France honours young academic
A University of St Andrews lecturer has been awarded a prestigious accolade for her contribution to the knowledge and understanding of French culture.
Senior Lecturer in French and St Andrews alumnus Dr Lorna Milne has been presented with the rank of Chevalier de l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques. At 45, Dr Milne is among the younger British academics to be awarded an honour which is more usually granted to colleagues near the age of retirement.
The Palmes Académiques were first introduced by Napoléon in 1808 to honour scholars in the national universities which were established at that time. The decoration can now be awarded to anyone working in education who contributes significantly to the knowledge and understanding of French culture. Of the 32,000 members of the Order overall, there are about 1,600 outside France, in every part of the world.
Dr Milne said, “The existence of this decoration is evidence of the passionate commitment of the French, not only to their own glorious language and culture, but to the humanitarian principles of education, and to intellectual and cultural advancement in general. Receiving it is, for me, a very great honour.
“When I arrived here, there were still several colleagues who had taught me – now only two remain. It’s been a privilege to work closely and become friends with people who inspired my love of French language and literature in the first place.”
Dr Milne graduated with First Class honours in French, with distinction in spoken French, in 1982. She then worked in the diplomatic service for four years before completing a PhD at Auckland University, New Zealand in 1991. She then taught at Aston University, Birmingham (1991-95), returning to St Andrews as lecturer in 1996.
Her research, published both in French and in English, focuses on the 20th and 21st Centuries, with a particular interest in the contemporary period. As well as articles, she has published books on the French writer Michel Tournier (in French) and the French Presidential elections of 1995 (in English). Her book on the Martinican writer Patrick Chamoiseau (entitled Patrick Chamoiseau. Les Espaces d’une écriture) will come out later this year, and she is working on a volume of essays about violence, culture and identity in the francophone ex-colonies for publication next year.
Most of her recent research and specialist teaching has focused closely on writers from the French “départements d’outre-mer” (overseas departments) of Guadeloupe and Martinique.
She also has a strong teaching interest in contemporary French women’s writing and will be organising the Women in French in Scotland one-day conference in St Andrews in October 2005. Outside French Studies, Dr Milne is kept busy as General Editor for Special Issues for the international journal Forum for Modern Language Studies.
Dr Milne’s presentation followed the award of the French Institute’s book prize to two students (Moira Kerr and James King) for outstanding Year Abroad Project essays.
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