Laure Astourian

  • Assistant Professor, Modern Languages
  • Ph.D. Columbia University
  • M.Phil. Columbia University
  • M.A. Columbia University
  • B.A. University of California, Berkeley

Teaching Interests

French and Francophone cinema (all time periods, movements, figures); contemporary France; multilingual France; politics of multilingualism in France; multilingualism and French cinema; writing; language; translation.

Research Interests

History of French and Francophone cinema; the French New Wave; sub-Saharan African cinema; cinéma vérité; 1950s-1960s films of Chris Marker, Alain Resnais, Jean Rouch, Jean-Luc Godard, Agnès Varda; French ethnographic cinema; contemporary French cinema; French cinema funding policies; multilingualism and the depiction of language-learning and eloquence in French cinema; the politics of multilingualism in metropolitan France; intersections of fiction and documentary.

Bio

Laure Astourian is a scholar of French and francophone cinema. Her book manuscript, provisionally titled The Ethnographic Optic in 1960s French Cinema: Jean Rouch, Chris Marker, Alain Resnais, examines works of 1950s-1960s French and Francophone cinema in relation to the dissolution of the French colonial empire. She has also published articles on the canonical ethnographic film Moi, un Noir (Studies in French Cinema) and on the contemporary French film Si le vent tombe (Los Angeles Review of Books).

Astourian is also developing a long-term project on the evolving politics of multilingualism in French and Francophone cinema, from the 1930s to the present. The study examines both the depiction of language and language-learning in French cinema, as well as funding policies and rules related to multilingualism in French films.

Astourian's approach to cinema is strongly shaped by her background in literature. Close reading, archival research, and historical contextualization are central to her research methodology. She holds a dual B.A. in French and Film Studies from UC Berkeley (High Honors, 2008) and a Ph.D. in French and Romance Philology from Columbia University (2016). She was the Phi Beta Kappa Mary Isabel Sibley Fellow in French Studies in 2016 and a Fulbright Research Scholar at the École Normale Supérieure (Paris) in 2021.

Professional Links

Professional Memberships

  • Society for Cinema and Media Studies 2015 - Present
  • Phi Beta Kappa Society 2008 - Present
  • Awards and Honors

  • 2022, Bentley Research Council Grant, Bentley Research Council
  • 2022, Faculty Affairs Committee Grant, Bentley University
  • 2022, Faculty Summer Research Grant, Bentley University
  • 2021, Faculty Summer Research Grant, Bentley University
  • 2020, Faculty Summer Research Grant, Bentley University
  • 2020, Fulbright Research Fellowship - France (U.S. Scholar Core Program), The Fulbright Scholar Program
  • 2019, Faculty Affairs Committee Grant, Bentley University
  • 2019, Faculty Summer Research Grant, Bentley University
  • 2018, Faculty Summer Research Grant, Bentley University
  • 2017, Dean's Fund for International Travel Grant, Bentley University
  • 2017, Faculty Affairs Committee Grant, Bentley University
  • 2016, Phi Beta Kappa Mary Isabel Sibley Fellowship in French Studies, Phi Beta Kappa Society
  • 2015, Mellon Humanities International Travel Award (Fall), Columbia University
  • 2015, Mellon Humanities International Travel Award (Spring), Columbia University
  • 2014, École normale supérieure (rue d’Ulm) Exchange Fellowship, École normale supérieure and Columbia University
  • 2012, Jeanne Varney Pleasants Prize for Excellence in French Language Pedagogy, The Lois Roth Endowment and Columbia University
  • 2012, Phi Beta Kappa Walter J. Jensen Fellowship, Phi Beta Kappa Society
  • 2010, Foreign Language and Area Studies Summer Fellowship, U.S. Department of Education
  • 2009, Foreign Language and Area Studies Academic Year Fellowship, U.S. Department of Education
  • 2008, Phi Beta Kappa Society Membership, Phi Beta Kappa Society
  • Publications

    Journal Articles


  • Astourian, L. (2017). Jean Rouch's Moi, un Noir in the French New Wave. Studies in French Cinema, (17) 2 pp. n. pag.. (Link)

    Book Chapters


  • Astourian, L. (2018). « Moi, un Blanc » : de la genèse d’A bout de souffle In , (Eds.) Dans le sillage de Jean Rouch. Editions de la Maison des sciences de l'homme

  • Book Reviews


  • Astourian, L. (2020). [Review of the book L'aventure du réel ]. Fiction and Film for Scholars of France. (Link)
  • Astourian, L. (2018). [Review of the book Éric Rohmer: A Biography ]. H-France Review, (18) 134 (Link)

  • Other(s)


  • Astourian, L. (2021). Cinema as Airport: On Nora Martirosyan's SHOULD THE WIND DROP The Los Angeles Review of Books. (Link)
  • Astourian, L. (2020). Philosophically Paradjanov (Translation) KinoKultura. 70 (Link)
  • Astourian, L. (2015). Interview with Henry Rousso (Translation) Romanic Review, (105) 1-2 91-96.
  • Astourian, L. (2015). Interview with Laurent Binet (Translation) Romanic Review, (105) 1-2 87-90.
  • Presentations

  • Astourian, L. (2022). “Multilingualism, Cinema, and French Diplomacy” Presented at the Bentley University Bentley Research Colloquium
  • Astourian, L. (2022). “Rendez-vous de juillet in the Rearview: Tracking Post-War French Cinema's Ethnographic Appetite” Presented at the Society for Cinema and Media Studies Chicago, IL (virtual)
  • Astourian, L. (2021). “Paris Reframed: 1960s French Cinema at the End of Empire” Presented at the American University of Armenia Yerevan, Armenia
  • Astourian, L. (2021). “Tirez sur le pianiste/Կրակեցէ՛ք Դաշնակահարին վրայ ” Presented at the TUMO Center for Creative Technologies Yerevan, Armenia
  • Astourian, L. (2021). “A Fresh Look at 1960s French Cinema” Presented at the Franco-American Commission, Fulbright Foundation Paris, France
  • Astourian, L. (2021). “Invited lecture - Moi, un Noir : l’ethnographie française presque libérée” Presented at the "Racial Imaginaries" Graduate Seminar, Department of French and Italian, Princeton University Princeton, NJ
  • Astourian, L. (2021). Presented at the Francophonie Webinar Series, "Paris Pictures, Beyond the Cliché," with Catherine Clark (MIT), Consulate General of France Boston, MA
  • Astourian, L. (2019). “Invited international lecture - Alain Resnais From Statues to Muriel” Presented at the Cinema Studies Institute, The University of Toronto Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Astourian, L. (2019). “Cléo, From Object to Subject ” Presented at the Bentley University (Au) Revoir Varda Bentley University
  • Astourian, L. (2019). “The Soldier as Cinematograph: Archives of Algeria in Muriel ou Le temps d'un retour” Presented at the Visible Evidence XXVI Conference Los Angeles, CA
  • Astourian, L. (2019). “Ethnography and National Identity in 1960s French Cinema” Presented at the Society for Cinema and Media Society for Cinema and Media Studies Annual Conference Seattle, WA
  • Astourian, L. (2018). “Youth as Witnesses: Resisting the Rhetoric of War in Contemporary France” Presented at the Modern Language Association Modern Language Association Annual Convention New York, New York
  • Astourian, L. (2018). “Jean Rouch's Paris Films: From Chronique d'un été to Petit à petit” Presented at the Brown University International Colloquium on Twentieth and Twenty-First Century French and Francophone Studies Providence, Rhode Island
  • Astourian, L. (2018). “Invited speaker - Introduction of Moi, un Noir and Panel on French New Wave Cinema” Presented at the Yale University Whitney Humanities Center 14th Annual European Film Conference New Haven, CT
  • Astourian, L. (2018). “Sunday in Peking...and Paris” Presented at the Society for Cinema and Media Studies Society for Cinema and Media Studies Annual Conference Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Astourian, L. (2017). “Invited lecture - Jean Rouch's Moi un Noir in the French New Wave” Presented at the Princeton University Department of French and Italian Princeton, New Jersey
  • Astourian, L. (2017). “Narrowing Visions of Paris in Marker's La Jetée and Le Joli mai” Presented at the Indiana University Bloomington International Colloquium on Twentieth and Twenty-First Century French and Francophone Studies Bloomington, Indiana
  • Astourian, L. (2017). “The French New Wave and Sub-Saharan Africa” Presented at the Society for Cinema and Media Studies Society for Cinema and Media Studies Annual Conference Chicago, Illinois
  • Astourian, L. (2016). “Invited lecture - Migration and Immigration in Mid-Century French Ethnography” Presented at the Columbia University French Department Modern Francophone Colloquium New York, New York
  • Astourian, L. (2016). “Guest lecture - Alternatives to the Auteur” Presented at the Columbia University Film and Media Studies Program Pro-seminar on film history (Prof. Jane Gaines) New York, New York
  • Astourian, L. (2015). “Aesthetics of the Taboo: Alain Resnais and the Algerian War” Presented at the Duke University The Resnais Archipelago Conference Durham, North Carolina
  • Astourian, L. (2015). “Jean Rouch, Ethnography, and the Nouvelle Vague” Presented at the Northeast Modern Language Association Northeast Modern Language Association Convention Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Service

    Department Service


  • Examiner for DFP French for Business Exam 2021 - Present
  • Organizer and Host for Modern Languages Award Ceremony 2021 - Present
  • Coordinator, French minor 2019 - Present
  • Mentor (Faculty) for Academic Advising Session - 2021
  • Mentor (Faculty) for Accepted Students Day - 2021
  • Mentor (Faculty) for Admitted Students Day - 2021
  • Committee Member for French Placement Test Review - 2020
  • Search Committee, Assistant Professor of French 2019 - 2020
  • Mentor (Faculty) for Study Abroad Fair - 2019
  • Mentor (Faculty) for Undergraduate Academic Programs Fair - 2019
  • Committee Member for Modern Languages Website - 2019
  • Organizer, French Club 2019 - 2019
  • Department representative, Fall Open House - 2018
  • University Service


  • Senator for Faculty Senate 2022 - Present
  • Committee Member for Nominations Committee 2022 - Present
  • Committee Member for Shuttle Advisory Committee 2022 - Present
  • Valente Center for Arts and Sciences Advisory Board 2018 - Present
  • Committee Member for International Film Series 2018 - Present
  • Mentor (Faculty) for Admitted Students Day - 2022
  • Program Organizer for Should the Wind Drop Screening and Discussion with Producer and Director - 2022
  • Mentor (Faculty) for Admitted Students Day - 2022
  • Committee Member for Communication Sequence Design Committee - 2021
  • Program Organizer for "Seismic Histories in Nadia Owusu's AFTERSHOCKS" - 2021
  • Honors Program Faculty Council 2018 - 2021
  • Moderator for Undergraduate Research Day - 2021
  • Instructor, First-year Seminar 2019 - 2020
  • Conference/Workshop Organizer for (Au) Revoir Varda: Panel Honoring the Work of French Filmmaker Agnès Varda - 2019
  • Committee Member for Toni Morrison Event - 2019
  • Selected Presenter on Teaching Innovation, Bentley Teaching Colloquium - 2019
  • Moderator, Undergraduate Research Colloquium - 2019
  • Organizer, Study Abroad in France Workshop - 2019
  • Guest speaker, International Film Series - 2018
  • Guest speaker, History Department Conference - 2017
  • Professional Service


  • Reviewer, Journal Article for Peer Reviewer 2019 - Present
  • Panel organizer "Exotic x Endotic: Filming Metropolitan France in the '60s and Beyond" for Colloquium on 20th-21st c. French/Francophone Studies - 2018
  • Invited jury member, Programme euro-américain Selection Committee for Sciences Po - Boston, MA - 2018
  • Panel organizer "Chris Marker and the Foreign" for Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference - 2018
  • Invited jury member, Programme euro-américain Selection Committee for Sciences Po - San Francisco, CA - 2017