Calls for papers – Conferences taking place in November 2018

The Rhetoric of Prayer
Corpus Christi College, Oxford, UK, Saturday 3 November 2018
Deadline for proposals: 31 May 2018

Prayers in the literary context are the subject of the CLSG day conference.

The full form of the Call for Papers is at

See also the linked bibliography.

The conference page will be progressively updated in the period before the conference, and the conference is open to all who have pre-booked. The CLSG interest is in exploring Christian and Biblical themes in Literature.

The deadline for proposals, which should be emailed to Dr Roger Kojecký (, is 31 May. Papers proposed should have a reading time of about 20-25 minutes and be offered for subsequent publication in The Glass. Your proposal should give a provisional title, should state in a few words how you will tackle your topic, and give brief information about your background.

(posted 14 February 2018)

Owen and / in France
Université de Valenciennes, France, 5-6 November 2018
Deadline for proposals: 8 January 2018

Organizers :

Brigitte Friant-Kessler (Université de Valenciennes – CALHISTE)
Elise Brault-Dreux (Université de Valenciennes – CALHISTE)
Sarah Montin (Université Paris 3 Sorbonne-Nouvelle – PRISMES)

Keynote : Xavier Hanotte

This is the thing they know and never speak,
That England one by one had fled to France,
Not many elsewhere now, save under France
“Smile, Smile, Smile”, ll. 21-3

In partnership with the Oxford Center for Life-Writing conference “Wilfred Owen and Beyond”, to be held in Oxford 26-28 October 2018, the University of Valenciennes will host an interdisciplinary two-day conference 5-6 November 2018 to celebrate the centenary of Wilfred Owen’s death, near the Sambre and Oise canal, in the North of France. We invite scholars from a vast range of disciplines (literature, biographical approaches, history, local history, translation, and the visual arts). This conference will explore and privilege the link between Owen and France, and thus look at his oeuvre not only beyond his life but also beyond England.

Participants could for instance, though not exclusively, discuss the following questions:


– How was his poetry, imagination and creative thinking nourished by his various stays (Bordeaux, Pyrenees) in France?

– How did his encounter with the French poet and writer, Laurent Tailhade, in 1914, influence Owen’s own creative process?


– To what extent is his poetry inspired by the horrors witnessed and experienced in France as opposed to other geographic areas?

– the notion of “no man’s land” between the trenches and how Owen perceives that specific yet undefinable stretch of land

– War in France as sensory experience (territoriality of the battlefield, materiality of the mud, scents or particular odours, etc.

– The sense of exile: perceptions of the strangeness and foreignness of France


– The proximity of Valenciennes University with Ors, where, in the “Smoky Cellar of the Forester’s House” he wrote his last letter to his mother, and where he was buried in the communal cemetery, naturally encourages a peculiar focus on Owen’s last stay in France.

– We particularly invite contributions related to the poet’s “last” experience: his last march with the Manchester Regiment; his last written words; his last letters; his last completed poem, etc.


– Owen’s reading of French and francophone literature, in particular war literature of the times (Barbusse, Duhamel, Bourdeaux, Péguy, Verhaeren, etc.);

– Owen’s perception of and relationship with the French language

– The translation of Owen’s poems into French;

– Owen and modern memory: the “myth” of Owen and its impact in France (notably his appearances in Francophone literature), his resting place and last battleground as “site of memory”;

– His social and artistic networks in France;


– An intermedial approach is also encouraged as the conference convenes to explore how Owen’s experience in France has been transposed and rendered into other media (images, music, live performances) and how his vision of war and his own death have been aestheticized over the past century.

– On October, 10th, 1918, Owen wrote to Sassoon: “Catalogue? Photograph? Can you photograph the crimson-hot iron as it cools from the smelting? That is what John’s blood looked like, and felt like. My senses are charred”.

Photographs, postcards and archives likely to inform the local context in which Owen lived the last weeks of his short life are going to play an important role in this conference. We would like historians and archivists to join us for the event so as to stimulate studies around life in the army, in particular Owen’s regiments while he was posted in France, but also the social surroundings of Ors or Amiens during that time.

The working languages of the conference are English and French.

Conference timeline
Submission deadline: 8 Jan. 2018
Final acceptance of proposals: 1 Feb. 2018

Please send a 300-word proposal, a short biography with main publications, and 5 keywords relevant to your paper.

All the proposals for the conference should be simultaneously submitted to and/or

Association Wilfred Owen France
Oxford Center for Life-Writing conference


(posted 8 November 2017)

Abortion in the British Isles, France and North America since 1800
University of Paris-Sorbonne, France, 6-8 November 2018
Deadline for proposals: 23 December 2017

Conveners: Claire Charlot, Adrien Lherm (Paris-Sorbonne, HDEA EA 4086), and Fabienne Portier-Le Cocq (University François Rabelais, Tours, ICD EA 6297).

Around the world, 2018 will mark the anniversary of a series of events relating to the decriminalisation of abortion: the enforcement of the UK Abortion Act 1967 (50 years), the US Supreme Court ruling of Roe vs. Wade (45 years), and the Canada Supreme Court ruling of R. v. Morgentaler (25 years). The Republic of Ireland is also planning a referendum on the possible repeal of Article 8 of its Constitution which, if approved, would lead to the decriminalisation of abortion there too. In addition, shortly after the British General Election of 2017, Prime Minister, Theresa May, announced that women from Northern Ireland (currently excluded from the British Abortion Act) would be allowed to travel to mainland Britain to secure an abortion on the National Health Service.

Over the years, some countries have authorised abortion on therapeutic grounds (when the physical and mental health of the mother or health of the foetus is at risk), and sometimes extended terminations on other grounds, such as birth control or the right of women to take control over their bodies. In this instance, the context provided by the 1960s and the 1970s would prove decisive in the liberalisation of legislation; a move described by some as ‘permissive’ and by others as ‘progressive’. A reform of the laws on contraception often pre-dated the legalisation of abortion, helping to shape a context in which women sought greater freedom from child-bearing.

However, despite changes in attitudes and legal frameworks, the abortion debate goes on and many attempts have been and are still being made to turn the clock back. This can take various forms: street protests, physical violence (including assault and shootings), legal challenges, and demands for amendment or repeal of existing legislation from anti-abortion lobbies and political movements or parties created for the sole purpose of going back to a world without legally-available abortion.

The aim of this conference will be to consider all these developments in France and in the UK, Ireland, Canada and the United States, and to seek to explain how debate, the Law, as well as the situation on the ground, have changed over the last two centuries in the different countries concerned. Among the possible topics of interest for the conference are:

  • – quantifying abortions and relating the phenomenon to that of statistical knowledge;
  • – charting the evolution of the legislation or rulings which led to the criminalisation and then the decriminalisation of abortion;
  • – examining the social status of women affected by those changes in the countries concerned;
  • – describing and explaining changes in attitudes among the various actors involved: public opinion, the medical profession, politicians, members of the different churches, journalists, the activists of the different movements or political parties and of course women themselves;
  • – exploring the sociological profiles of women who seek abortions.

Such topics raise a number of key questions. Is abortion used today as a method of birth control? Can we speak of abortion on demand? Can we speak of a backlash against abortion? Such questions, it is hoped, will contribute to an interdisciplinary discussion among conference participants concerning the issues raised by abortion.

Proposals for papers on one of these topics – or others – are invited either in French or English, and may address only one aspect of the abortion question at a national level, or adopt a comparative approach. We hope to attract specialists from a wide variety of fields: bioethics, demography, law, religious studies, economics, history, medical studies, philosophy, sociology, political science, and so on.

Please send a proposal (a 500-word abstract and a short CV) to each of the three organisers: Claire Charlot (, Adrien Lherm ( and Fabienne Portier-Le Cocq ( The deadline is 23rd December 2017. Those submitting a proposal will be informed before the New Year whether their paper has been accepted.

Some papers will be published. A registration fee of 20 euros will be asked of participants.

Scientific committee: Françoise Barret-Ducrocq (Paris-Diderot, France), Claire Charlot (Paris-Sorbonne, France), Ann Furedi (Bpas, United Kingdom), Hélène Harter (Rennes 2, France), Françoise Le Jeune (Nantes, France), Adrien Lherm (Paris-Sorbonne, France), Janine Mossuz-Lavau (CNRS, CEVIPOF), Fabienne Portier-Le Cocq (Tours, France), Joshua C. Wilson (Denver, USA).

(posted 27 October 2017)

Screening the Industrial City
Saint Etienne, France, 8-9 November 2018
Deadline for proposals: 31 January 2018

Cinema, an art of the masses yet also a very bourgeois art form, was born in the wake of industrialisation in the late nineteenth century. The representation of the city has already been the object of numerous studies in various fields but that of the industrial city seems more of an uncharted territory. Yet, since its early days, cinema has presented the city like the place of the machine, technology and factory work as in Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory in Lyon, Louis Lumière, 1895; Metropolis, Fritz Lang, 1927 or Modern Times, Charlie Chaplin, 1936, to name but a few examples. It is therefore hardly surprising that the industrial city should be widely represented on screen.

Whatever the period, culture and genre considered (documentary and fiction such as social realism, the western, science-fiction, steampunk uchronia, etc.), cinema has always looked into these urban territories with aesthetic, spatial, social and political intents. The questions raised are thus diverse and encourage a multidisciplinary approach. That is why scholars from film studies but also researchers from other fields of expertise who are interested in cinema (cultural studies, urban studies, architecture, urbanism, sociology, history, art, musicology, linguistics, etc.) are welcome to submit a paper on the topic.

The theme of the conference, “Screening the Industrial City”, offers topics for discussion that may include but are not limited to:

1/ Temporality and spatiality: the expanding city (industrialisation, mill/company towns, boom towns, industrial cities); the declining city (deindustrialisation, post-industrial cities, ghost towns); the places and/or non-places of the industrial city (real, rebuilt or imaginary cities used as locations: architecture, urban design, etc.).
2/ Directors associated with industrial cities or territories: Terence Davies and Liverpool, Shane Meadows and Nottingham, Ben Affleck and Charlestown, the Dardenne brothers and Seraing, Robert Guédiguian and l’Estaque, Ken Loach and the industrial North, etc.
3/ Topoi: tradition/modernity, bustle/stasis, circularity/sinuosity and/or linearity, surface/subterranean-ness, fluxes/aesthetics of emptiness, disintegration and the poetics of ruins, etc.
4/ Sounds, music and words: original soundtracks, sound tracks and effects, dialogues, composers, the presence of instruments and/or musicians and/or records in films, etc.
5/ Living in the industrial city: daily life (place attachment, solitude or lack of privacy, dilapidation/slums or housing shortage, the city of exile as the unheimlich/uncanny); the impact of housing on the habits/habitus of working-class people and their feeling about the evolution/transformation of that type of urbanism.
6/ Politics and city/urban policies: cinema as the witness of regeneration campaigns; the debates around industrial heritage (museumisation, gentrification, social cleansing); the industrial city as the circulation of fluxes vs the post-industrial city as the growing fixity of social boundaries (security and increasing privatisation of former public spaces, gated communities, CCTV); cinema as memory of/nostalgia for the industrial city to go against a form of material and symbolical deprivation, to resist an official memory?

Proposals (300 words with a short biography indicating your current position, affiliation and research interests) should be sent by 31 January 2018 to and Notification will be sent by April 2018. The conference will be held in Saint Etienne, France, on the 8th and 9th of November 2018. A selection of papers will be published.

Keynote speaker:
Thierry Paquot, Professor Emeritus at the Institute of Urbanism (Paris Est) and philosopher, author of many books about the city, architecture, urbanisation and film. He is also the co-editor of La ville au cinéma. Encyclopédie, Cahiers du cinéma, 2005.

Scientific Committee:
Jean-François Baillon (Université de Bordeaux)
Isabelle Cases (Université de Perpignan Via Domitia)
Andrea Grunert (Université de Bochum)
Georges-Henry Laffont (Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Saint Etienne)
Anne-Lise Marin-Lamellet (Université de Saint Etienne)
Gilles Menegaldo (Université de Poitiers)
Stéphanie Schwerter (Université de Valenciennes)
Nicolas Tixier (Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Grenoble)
Vincent Veschambre (Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Lyon)

Organising Committee:
Anne-Lise Marin-Lamellet (CIEREC), Georges-Henry Laffont (Transformations, IMU-EVS)

(posted 27 October 2017)

Water: 2018 Annual Conference of the French Society for Scottish Studies
University François Rabelais, Tours, France, 8-10 November 2018
Deadline for proposals: 31 March 2018

The organising committee appointed by the French Society for Scottish Studies invites proposals for panels and papers to be presented at its 2018 International Conference which will be hosted by the University of Tours and the French Society for Scottish Studies and held at the University of Tours, France.

The theme for the conference is “Water”. The theme of water in its different forms is undeniably original, but not so surprising when applied to Scotland, even for the one who is little acquainted with it.

Water has been a central element in contemporary Scottish painting as seen in the works of Helen Turner, Lorraine McFarland, or Robert Kelsey. The theme of water is deeply related to Scotland’s economy, tourism, leisure, ecology, culture, and social, economic and maritime history. Scotland’s territory has an essential maritime dimension, which enabled fruitful exchanges in cultural, commercial or diplomatic domains, with Europe, the New World, the British Empire.

This is probably what Enric Miralles, the Spanish architect of the new Scottish parliament at Holyrood, had in mind when he developed in 2003 the design of a building and landscape that take their cues from sources as diverse as upturned boats along the Scottish coastline to the delicate flower paintings of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, which are strong reminders of Scottish national identity.The ambivalent character of water has been well noted by Scottish writers : water as the origin of life and growth can also be related to the notions of displacement, exile and boundless immensity.

The conference will give participants the opportunity to reflect on the different forms of water, how it can be comprehended, then analyse its different representations, how they express themselves, why they may result from an evolution process or from some conscious choice reflecting cultural, social, political, identity influences or necessities.

This interdisciplinary conference will seek to tackle these issues and highlight their connections with Scotland’s past and present culture, and also the contemporary political, social, judicial debates.

Papers will be welcome on a wide range of research areas. The conference theme provides opportunities for researchers to share their work with colleagues in their area of interest and with researchers in allied fields.

Participants will be able to analyse these constructions / representations of water from a wide range of different angles, including and not limited to:

  • literary perspectives: poetry, travel writings, children’s literature,
  • cultural perspectives: painting, cinema, the performing arts, folklore,
  • historical perspectives: including the representations of Scotland’s past i.e. the political and identity debates about the terms of transmission of memory, the writing and rewriting of history, the construction of Scotland’s memory and how it is perceived by the other nations in Britain, in Europe and the rest of the world, all of these providing a semiotic perspective on how these identities are built up.
  • economic, political, social perspectives: involving leisure and industrial activities, environmental issues, energy benefits, proper access to drinking water (not only “uisge beatha” or water of life).
  • linguistic perspectives: in the larger field of the circulation and adaptation of the major and minor languages in Scotland, the linguistic analysis of items (preferably) related to water could lead to learned studies of the forms of these languages, including an implicit intercultural dimension.

Proposals can take the form of individual papers, but panels, with some British, European and global dimension / perspective are most welcome too.

Overall proposals could fall in, and are not limited to, one or several of the following fields:

1)          Water and how it is found:

  • The rivers, streams, waterways of Scotland: their formation and evolution. Also seas, inner seas, sea lochs; rain, mist and clouds, snow, ice
  • The climatic, geological, geographical specificities related to water: how water shaped Scotland’s territory, lands, isles

2)          Water and how it is viewed in Scottish culture:

  • Water in arts and literatures: water is omnipresent in Scottish landscape, in rivers, lochs, streams, seas; it has inspired painters, musicians, poets, writers eager to celebrate the beauty of Scotland’s landscape, which is always changing because of water.
  • The linguistic specificities of Scottish languages, as seen through the field of water.

3)          Water and how it is used:

  • Water and the formation of Scotland’s identity throughout history (including trade and migrations with Europe, the British Empire and the world, the formation of river and maritime communities like seamen, fishermen, shipwrights…)
  • Water and leisure: water enabled the rise of leisure activities and recreations, like swimming, rowing, pleasure sailing…
  • Water in the field of transports, economy, education, and the related government / local policies
  • Water and the sea (including fishing, maritime transport, communications across the seas, the Navy, shipwrecks and disasters at sea, coastal and insular communities…)

4)          Water and how it is handled:

  • Environmental issues and Scotland’s ecology: water and the Scottish regions: the issues, debates, projects related to water resource, (fresh) water conservation, access to water, and its uses.

Proposal details: Deadline is 31 March 2018

Participants are invited to submit a short proposal in French or English (maximum 500 words) indicating the scope of their intended paper or panel, together with a short biographical note.

Please email your abstract to the main organizer:

For further details see our website:

(posted 9 December 2017)

Romanticism and Time
Université de Lille, France, 8-10 November 2018
Deadline for proposals: 30 April 2018
Conference of the French Society for the Study of English Romanticism (SERA)
Co-organized by the Université de Lille and the Université de Lorraine, with the support of the Institut Universitaire de France and of the SERA
Keynote Speakers
Kevis Goodman, University of California, Berkeley
Paul Hamilton, Queen Mary, University of London
A roundtable on Romanticism and Periodization will be chaired by David Duff, Queen Mary, University of London
Scientific Committee
Prof. Caroline Bertonèche, Université de Grenoble-Alpes, President of the SERA, Prof. Laurent Châtel, Université de Lille, Prof. David Duff, Queen Mary, University of London, Prof. Thomas Dutoit, Université de Lille, Prof. Jean-Marie Fournier, Université Paris Diderot, Prof. Marc Porée, École Normale Supérieure, Prof. Laura Quinney, Brandeis University, Prof. Fiona Stafford, Somerville College, Oxford
The 2018 Conference of the French Society for the Study of English Romanticism will explore the complex and creative relations British Romanticism entertains with the notion of time. “Eternity is in love with the productions of time” (Blake), and Romantic literature walks the line between the eternal and the provisional, the evanescent and the irreversible, between the ambition to foster “Nurslings of immortality” (P. B. Shelley) and a commitment to “ke[ep] watch o’er man’s mortality” (Wordsworth).
The conference will be an invitation to look at Romantic meditations on the course of human life, from the poetics of infancy and coming of age, to the literature of maturity. Whether contemplating “the rude/ Wasting of old Time” (Keats), attending to the “shadows which futurity casts upon the present” (P. B. Shelley), or awaiting an apocalyptic revelation at the end of time, Romanticism offers a meditation on history, reflecting on the burdens of the past and on the disruptions of time in revolutions.
Memory vies with erasure within Romantic poetry as, for instance, De Quincey’s “mighty palimpsest” challenges the “voluminous scroll” (Smith) of Memory. Contained within Clare’s “Now is past” is the constant tension among past, present, and future in Romantic poetics. That strain between reminiscence and prophecy also manifests itself in the multiple temporalities of Romantic fiction and performance. Subverting philosophical conceptions, but also the Newtonian physics of time, Romantic writing thus creates its own sense of time, in its own terms, forms, and figures.
In its ability to bend the course of time, the Romantic movement appears as essentially untimely. Its uncanny persistence into later literary movements and contemporary theory upsets the linearity of periodization. This conference is also an invitation to study the various temporalities of Romanticism as a form of cross-fertilization between nations. As Romanticism developed at different moments and within different cultures in Europe, but also across the Atlantic, we welcome comparative studies, based on reception and translation.
Topics may include but are not limited to:
  • The representation and manipulation of time in Romantic writing and performance
  • The poetics of infancy, coming of age, and maturity in Romantic writing
  • Romanticism and History, from the revolutionary to the apocalyptic
  • Romantic memory, from anamnesis to erasure
  • Prophecy and the will to shape the future in the politics of Romanticism
  • Untimely Romanticism, and its persistence in later literature and theory
  • The times of Romanticism: its comparative developments and adaptations in Europe
Presentations will be expected not to exceed 30 minutes. Most presentations and papers will be in English. Final papers will be considered for publication following a peer-review process.
Abstracts of up to 300 words along with a short biographical note should be sent to the conference organizers before 30 April 2018. Early submissions are encouraged.

(posted 29 January 2018)

Transnationalism and Imperialism: New Perspectives on the Western
Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3, France, 15-16 November 2018
Deadline for proposals: 31 March 2018

A conference organized by EMMA (Études Montpelliéraines du Monde Anglophone), CAS (Cultures Anglo-Saxonnes) and CORPUS (Conflits, Représentations et Dialogues dans le Monde Anglo-Saxon)

Venue: Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3, Site Saint Charles

Keynote speakers: Matthew Carter (Manchester Metropolitan University) and Andrew Patrick Nelson (Montana State University)

This conference is a follow-up to a symposium entitled “Politics of the Western: a Revisionist Genre” organized by Hervé Mayer (EMMA EA741) at Université Paul Valéry Montpellier 3 on December 8, 2017. The aim of this conference is to question the film genre of the Western as being essentially American by focusing on the transnational dimension of Western narratives and images, as well as the circulation, reception, and production of Westerns outside the United States.

The genre has been widely read within the confines of a national culture and cinema in the U.S. André Bazin and Jean-Louis Rieupeyrout (1953) famously labeled the Western “the American cinema par excellence,” and film genre studies since have consistently resorted to a “sociohistorical analysis” to read the genre as the cinematic expression of an American identity (Le Bris 2012). In recent film studies, the Western genre is still widely explored, understood, and constructed as an American genre despite overwhelming evidence of foreign production and global circulation since the invention of cinema. In doing so, studies of the Western strengthen the construction of an American exception that the genre—and the myth of the West it is grounded in—itself promoted. In order to emancipate studies of the Western from discourses of American exceptionalism, this conference proposes to connect film genre studies with the recent field of transnational cinema. Transnational cinema generally refers to films that cross national borders, as stories, productions, and sometimes both. But the concept of transnationalism can be interpreted more widely as a repositioning of film studies, in which the “study of national cinemas must then transform into transnational film studies” (Lu 1997, emphasis in original). This “critical transnationalism” approaches film from the viewpoint of international networks of production and reception rather than from national film traditions, exploring the complex economic, political, and cultural negotiations between transnational and national along with questions of “postcoloniality, politics and power” (Higbee and Lim 2010).

Several scholars have pointed out the blind spot of transnationalism in the study of the Western and started to explore the genre from more de-centered perspectives. In a 2001 article on Cormac McCarthy, Susan Kollin called for researchers to abandon the idea of the Western as a “quintessential American form” and invited them instead to “recognize that its sensibilities have been shaped by a larger history of imperialism”. In their respective contributions to Zoos humains(2011), Pascal Blanchard, Eric Deroo and Eric Ames underline the ideological familiarity between Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show and other spectacles of imperialism at the turn of the 20th century. In his study of French colonial cinema, Abdelkader Benali (1998) notices that “several levels of comparison can be established between the French colonial cinema and the American Western”, referencing narrative structure, themes, dramatic content, or what he calls the “ethno-anthropological dimension” of those genres. Expanding on ideas put forth by Richard Slotkin (1992) and later by Stanley Corkin (2004), James Chapman and Nicholas Cull, in the first chapter of Projecting Empire (2009) which focuses on the British and American co-productions of empire films in the 1930s, mention the “common ground” of Western and empire films, again citing narrative structures (expansion, taming of the frontier, clash of civilization and savagery). These various arguments seem to invite the following hypothesis: that the Western is not so much an American exception, but rather the American expression of a transnational ideology and culture of imperialism. That only a limited percentage of American Westerns feature the Indian wars and territorial conquest does not change the fact that the entire genre explores racial and gender hierarchies, as well as issues of progress and violence inherited from, and shaped by, a history of imperialism. The very category of the “Western” as a genre can therefore also be questioned as other labels (empire cinema or cinema of exploration) may better capture the common features of imperial cinemas beyond national borders.

Along with the ideological and narrative similarities between the American Western and other spectacles of imperialism, another largely unexplored field of study is that of the circulation and reception of Westerns outside the United States. Quantitative studies on the exportation of American Westerns abroad are needed to specify the vague estimates presently available, as well as studies on the marketing strategies developed by studios to sell their products outside the United States. One recent step to answer this question is Russell Meuff’s 2013 study of the target marketing of John Wayne films in 1950s France. If Hollywood’s construction of foreign markets is important to understand how producers conceived the appeal of their products beyond national borders, the reception of American Westerns abroad is as important to understand how those products interacted with, and contributed to shape, national or local cultures. Talking about Cheyenne Autumn in a 1967 interview with Peter Bogdanovich, John Ford mentioned the interest of European audiences for the Indian as one of the reasons for making the film. This interest needs to be verified. More specifically, it begs the question: to what extent does/did the American Western crystallize national or local issues of imperialism? One hypothesis that could be addressed is that American Westerns acted as a foil to audiences of imperial nations: it represented both a foreignness that allowed for dissociating criticism (Americans murdered the “Indian”) and a familiarity that was exhilarating (the white man’s epic), the level of historical dissociation being proportionate to the guiltless enjoyment of an imperial story. Some scholars point to more complex power relations at work in the circulation and reception of American Westerns. One example is Peter Bloom’s contribution to Westerns: Films Through History (2001), in which the author explores how the reception of populist American Westerns in 1930s Algeria affected French rule in the colony. Such reception studies can shed new light on the issue of American cultural imperialism.

In addition to the circulation and reception of American Westerns abroad, one last area of transnational discussion of the Western is that of foreign productions. Of the three areas of study mapped out for this conference, this is the most well-known and explored. Studies of non-American westerns have developed since the 1980s (Frayling 1981), focusing predominantly on Italian Westerns that were successful in the U.S. and worldwide (those of Sergio Leone and, to a lesser extent, Sergio Corbucci), but there remains much work to consider the diversity and complexity of Western productions outside the U.S., notably by considering how the genre’s imperialist thrust—the economic conquest of space and celebration of hard masculinity at the expense of a racial other—has been used to reflect on national and international concerns. Attention to the transfer of Western motifs and figures (costumes, color schemes, songs and music, the use of low-angle shots and narrative montage to emphasize heroic feats, the advance of civilization, etc.) to address national concerns and sometimes critique imperialist ideologies would be welcome. A first step in that direction was taken with the recent publications of International Westerns (Miller 2013) and Critical Perspectives on the Western(Broughton 2016), which break new grounds in focusing on reinterpretations of the Western by foreign industries such as Hungary, Brazil, Bangladesh, and South Africa. International Westerns is especially noteworthy for its attempt to fill in the gap of a “book-length survey of the breadth of the international Westerns” [xvi], but, while the book crosses the borders of the American Western, it reestablishes those borders in its treatment of foreign Westerns as local rewritings of the genre within national cinematic traditions. The extent to which non-American Westerns reinstate the idea of an exceptionally American genre even as they appropriate the genre remains to be assessed.

The following venues of investigation can be addressed:

The American Western as the expression of a transnational culture of imperialism:

  • comparative studies of the Frontier/Western myth and other colonial or imperial narratives;
  • transnational origins of Frontier/Western mythology;
  • comparative studies of the American Western and other colonial or imperial cinemas;
  • interactions of the American Western with other national cultures (appropriation, acculturation, redefinitions)
  • discussion of the national label “Western” as opposed to transnational genre categories such as empire cinema or cinema of exploration.

The American Western abroad: circulation and reception:

  • economic, cultural, political implications; American marketing strategies abroad;
  • the reception of American Westerns in foreign countries and the degree to which they resonate with national cultures of imperialism.

 The non-American Western: the production of Westerns abroad:

  • case studies of non-American English-language productions (Australia, Canada, Italy, etc.);
  • comparative studies of American Westerns and non-English-language productions (Argentina, Brazil, German, French, Manchuria, etc.).

Transnational studies of the Western: definitions, theory, practices:

  • Surveys of national academic corpuses on the Western;
  • Comparative studies of national academic corpuses.

Proposals in English (350 words including a short bio and bibliography) must be sent to Marianne Kac-Vergne (, Hervé Mayer ( and David Roche ( by March 31, 2018. They will be reviewed by the scientific committee. Notification of acceptation will be sent to participants by May 1, 2018.

Download the selective bibliography.

Organizing Committee: Marianne Kac-Vergne (CORPUS EA4295), Hervé Mayer (EMMA EA741) and David Roche (CAS EA801)

Scientific Committee: Mathilde Arrivé, Jean-François Baillon, Zachary Baqué, Lee Broughton, Matthew Carter, Christophe Chambost, Claude Chastagner, Florent Christol, Claire Dutriaux, Sarah Hatchuel, Gilles Menegaldo, Monica Michlin, Andrew Patrick Nelson, Anne-Marie Paquet-Deyris, Peter Stanfield, Vincent Souladié, Clémentine Tholas-Disset

(posted 2 December 2017)

From Tokens of Love to Archived Relics: Private Life and Material Culture in Indian Ocean Societies
University of Reunion Island, France, 21-22 November 2018
Deadline for proposals: 30 January 2018

Sponsored by the Observatory for Indian Ocean Societies (O.S.O.I.- FED 4127), D.I.R.E. (E.A. 7387) and L.C.F. (E.A. 4549) research laboratories

Venue: Moufia Campus, Arts and Social Sciences Faculty, Saint-Denis, La Réunion

Writing the history of the private lives of individuals is no easy task. As pointed out by French historian Alain Corbin, any attempt to rediscover such a past is practically doomed to failure as “one can’t write the history of the private life of those who have left no trace”[1]. Are the private attitudes of those who are “marginal to or marginalized by society”[2], or those whose lives appear only briefly in archives, condemned to remain only briefly and superficially documented?

Contributing to the current dynamic wave of scientific research on the history and cultures of Indian Ocean societies, this conference will discuss material culture relating to private and emotional life in the Indian Ocean region[3]. How have past and present societies given shape and depth to affection and emotion and to feelings of love through material culture? In a vein similar to the initial research seminar entitled ‘Témoins d’amour, témoins de vie: Objets et images de l’intime’ held on the 12th of November 2015, this conference will focus on the study and interpretation of love tokens and other reflections, representations and expressions of romantic and sentimental feelings and discourses over the centuries. One of the main concerns will be to question the functions and meanings of these material objects in intimate exchanges or in what Jules Barbey d’Aurevilly qualifies as the “deepest corners of the soul”[4].

If giving shape to love and affection enables us to cast a different light on the question of the relation to the other, it also acts as a confirmation of the authenticity of the emotions being expressed: the gifts made to a loved person are tangible proof of the very existence of the love relationship, and as love tokens, they are likewise evidence of past subjectivities. In Rabindranath Tagore’s The Supreme Night, the memory of the sensual link which unites the disdainful young narrator to his would-be bride (who is incidentally wedded to a notary in his absence) is brought back by the sound of rustling fabric and the tinkle of bracelets and by the fragrance of her feminine intimacy[5]. Gifts can also testify to the existence of a contract and thus become a source of alienation. Just like a protraction of the body of the other, absent but reified, the object becomes, in its turn, a fetish. The concept of a material culture, defined by art historian Jules Prown as “the study through artifacts of the beliefs — values, ideas, attitudes, and assumptions — of a particular community or society at a given time”[6], will be at the heart of our discussions. To what extent do people’s relation to objects inform us of the relations between sexes and on intimacy?[7]

If objects are a means of discovering the past and working against the oblivion of intimate moments, echoes of past Indian Ocean generations, they are also a key source of information and knowledge of our relation to history and the very practice of historians. As underlined by French scholar Michel de Certeau, the elements selected and highlighted by a historian become a work of memory, a monument of its own[8]. What is the status of the object, a fragment of intimacy, which is unveiled to the public? Who decides to unveil the object? The boundary between the private and public spheres, the notion of heritage, but also of posterity will be vital questions addressed by this conference. It will also examine other aspects of intimacy such as the multiple readings and interpretations of the object at different points in time and space, and the question of popular and family history, with a focus on the amateur historians’ contribution to our general understanding of the past.

We welcome a diversity of formats ranging from the visual and the written to the tactile and the three-dimensional, to the gustatory, the audible and the olfactory (photographs, texts, correspondence, food packaging, scented jasmine petals found in love letters…). These tokens, whatever their age, will be analyzed as a means of questioning the relation to the other.

This event will be organized along (but not limited to) the following themes:

  1. History of private life and material objects: archaeology of daily life, love relations and sexuality, private and public lif
  2. Conservation and archives of the Indian Ocean: The objects as vessels for heritage, collective and individual memory, conservation policies regarding objects and artefacts (museums, libraries, archives), the historian and memory, heritage, amateur historians and their contributions, the relation between family, popular and academic history.
  3. Specificity of the objects of the Indian Ocean region: Role played by fetishism, the question of taboo, the object as work of art expressing love, the object as a sign (language and knowledge, symbol, hint), the social imagination: the status of the object which crystalizes people’s fears, desires, and memory.

The speech proposals (400 words max.) along with a short biographical note are to be sent before the 30th of January 2018 to both organizers:
Françoise Sylvos,
Florence Pellegry,

The selection will be confirmed by the 15th of March 2018.

The proposals will be studied by the scientific committee for the conference:
Pr Géraldine Chouard (Université Paris-Dauphine)
Pr Evelyne Combeau-Mari, (Université de la Réunion)
Dr Florence Pellegry, (Université de la Réunion)
Dr Sandra Saayman (Université de la Réunion)
Pr Françoise Sylvos, (Université de la Réunion)
Pr Vilasnee Tampoe – Hautin, (Université de la Réunion)
Pr Gilles Teulié (Université d’Aix-Marseille)

The oral presentations in French or in English will last 20 minutes each followed by a 10-minute discussion.

Registration fee for all speakers: 50 euros (30 euros for doctoral students or retired academics).

A selection of articles will be published in a bilingual volume after the conference.

Key words: Object, history of private life, love, memory, imagination, Indian Ocean
[1] Alain Corbin, Gilles Heuré, Historien du sensible, Paris : La Découverte ; 2000. p.154.
[2] Clare Anderson, “Introduction to Marginal Centers: Writing Life Histories in the Indian Ocean World”, Journal of Social History, vol. 45, n° 2, 2011, p.337.
[3] We will deal with the entire Indian Ocean region, which includes the islands in the south of the Indian Ocean (Comoros, Réunion, Mayotte, Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles), the countries on the east coast of Africa (South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zanzibar etc.), but also India, Sri Lanka, Iran and Pakistan, the eastern part of the region (Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, The Philippines etc.), without forgetting isolated island communities such as those of Diego Garcia, Maldives etc. and the austral territories.
[4] Jules Barbey d’Aurevilly in Brigitte Diaz, « Le XIXe siècle intime » Les choses, Le Magasin du XIXe siècle, n° 21, 2012, p. 281.
[5] Rabindranath Tagore, Aux bords du gange, Paris : Gallimard, « Folio » ; 2010. p.32-33.
[6] Jules Prown, “Mind in Matter: An Introduction to Material Culture Theory and Method,” Winterthur Portfolio, n°17, 1982, p.1.
[7] As underlined by Malanjaona Rakotomalala (INALCO) in her 2010 introduction to the 45th issue of Etudes Océan Indien which explores questions of love and sexuality in the Eastern part of the Indian Ocean, studies bearing on the history of private life in this region are few and far between. In fact, while researchers do focus on problems linked to gender and the social condition of women, the “realm of the relations between the sexes” still needs to be critically mapped out, cf. Malanjaona Rakotomalala, « Présentation », Amour et sexualité du côté de l’océan Indien occidental (Comores, Madagascar et île Maurice), Études océan Indien, n°45, 2010, p.7-12.
[8] Jean-Paul Resweber, « L’écriture de l’histoire », Le Portique, n° 13-14, 2004, URL : (visited on 18/06/2017).

(posted 9 November 2017)

Narratives of Power and Empowerment
Sousse, Tunisia, 23-24 November 2018
Deadline for proposals: 30 April 2018

An international conference organized by the Tunisian Association for English Language Studies (TAELS)

The manifestations of power in history, society, culture, science, international relations and politics are multi-faceted. Power has always been an integral dynamic of human relations, forms of government and domination, social class and cultural hegemony. Human achievements throughout history and the major events that have shaped international politics in the past and presenthave been deeply influenced by old and new conceptions of powers. The human experience over time and themetamorphosed shape of the world are simple reflections of the impact of power on the course of history and human development.

Critical readings of power have recently engaged in questioning long-standing narratives on social, political, gender, and even linguistics norms. The recent tradition of critical analysis in the humanities in general, and in political, legal, and media discourses in particular, paved the way for new understandings of the inherent dynamics of hegemony and domination in human relations and interactions. Academic disciplines such as sociology, history, anthropology, linguistics, and cultural studies have devoted more and more space for questioning established interpretations of different types of discourses, giving prominence to voices and attitudes that have long been forgotten or marginalized, to say the least.

These new orientations in critical and innovative readings of traditional narratives on power have grown into a counter-paradigm that has gradually advocated a more visible presence of the voices that have long been unheard. Widely referred to as empowerment, the new tradition has adopted a citizen-centered advocacy approach that is now most apparent in the discourses of human rights, gender studies, innovative artistic expressions, and post-colonial writings.

In literary and cultural studies, writers and critics have sought to interrogate the hegemonic discourses of narratives claiming authority and unity. Discourses of power such as ‘History’, the Enlightenment, colonialism, patriarchy, ethnocentrism, among many others, rest on ego-centric, supremacist ideologies that intend to devalue and exclude other forms of discourses that do not operate within the confines of their dogmatic frames. In an attempt to unlock discursive silences, narratives of empowerment spring from the premise that speaking truth to centers of power offers alternative visions, bringing to the limelight the narratives of those who were eclipsed in the shadow of “Grand Narratives” (Lyotard). The intricate relationship between narrative as a form of discourse and power (Foucault) offers venues for exploration in a transcultural world where limitations are transgressed, meaning is disseminated (Derrida; Bhabha) and identities are negotiated.

It is within this framework that the steering committee welcomes individual and panel proposals related, but not limited, to the following topics:

  • The sociolinguistics of power
  • Power in discourse studies
  • National/international power
  • Depictions of power in the media
  • War and peace
  • Empowerment and capacity building
  • Representations of power and empowerment
  • Imperialism and colonialism
  • Genderand women studies
  • Minorities and resistance
  • Nationalism and power
  • Power and memory
  • Power and engaged arts
  • Subversion and emancipation


We welcome individual abstracts for 20-minute presentations and complete panel proposals of four papers treating a similar theme or topic. Priority will be given to panel proposals. Participants are kindly invited to submit their proposals via the appropriate link below no later than April 30th, 2018. Notifications of acceptance will be communicated by May 31st, 2018.
– Individual submissions:
– Panel submissions:
We accept abstracts and papers written in English, Arabic and French.
TAELS editorial board will select a number of papers that will be published after peer-reviewing in a collective volume on the proceedings of the conference.

Participation fees
Presenters of accepted papers will be required to deposit a participation fee of 250 TND (250 Euros for international participants)to TAELS bank account no later than August 31st, 2018.
TAELS Bank Account
IBAN: TN 59 1070 5007 0481 8407 8872
Bank address: Rue HédiNouira – 1001 Tunis – Tunisia
Swift code: STBKTNT
TAELS Address: ISLG, Rue Ali Jemel, 6000, Gabes – Tunisia

The amount will cover:

For Tunisian participants:

  • One full-accommodation night at a four-star hotel inSousse,
  • Conference materials,
  • Two copies of the conference proceedings after publication.

For international participants:

  • Two full-accommodation nights at a four-star hotel in Sousse,
  • Conference materials,
  • Two copies of the conference proceedings after publication.

For advice and more details about transportation and accommodation, please send your requests to TAELS team will be happy to assist in making your stay most comfortable.

(posted 6 February 2018)

Innovation and Experiment in Contemporary Irish Fiction
Leuven Centre for Irish Studies, KU Leuven, Belgium, 29 November – 1 December 2018
Deadline for proposals: 15 May 2018

Since the turn of the twentieth-century, Irish fiction has seen innovation and experimentation on many different fronts. Many novelists have pushed the boundaries of the novel form and also the Irish short story is being rewritten along new lines. It is in this respect telling that the Goldsmiths Prize for innovative fiction has, since its inception in 2013, already been awarded to three Irish novelists and that many other Irish writers have won major prizes such as the Booker Prize, the Costa Award, and the BBC short story award. To get a sense of the variety of innovation and experimentation that is going on in Irish fiction at the moment, think of the re-kindling of (post)modernist experiment by Eimer McBride, Mike McCormack and Caitriona Lally; the extraordinary take of ordinary life by Sara Baume, Colm Tóibín, Donal Ryan, and Claire-Louise Bennett; the play with genre conventions in the work of Claire Kilroy, John Banville, and Anne Enright; the powerful re-invention of the historical novel by Lia Mills, Sebastian Barry, and Mary Morrissy; or the darkly comic tales of Irish life on the part of Kevin Barry, Lisa McInerney, Keith Ridgway and Paul Murray. In the short story too, formal experimentation and innovation can be found in the work of a new generation of Irish writers: Danielle McLoughlin, Lucy Caldwell, Mary Costello, and Colin Barrett have exploited the conventions of the traditional Irish realist story to suit their own thematic ends, while writers like Jan Carson, Éilís Ní Dhuibhne, Roisin O’Donnell and June Caldwell combine the realist story with magical, folkloric or fantastic elements to tell tales about contemporary Dublin and Belfast life.

By exploring the work of these and many other contemporary Irish writers, the conference aims further scrutinize the form and function of experimentation and innovation in Irish fiction today. Topics that will be addressed include those of genre and genre hybridity, style, rhetoric, narrative structure and intermediality: Which new fictional techniques are being used and what thematic or ideological aims do they serve? To what genres or subgenres can these texts be said to belong and how are generic conventions deployed in new ways? How do these fictional texts move over into neighbouring genres, such as life writing, journalism, non-fiction and history? In addition, the conference hopes to address literary historical questions about the new developments: In what ways do these works hark back to earlier waves of experiment: modernism, postmodernism, avant garde movements? Do these texts incorporate or intertextually refer to earlier traditions of Irish or, more generally, European literature? The interaction between formal experiment and thematic innovation is also a central question pertaining to the conference theme: Which themes are being privileged or explored in these texts? How do they raise new and pressing questions about (Irish) life? This also leads to the question of the ‘Irishness’ of these new fictions: Do they embody a specifically Irish tradition or are they part of international movements and traditions? To what extent are formal innovations linked to the thematic concern of many writers to explore the changes in contemporary Ireland? Apart from papers addressing these and related questions, we also invite papers that apply new critical models (e.g. from such fields as affect theory, the posthuman, book studies, ecocriticism, gender studies, memory, trauma and age studies) to contemporary Irish fiction.

Please send a 300-word abstract for a 20-min paper, along with a 100-word biographical note to and before 15 May. The conference will take place in the Leuven Irish College, where accommodation is also available.

(posted 22 February 2018)