Associate Professor of French and Film
French Department Chair
Joined Connecticut College: 2003
B.A., Pomona College; École Normale Supérieure, Ancien Pensionnaire Étranger; Yale University, Ph.D., M. Phil., M.A.
20th-century narrative writing
"The practice of pastiche in the cinema looks less like the razor-sharp sword of resistance it was with Proust, and too often like a somewhat bedraggled and neglected umbrella in a typhoon of cultural normativity and simulation."
"Proust’s pastiches do not overcome their influence, nor do they need to, nor do they try... rather pastiche is used in so many other interesting ways — as reading, as jouissance, and, most strikingly, as a performance brought to bear against normative political and economic discourses." - from The Politics of Pastiche from Proust to French Film, by James Austin
James Austin, associate professor of French, came to Connecticut College in 2003. Prior to this he divided his time between New Haven, where he completed his graduate degree, and Paris, where he lived and studied for five years, and to which he returns often to take advantage of the city’s film archives and libraries.
His forthcoming book, Proust, Pastiche, and the Postmodern, or, Why Style Matters, traces the practice of pastiche in France from its early incarnations as a classroom exercise, to a performative textuality that retroactively created past writerly styles, to its recent evolution within the cinema.
Currently, he is preparing a monograph on the films of Chris Marker.
Austin lectures frequently on film and on Proust in the United States and internationally. A recent lecture, "Le pastiche proustien: des influences et du postmodernisme," was given at the Bibliothèque Nationale de Tunisie/Université de Tunis, in June 2009. Austin delivered a lecture, “Mark[er]ing Time: The Untimely and the Proustian Past in La jetée” at the University of London, Queen Mary, in May of 2007.
Austin's most recent publication is "Destroying the Banlieue: Re-configurations of Suburban Space in French Film," Yale French Studies 115, (Spring 2009). Austin has also written on the construction of French identity in the digital French heritage films of 2001, “Digitizing Frenchness in 2001: On a ‘Historic’ Moment in the French Cinema,” French Cultural Studies, 15 (3), October 2004: 281-299.).
Professor Austin’s classes at Connecticut College include “Cities on the Screen: Constructing Urban Space in the Cinema” (in English) “Espaces Urbains: La ville au cinéma” (in French); “New Wave Film: Then and Now”; “Coming of Age in Novel and Film.”; and “History / Story: On the Grand and the Intimate in French Cinema.”
When not in libraries, film archives or classrooms, he likes to swim, sail and windsurf.