2017-2019.
Event Organizer for guest speaker Mamadou Niang, Lecturer on African Cinema and Media & Founder of Television Production Company NextMedia.tv, at Lehman College, open to the public, followed by a reception by Lehman College Francophone Club, April 9, 2019.
Advisor for the Francophone Club at Lehman College, Fall 2013 – Present. Advise, coordinate, and organize student run cultural events on campus related to French language and Francophone cultures: French writing contests for Lehman students in Fall 2013 and Fall 2014; participation in Lehman College’s International Day, Major and Minor’s Fair; on campus events such as Francophone movie viewing and degustation. Reception by club students during the visit of Haitian author Marie-Celie Agnan on campus visit on October 27, 2015; of Prof. Lydie Moudienlo on campus on March 30, 2017; of translators of Indian Ocean literature Allison M. Charette and Jeffrey Zuckerman, April 19 2018; of Mamadou Niang, Lecturer on African Cinema and Media & Founder of Television Production Company NextMedia.tv, on April 9 2019.
Representing the Languages and Literatures Department at the Annual Reception for Accepted Students, as part of the Spring 2017 Academic/Club Fair; welcoming new freshmen and transfers and allowing students and parents the opportunity to acquire more information on all degrees offered at the Languages and Literatures department, as well as information related to various campus events organized by the faculty and the Student Clubs associated with our programs; April 22, 2017.
Presentation of Model Class in Elementary French during Literature and Languages Department Faculty Orientation before department faculty members, adjuncts, and teaching graduate assistants; Simulation of a first day of class – introductory material: greetings, self-description, nationality, masculine/feminine agreement – using model effective communicative strategies in the target language to show new instructors how a class should be conducted in the target language using a communicative-centered approach. August, 2015.
Invited Dominique Batraville, author, actor, and journalist from Haiti, to speak on campus at Lehman College in my French and Francophone Theater course; event open to the public, sponsored by Lehman College School of the Arts and Humanities, & the Departments of Languages and Literatures, and Journalism, Communication and Theatre, April 29, 2014.
Organization “A Poetic Interlude,” a bilingual student stage reading from works by Aimé Césaire, at the Centennial Celebration of Aimé Césaire, Lehman College, CUNY, October 3, 2013.
Department course registration and advising: Giving class permissions and advising Lehman College undergraduate students who seek to take courses, pursue a minor or a major in the Languages and Literature Department, Fall 2013 – Present.
Language placement examination: Evaluating and placing undergraduate students in the appropriate French level courses offered by the Languages and Literature Department, Fall 2013 – Present.
Faculty Participant at the French Study-Aboard Table at the International Day, organized by the department of Languages and Literatures and the Study Abroad office to promote French and Francophone culture and study-abroad, with the participation of the Lehman College’s Francophone Club, November 13, 2013, November 17 2014, November 15 2018.
New Faculty Participant in Seven of the Fall 2013 New Faculty Orientation seminars, organized by the Lehman Teaching & Learning Commons, providing professional service opportunities for new faculty through the New Faculty Orientation Seminars, Fall 2013.