Call for Papers: Global France, Global French

Global France, Global French
Humanities Research Centre, ANU
21-23 October 2015

Confirmed keynotes:
Professor Dominic Thomas, University of California, Los Angeles
Professor Charles Forsdick, University of Liverpool

In the eyes of many, France was the centre of the world throughout the modern age. Home of the Revolution and the Rights of Man, heart of a vast colonial empire, capital of the literary, fashion and art worlds, France, and Paris in particular, was at once historical and mythical. Today, following upon a sequence of ‘turns’, from the postcolonial to the global, this centre has given way to multiple centres, to conflicting and complementary sites of physical, economic and cultural exchange. As France has transitioned from a colonial power to a central member of the European Union, it has been forced to negotiate immigration policies, the rise of political extremism and the growing unrest over the linguistic, cultural and spatial borders that divide French society. Debates about French national identity rage in political and cultural sectors: while some seek to bolster a weakened idea of ‘Frenchness’, others, for example the signatories of the 2007 Littérature-monde manifesto, aim to redefine or ‘world’ that identity.

At the same time, the ‘global turn’ in French studies has encouraged scholars to re-examine French literature, language, culture and history through a new, decentred perspective. Recent criticism in literature and history, for example, has returned to early modern literary texts and spaces as well as to major historical events like the French Revolution, exploring the ways in which these traditions and events were not determined in a cultural vacuum, but, as Peter Hulme has noted, ‘were the product[s] of constant, intricate, but mostly unacknowledged traffic with the non-European world’.

The goal of this colloquium is to offer an image of global France and global French, past, present and future. How have French culture and politics been shaped by encounters with European neighbours and with the non-European world? How do contemporary migratory patterns and networks between France and the wider world compare to historical ones? How have neo-colonial practices been reshaped by globalized markets and transnational capital? How have various art forms allowed for the articulation of displacement, community and solidarity throughout French history and into the global present? In short, is the global a new horizon, or one that we are just discovering?

Our aim is to generate an interdisciplinary discussion among colleagues in a wide range of fields, including literature, film, linguistics, cultural studies, history, philosophy, music and digital humanities. Topics for papers/panels include but are not limited to:

  • Global vs. local (cultures, histories, languages, art forms)
  • Migration: patterns and networks
  • Migration: language and policy
  • The European Union and French national identity
  • Multicultural, multilingual, multiethnic France/Paris
  • Colonial, postcolonial, neo-colonial flows and encounters
  • Translation among languages, cultures, media
  • The circulation of bodies, capital, ideas, linguistic forms, art forms
  • Borders: visible and invisible, inner and outer, real and imagined, linguistic and geopolitical
  • Travel, tourism, trade
  • Diasporas, past and present

Please send an abstract of 300 words and a CV (max 2 pages) to

Papers can be in English or French. The deadline for abstracts is 5 March 2015.

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