Women in French Postgraduate and Early Career Researcher International Symposium

Please consider attending Women in French’s postgraduate and early career researcher international symposium. Organised by several ASFS members, this virtual symposium focuses on immersion in women’s literature and hybrid media (including photo-texts, bande dessinée, cinema, journals, and other media), with a particular emphasis on immersivity as both a pleasurable and productive feature. It will include presentations from postgraduate students and early career researchers working on questions of gender or feminism in French studies.

Dates: Thursday 13th to Saturday 15th January 2022

Keynote Speakers:

  • Professor Diana Holmes (Leeds)
  • Professor Michèle Bacholle (Eastern Connecticut)
  • Dr Alexandra Kurmann (Macquarie)

See the webpage and download the programme here.
Please register for the event here!

The Immersive Potential of Literature and Hybrid Media in the 20th and 21st Centuries

Day One: Thursday 13th January

Start Times: 4:00 p.m. (UK); 11:00 a.m. (US Eastern Daylight).

Introduction and Opening Remarks

Arline Cravens (Saint Louis), Women in French President

E. Nicole Meyer (Augusta), Women in French Vice-President

Panel 1: Immersive Multimedia

4:15 p.m. (UK); 10:15 a.m. (Madison, U.S.).

Chair: Eric Wistrom

Emma Rossby (Pennsylvania State), “Still Heroes, Moving Parts: Interactivity Redefined in Exaheva’s 2021 Digital Comic Installation”

Andrea Jonsson (Georgia Institute of Technology), “Les friandises et la parole libre: the unexpected joy of listening to strangers speak about anything and nothing in the podcast À bientôt de te revoir” 


Panel 2: Immersive Texts by Women and for Women

5:30 p.m. (UK).

Chair: Michèle Bacholle

Viviana Pezzullo (Florida Atlantic), “Feminist Journals in the 1970s as Textual Collective Performativity”

Sandra Daroczi (Bath), “Reading (between) the lines in Monique Wittig’s fiction”

Marie Velikanov (Lorraine), “Texte avec ‘x-reader’: un genre immersif de la fanfiction”


Keynote 1: Michèle Bacholle

7:00 p.m. (UK); 2:00 p.m. (US Eastern Daylight); 5:00 a.m. (Brisbane, Aust.).

Chair: Beth Kearney

Michèle Bacholle (Eastern Connecticut), “Losing (and Finding) Oneself in the Lives of Others and in Photo-texts: Isabelle Monnin and Clara Beaudoux”


Day Two: Friday 14th January

Start Times: 8:00 a.m. (UK);  7:00 p.m. (Australia – Syd./Melb./Can.).

Keynote 2: Alexandra Kurmann

Chair: Françoise Campbell

Alexandra Kurmann (Macquarie), “Immersion in Literature as Other: The Sartrean Gaze and the Production of Empathetic Reader-Consciousness”


Panel 3: Disruptive Waters: Maternity and Political Protest

9:15 a.m. (UK); 8:15 p.m. (Australia – Syd./Melb./Can.).

Chair: Egle Kackute

Josephine Goldman (Sydney), “Intertextual mothering in Guy Gabon’s “La montée des eaux” and Maryse Condé’s En attendant la montée des eaux

Dakshayani Shankar (Emory), “Womb as Forestry: Feminine Tyranny battling African Despotism in Sony Labou Tansi’s La Vie et demie


Panel 4: Land, Water and Gender

10:30 a.m. (UK).

Chair: Caroline Verdier

Dalila Villella (London), “Maestri’s land-textes: an instrument to rethink social relations and female identity”

Elly Walters (Oxford), “Water and mental unhealth in Amélie Nothomb’s Soif (2019) and Marie Darrieussecq’s La Mer à l’envers (2019)”


Day Three: Saturday 15th January

Start Times: 10:00 a.m. (UK); 9:00 p.m. (Australia – Syd./Melb./Can.); 5:00 a.m. (US Eastern Daylight).

Keynote 3: Diana Holmes

Chair: Polly Galis

Diana Holmes (Leeds), “The everyday miracle of reading fiction (and Leila Slimani’s turn to the family saga)”


Panel 5: Immersive Cinema

11:15 a.m. (UK); 10:15 p.m. (Australia – Syd./Melb./Can.); 6:15 a.m. (US Eastern Daylight).

Chair: TBC

Sophie Coombs (Queensland), “Portrait de la Cinéaste en tant que Jeune Femme : a Re-reading of Chantal Akerman’s News from Home (1976) as a Journey to Artistic Subjectivity”

Maddalena Eccher (Goldsmiths), “‘Another Word Another Image’: Poetic and Visual Experimentation in the Transformative Narratives of Theresa Hak Kyung Cha”

Alice Hagopian (St Andrews), “Who is Madame Bovary’s Bad Reader? Reflecting on Immersion and the Ethics of Reading with Anne Fontaine’s 2014 Film” 


New publication: Nicolas Baudin’s voyage to Australia and the pursuit of science

We wish to draw attention to this new publication of a volume of essays, ‘Roaming Freely Throughout the Universe’: Nicolas Baudin’s Voyage to Australia and the Pursuit of Science, co-edited by former ASFS President Professor Jean Fornasiero and long-time ASFS member Professor John West-Sooby.

The Age of Exploration not only paved the way for European conquest and trade, it also widened the horizons of science. By the second half of the eighteenth century, the link between travel and science was so widely acknowledged that it had become routine practice to include naturalists in all major voyages of exploration.

The need to study natural phenomena in situ might seem self-evident. Some, however, considered that the main purpose of fieldwork was to collect specimens for the dispassionate examination of specialists back home. Truly meaningful study, they argued, required the kinds of resources that were not available to those in the field. As the renowned French naturalist Georges Cuvier put it, ‘it is only in one’s study that one can roam freely throughout the universe’.

In the context of this debate, Nicolas Baudin’s voyage of discovery to Australia (1800-1804), which included both specialist field collectors and aspiring young savants, proved pivotal. Drawing on a range of archival sources, the essays presented here offer fresh perspectives on Baudin’s scientific voyagers, their work and its legacy. What emerges is a deeper appreciation of the Baudin expedition’s contribution to the pursuit of science, and of those who pursued it.

Please consider ordering this publication for your university’s library.

Maisons de Poètes / Homes of Poets – Entretiens (in) situ

Suite au récent lancement de leur Carnet Hypothèses Maisons de Poètes / Homes of Poets (https://maphopes.hypotheses.org/), Marie-Clémence Régnier (Université d’Artois) et Bertrand Bourgeois (The University of Melbourne) sont heureux de vous annoncer la création d’une rubrique “entretiens (in) situ”.

La première série d’entretiens podcastés « Maisons de poètes hors les murs » porte sur les entreprises contemporaines de valorisation de Maisons de poètes qui interrogent la « dématérialisation », la « déconstruction », voire la « destruction » au propre comme au figuré, des maisons originelles, soit que la valorisation se fasse hors site (musée, galerie…), soit « virtuellement » grâce à des dispositions numériques (« e-musée », « visite virtuelle » par exemple).

Le premier podcast vidéo vous propose une présentation de l’e-musée Annie Ernaux par sa fondatrice et curatrice, Michèle Bacholle (Professor of French Studies, Eastern Connecticut State University), suivie d’un entretien avec Michèle Bacholle. Les vidéos de la présentation et de l’entretien peuvent être visionnées ici : https://maphopes.hypotheses.org/ateliers   

Un second podcast vidéo constitué d’une présentation du site andrebreton.fr et d’un entretien avec sa curatrice, Constance Krebs, sera très prochainement mis en ligne.


Following the recent launch of their research blog Maisons de Poètes / Homes of Poets (https://maphopes.hypotheses.org/), Marie-Clémence Régnier (Université d’Artois) and Bertrand Bourgeois (The University of Melbourne) are pleased to announce the creation of a new “entretiens (in) situ/interviews (in) situ” section.

The first series of video podcast interviews “Homes of poets beyond the walls” examines contemporary projects based on Homes of Poets that explore, literally and figuratively, the “dematerialisation”, “deconstruction” or even the “destruction” of the original houses – whether it be through off-site activities (such as in museums, galleries, or installations) or through digital ventures (e-museums, virtual visits, etc.).

The first two video podcasts include a virtual presentation of the Annie Ernaux e-museum and an interview with e-curator Michèle Bacholle (Professor of French Studies, Eastern Connecticut State University). You can watch both videos here: https://maphopes.hypotheses.org/ateliers.

The next forthcoming video podcast will be devoted to the andrebreton.fr site and will include an interview with its curator, Constance Krebs.

Conference, Nov 20-23: ‘Life Writing: Transnationalism, Translingualism, Transculturalism’

Colleagues are invited to attend the fourth IABA – Asia Pacific conference, which focuses on the theme of life narratives, encompassing a variety of languages, nations, and media forms.

Transnationalism is an increasingly popular phenomenon, reflecting and responding to the heightened interconnectivity between people and the receding economic and social significance of boundaries among nation states. The current global pandemic has brought issues of interconnectivity sharply into question. In this context, this conference will explore life narratives across a broad variety of contexts.

By discussing life narratives, including in a variety of languages, this conference aims to expand the boundaries of literary studies and its relationships with other media and nations.

The conference will be held in two modes, incorporating face to face and zoom sessions. The face to face location will be announced to registrants, and a zoom link will be circulated to those who plan to attend online.

Conference Dates: 20-23 November 2021

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:

Prof. Ricia Chansky, University of Puerto Rico,

Prof. Anne Pender, University of Adelaide

Prof. Liu Jialin, Shanghai Jiao Tong University

Prof. Kate Douglas, Flinders University

Organising Committee:

Professor Natalie Edwards natalie.edwards@adelaide.edu.au, Dr. Christopher Hogarth christopher.hogarth@unisa.edu.au, Dr. Kylie Cardell kylie.cardell@flinders.edu.au, Professor Kate Douglas kate.douglas@flinders.edu.au

IABA Asia-Pacific emerges from the central disciplinary association for auto/biography scholars—The International Auto/Biography Association (IABA). IABA was founded in 1999 as a multidisciplinary network that aims to deepen the cross-cultural understanding of self, identity and experience, and to carry on global dialogues about life writing/narrative. IABA Asia-Pacific aims to foster new region-specific conversations and to encourage regional participation in the global IABA conference. Our goal is to develop scholarly networks between life narrative scholars and practitioners in the Asia-Pacific region that support the circulation and publication of high-quality life narrative theory, practice, and pedagogy.

This conference forms part of an Australian Research Council funded Discovery Project on Transnational Narratives of Migration to Australia (Natalie Edwards and Christopher Hogarth, DP190102863). Visit our website here.

Header image photo by Dariusz Sankowski via Unsplash.

Winner of the 2021 ASFS-AJFS Postgraduate Essay Prize

The Australian Society for French Studies and the Australian Journal of French Studies are thrilled to announce the winner of the 2021 ASFS-AJFS Postgraduate Essay Prize, Emma McNicol of Monash University. Emma’s essay entitled “The Pessimism Problem in Simone de Beauvoir’s Le deuxième sexe et La vieillesse » will receive a $500 cash prize and publication in the Australian Journal of French Studies.

The Society will celebrate Emma’s achievements at the upcoming ASFS Conference, Un.Sited, held virtually by the University of Queensland from 8-10 December 2021. Registration for the conference is currently open and available here.

Thanks to all our postgraduates who submitted an essay for this year’s competition. Each applicant has received detailed feedback to support them to pursue publication of their work. For future reference, the guidelines for the annual ASFS-AJFS prize can be found here.

Congratulations, Emma!

CFP: Women in French Postgraduate/ECR International Symposium

Call for Papers

The Immersive Potential of Literature and Hybrid Media in the 20th and 21st Centuries

Women in French Postgraduate/ECR International Symposium

Symposium: Wednesday, January 12 to Friday, January 14, 2022

Proposals due: 17 September 2021.

Keynote Speaker: Professor Diana Holmes (Leeds).

Women in French invites papers for a virtual international symposium focusing on immersion in women’s literature and hybrid media (including photo-texts, bande dessinée, theatre, spoken word, blogging, other internet-based media, etc.), with a focus on immersivity as both a pleasurable and productive feature. This online event welcomes presentations from postgraduate students and early career researchers working on questions of gender or feminism in French studies.

The immersive potential of literature and other media has become particularly apparent during periods of lockdown, when picking up a good book became a crucial way of escaping from the world and, conversely, of feeling more deeply connected to others while we remained physically distanced. Others, however, have simply not had time to engage with literature or other media because of increasing workloads, felt especially keenly by women across the world having to balance home-schooling, télétravail and domestic responsibilities. At the very least, people have had to choose between which sources to read, watch or listen, which calls into question the value of specifically immersive literatures and hybrid media. What can these works afford us in terms of pleasure, enjoyment, personal wellbeing, interpersonal connection, cultural acumen, and political awareness, particularly from a feminist perspective? What gives rise to the immersive potential of literature and hybrid media in the first place? 

These questions build on a long history of efforts to bridge the divide between popular and academic reading practices; a division that is inherently gendered. France in particular fosters a literary culture preoccupied with the satisfying challenges of formalism, which is thus regarded as sophisticated and cerebral (Holmes and Looseley 2013, 6). Consequently, a literary experience that is associated with pleasure, enjoyment and immersivity is framed as a frivolous, unintelligent ‘feminine’ approach to literature (Holmes 2018). Yet, these modes of reading are arguably more culturally democratic and representative of broader societal values and interests. It is for this reason, among others, that a renewed interest in the ‘middlebrow’ has recently gained in critical momentum, a field of scholarship that places great stock in the value of immersive literatures and media.

In her recent study, Middlebrow Matters (2018), Diana Holmes argues that middlebrow matters precisely because its immersive and plot-driven narrative have the potential to ‘extend [one’s] cognitive and emotional range beyond that of direct, lived experience, enabling an experimental assent to alternative ways of seeing and reacting to the world’ (17). In this way, the immersive potential of literature, as well as other media, can allow for both personal and interpersonal transformation; immersivity can enable us to blur the boundaries between the public and the private – what Judith Butler calls a ‘threshold zone’ (Butler and Athanasiou, 2013) – and to ‘identif[y] with [an]other who is not like ourself’ (Huston 2008, 182-183). Immersivity is an exemplar of what reading fiction can achieve, which allows us to simulate other people’s experiences based on our own ‘repertoire’, ‘encyclopedia’ or ‘experiential background’ (Alderson-Day et al 2017, 99). This symposium therefore aims to explore the pleasurable, productive and transformative capacity of immersivity, taking into consideration contemporary concerns and applications, and to extend the study of immersive literature to a broader consideration of hybrid media.
Francophone women writers have been and remain at the forefront of such liminal and re-creative writing and expression. These authors use an immersive experience in the service of socio-political or interpersonal comment, with examples including Amélie Nothomb’s narration of eating disorders, most notably in Biographie de la faim (2004), Kim Thuy’s description of migration across her corpus (Ru 2009; À toi 2011; Mãn 2020), Annie Ernaux’s representation of an unashamedly feminine desire in her photo-text L’Usage de la photo (2005), co-authored with Marc Marie, and Nancy Huston’s Le Club des miracles relatifs (2016), which invites a visceral response to the climate emergency and the global North’s investment in fossil fuels. Other examples may relate to the ways that authors use the formally immersive aesthetic of the archive to plunge readers/viewers into a labyrinthe of material. This use of immersivity appears in Leïla Sebbar’s photo-textual series Mes Algéries en France (2004; 2005; 2008; 2018), in which she enacts a postcolonial return to the origins of her own and others’ identities. In a slightly different direction, an archival poetics emerges in Nathalie Léger’s trilogy of texts (L’Exposition 2008; Supplément à la vie de Barbara Loden 2012; La Robe blanche 2018), works which layer reflections on art to, among other things, interrogate the ways that art can assist women in understanding their own identity and in escaping the dominant and dominating power of the male gaze and other means of prescribing women’s societal roles.

We invite papers that explore literatures and hybrid media using immersivity, plot-driven narrative, realism and mimesis, or other textual modes of engaging readers to connect with broader cultural or political concerns, and in particular those that affect female-identifying readers. Papers may also focus on haptic and affective representation, as immersive experience may be said to involve the body or to appeal to the emotions and thus a lived experience of the world. 

Possible topics include, but are not limited to, the following:
• Pleasures of reading/the text 
• Networks and mediation 
• Escapism as a theme in female authored narrative/works
• Divergence and convergence
• Feminist discourse and its relation to both marginal and popular culture 
• The materiality of the book 
• The marketing of immersive fiction
• Literary prizes and questions of gender and inclusivity
• Relationships between the work and the body (haptic or affective qualities)
• Political or cultural messages delivered through the immersive qualities of a work (mimesis, plot-driven narrative, etc.)
• Immersive aesthetics or poetics
• Immersion as a theme itself in immersive works (e.g. in water, the archive)

Proposals are welcome in both English and French.

Please send abstracts to wif.ecr.symposium@gmail.com by 17 September 2021. Individual papers will be 15-minutes long. All submissions should be accompanied by a short (100-word) biography of the presenter(s). Please ensure that your abstracts and biographies are included in the same document, that the title of this document includes your name, and that you specify the time zone that you will be presenting from:
• Individual proposals should be no more than 250 words.
• Panel proposals should not exceed 1,000 words, and should include a brief description of the panel and of the individual papers included in the panel.
Please do not hesitate to send us any queries, and we hope to hear from you soon.

With best wishes from the organisers,

Pooja Booluck (British Columbia), Françoise Campbell (IMLR), Polly Galis (Bristol), Beth Kearney (Queensland) and Eric Wistrom (Wisconsin-Madison)


Alderson-Day, Ben, Marci Bernini and Charles Fernyhough. 2017. ‘Uncharted Features and Dynamics of Reading: Voices, Characters, and Crossing of Experiences’. Consciousness and Cognition 49: 98-109.

Butler, Judith, and Athena Athanasiou. 2013. Dispossession: The Performative in the Political. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Ernaux, Annie and Marc Marie. 2005. L’Usage de la photo. Paris: Gallimard.

Holmes, Diana. 2018. Middlebrow Matters: Women’s Reading and the Literary Canon in France since the Belle Époque. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press.

Holmes, Diana and David Looseley (eds). 2013. Imagining the Popular: highbrow, lowbrow and middlebrow in contemporary French culture. Manchester: Manchester University Press. 

Holmes, Diana, David Platten, Loic Artiaga and Jacques Migozzi (eds). 2013. Finding the Plot: Storytelling in popular fictions. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publications.

Huston, Nancy. 2016. Le Club des miracles relatifs. Arles: Actes Sud.

Huston, Nancy. 2008. L’Espèce fabulatrice. Arles: Actes Sud.

Léger, Nathalie. 2008. L’Exposition. Paris: P. O. L.

Léger, Nathalie. 2012. Supplément à la vie de Barbara Loden. Paris: P. O. L.

Léger, Nathalie. 2018. La Robe blanche. Paris: P. O. L.

Nothomb, Amélie. 2004. Biographie de la faim. Paris: Albin Michel.

Sebbar, Leïla. 2004. Mes Algéries en France. Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule: Bleu autour.

Sebbar, Leïla. 2005. Journal de mes Algéries en France. Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule: Bleu autour.

Sebbar, Leïla. 2008. Voyage en Algéries autour de ma chambre. Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule: Bleu autour.

Sebbar, Leïla. 2018. Le Pays de ma mère, voyage en Frances. Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule: Bleu autour.

Thùy, Kim. 2009. Ru. Québec: Libre Expression.

Thùy, Kim et Janovjak, Pascal. 2011. À toi. Québec: Libre Expression.

Thùy, Kim. 2020. Mãn. Québec: Libre Expression.

New French Studies Seminar Series: DRAFT

DRAFT is a new research seminar series organised by the departments of French and francophone studies at the University of Sydney, the University of Melbourne and the University of New England.

As part of this initiative, Australia’s researchers from various disciplines are invited to participate and share their current research activities relating to French and francophone studies. The seminars are first and foremost an opportunity to give visibility to research in progress and to facilitate new collaborations across universities in Australia. Instead of presenting communications based on research that is already published and disseminated, presenters discuss and exchange ideas about their work in progress. The DRAFT seminar series aims to promote collaborative and interdisciplinary projects involving academics from different universities whose current research activities complement each other, thus fostering future joint publications and/or grant ventures.

If you would like to discuss your research in progress at one of our monthly seminars, please send a title and a short abstract (150-200 words) to draft.seminarseries@gmail.com

Follow DRAFT on Facebook here.

Organising Committee

Bertrand Bourgeois (University of Melbourne)

Michelle Royer (The University of Sydney)

Nathalie Ségeral (The University of Sydney)

Victoria Souliman (University of New England)

Léa Vuong (The University of Sydney)

Postgraduate Research Scholarship on Multilingual Australia

ASFS members and future postgraduates may be interested in the following postgraduate research scholarship on multilingual Australia offered by the University of Sydney as part of the Australian Research Council’s Discovery project “Opening Australia’s Multilingual Archive”.

This scholarship provides financial assistance for a PhD student undertaking research in multilingual Australia. 


ValueEligibilityOpen dateClose date
$28,612 p.a. (up to 3 years)PhD student
Research into multilingual Australia
Archival research
Hold an honours degree or master’s degree
28 July 202127 August 2021

How to apply

Apply here.


The scholarship will provide a stipend allowance of $28,612 per annum (indexed on 1 January each year) for up to three years, subject to satisfactory academic performance.

Who’s eligible

You must:

  • be an Australian Citizen, New Zealand Citizen, or Australian Permanent Resident
  • have an unconditional offer of admission, a conditional offer of admission, applied for admission or be planning to apply for admission to study full-time in a PhD within the School of Languages and Cultures, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
  • be willing to conduct research into multilingual Australia
  • be willing to conduct archival research
  • hold at least one of the following:
  • an Honours degree (first class or second class upper) or equivalent in a relevant discipline, or
  • Master’s degree
  • have a background in History, cultural studies or related area
  • be able to work with documents in at least one Asian or European language other than English.


This scholarship has been established to provide financial assistance to a PhD student who is undertaking research in multilingual Australia.

This scholarship is funded by Australian Research Council’s Discovery project “Opening Australia’s Multilingual Archive”.

Interested candidates can visit the scholarship page here for more information and contact ASFS member Sonia Wilson with specific queries at sonia.wilson@sydney.edu.au.

New Association: the Asie du Sud Est Research Network (ASERN)

Members of the ASFS may be interested in following the Asie du Sud Est Research Network (ASERN), an Australian-based group of international scholars of Southeast Asian literature and film in French. The aim of ASERN is to create a space for dialogue, provide mentoring and support, and foster individual and collaborative research projects within the field. The group meets regularly at conferences and symposia and hosts a Work-in-Progress series.

Members hold editorial positions for a number of journals and presses, including Contemporary French and Francophone Studies, Liverpool University Press (Francophone Postcolonial Studies series), and Texas Tech University Press (Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network series, DVAN/TTUP).

Learn more about the group at sudestasie.net, or follow them on Twitter.

The logo for ASERN was created by Yiyun Zhou.

Winner of the inaugural Colin Nettelbeck Prize

The Executive Committee of the Australian Society for French Studies is pleased to announce that Beth Kearney of the University of Queensland has received the inaugural ASFS Colin Nettelbeck Prize.

Beth will use the scholarship to fund her travel to France (once this becomes safe under pandemic conditions) to support her doctoral project, “Unfixing the Self: The Role of Photography in Women’s Autobiography in French in the Early 21st Century”. Her research topic emerges in response to a growing trend in women’s autobiographical writing in French, according to which authors are increasingly integrating photographs into their autobiographical texts, adding another layer of complexity to the task of self-representation. She will access archival materials at the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) in Paris
and at the Institut Mémoires de l’édition contemporaine (Imec) in Caen to conduct this exciting work.

The ASFS thanks all applicants to the 2021 scholarship, and encourages them to apply in future rounds, which will be announced on this site. Created in honour of founding Australian Society for French Studies member, Emeritus Professor Colin Nettelbeck, and his long-term contributions to the support of postgraduates in French Studies, the Prize supports research and travel costs for a French Studies-related project undertaken by a postgraduate or precariously-employed early career researcher member of the Society.

Congratulations, Beth!