Stonewall at 50 and Beyond: Interrogating the Legacy and Memory of the 1969 Riots
Paris, France, 3-5 June 2019
Deadline for proposals: 15 October 2018
A conference organised by:
University of Paris-Est Créteil / IMAGER (EA 3958)
Paris-Dauphine University (Paris-Sciences-et-Lettres) / IRISSO
In the night of June 27th to 28th, 1969, gay and transgender patrons of the Stonewall Inn, a Greenwich Village bar in New York, refused to comply with one more among countless occurrences of police harassment. For five days and nights the neighborhood was the theater of a rough confrontation between demonstrators and police. In the following weeks and months, the resulting mobilization reinforced the already burgeoning movement for gay liberation. The first commemoration that took place the very next year, Christopher Street Liberation Day, eventually gave birth to the LGBTQ pride marches that we know today.
The fiftieth anniversary of Stonewall in 2019 is an opportunity to reexamine its legacy and lasting impact on the creation of an LGBTQ movement in the United States and worldwide. This conference aims to interrogate the processes of memorialization and patrimonialization, as well as the political legacy and the cultural and activist representations of Stonewall.
In the United States over this half-century, the riots have acquired a great deal of symbolic strength, growing institutional recognition, and have become incorporated into the national narrative. In 1992, after more than a decade’s controversy in New York about whether that was an appropriate location, a commemorative statue was erected just opposite the bar. In his second inaugural address, in 2013, President Obama characterized Stonewall as a landmark on the path to full equality by likening it to the 1848 Seneca Falls conference, and the 1965 marches in Selma—respectively emblems of the movement for women’s suffrage and the nonviolent struggle for African Americans’ civil rights. In 2016, the site was made a National Monument by the National Park Service. What conceptions and representations of the event underlie these processes of institutional memorialization? And what history is Stonewall thus made to narrate?
A host of factors have been used to both explain the riots and construct the Stonewall myth: the death of gay icon Judy Garland; the militant ebullience of the African American, feminist, anti-war, and New Left mobilizations; the general rebellious atmosphere of the 1960s that encouraged gay, bisexual, and trans men and women to refuse to submit; the recent emergence of a more offensive gay militancy. This conference will be an opportunity to revisit and reconsider the ways in which the works of scholars, both independent and academic (Armstrong, Carter, Duberman, Katz etc.), as well as biographical and autobiographical narratives, have framed and conceptualized Stonewall, in order to examine how they incorporate the voice of protagonists of the riots and of gay liberation.
It is a well-established fact that similar events had taken place before, be it in San Francisco at the 1965 New Year’s ball or at Compton’s Cafeteria in 1966, or in Los Angeles at the Black Cat in 1967 and even as early as 1959 at Cooper’s Donuts (Armstrong and Crage, Bullough, Faderman and Timmons, Stryker). The political and social context, local mnemonic capacities, and varying degrees of frame resonance help explain why Stonewall took precedence over these previous occurrences (Armstrong and Crage). Yet, these explanations do not exhaust the importance of Stonewall in LGBTQ history and historiography: beyond the necessary demystifications, what remains of these riots’ heuristic value and mobilizing power? Why and how have activists in New York and elsewhere appropriated the memory of this event? How does gay liberation relate with lesbian cultures and mobilizations? While the field of LGBTQ militancy is strongly influenced by feminist ideas and mobilizations, how may the legacy of Stonewall differ along gender lines?
The various ways in which activists, commentators, and scholars in the United States write the history of the riots is a reflection of deep-seated tensions within the LGBTQ movement. Whereas many rioters were prostitutes, drag queens, transgender people, and people of color, post-Stonewall movements have tended to whiten, cisgenderize, and masculinize the event, and to disconnect it from its too flamboyant instigators. Witness Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, two respectively black and Latina transgender activists, who were on the frontline of the confrontation with the police: for a long time, their role was overlooked and they were physically excluded from annual commemorations as of 1973. Subsequent historical reexaminations, however, have earned them a quasi-heroic stature, a Greenwich Village street being named after Sylvia Rivera in 2005, for example. Should this patrimonialization of the least reputable, least palatable, indeed queerest protagonists be interpreted as recognition or as a cooptation that strips them of their offensiveness?
Stonewall was an act of disobedience and insubordination to the state’s authority, and yet the event has since been reclaimed as the starting point of an assimilationist politics of respectability by the more mainstream LGBTQ organizations in the United States (Human Rights Campaign, National LGBTQ Task Force). Should this be viewed as a tribute, betrayal or hijacking? To what extent do moderate reappropriations of Stonewall result from a conscious strategy of making the riots inoffensive and of minimizing their rebellious contestation of power? The transformation of LGBTQ pride marches into entertaining parades and commodified festivals can also be viewed as a reflection of this reinterpretation. How, concretely, has the understanding of riots driven by the rejection of policing and social control gradually shifted toward homonationalist (Puar) and homonormative (Duggan) discourses? How have post-Stonewall revolutionary agendas been transformed into an identity politics that is premised on conformity and a liberal or neoliberal understanding of diversity (Ward)?
Such competing narratives oppose each other in controversies surrounding the cultural representations of the event, for example in the movies by Nigel Finch (1995) and Roland Emmerich (2015). These productions not only triggered heated debates on their failure to sufficiently or truthfully represent certain protagonists, but also raised the question of who has legitimacy to produce the memory of Stonewall. Witness the 2017 controversy between Reina Gossett and David France about their respective documentary movies, Happy Birthday Marsha! and The Life and Death of Marsha P. Johnson, when the former accused the latter of using her original research without her consent and without giving her credit: this dispute has further thrown into light the question of who owns activist archives. When Stonewall is featured in popular culture, through songs, comic books, live-action or animation television and online series, are these debates part of the conversation—whether it be in a parodic, satirical, hagiographic or commemorative way?
Critiques of the commodification of LGBTQ culture and memory, however, should not detract attention from the central role played by commercial venues such as bars, nightclubs, and bathhouses in the development and persistence of queer communities (Chauncey, D’Emilio, Escoffier, Kennedy and Davis, Rupp and Taylor, Tamagne). These businesses used to thrive in the queer neighborhoods of major urban centers, but have gradually receded following changing patterns in LGBTQ sociability and new waves of gentrification (Ghaziani, Giraud). They nonetheless continue to be of paramount importance for LGBTQ people from less metropolitan areas or who belong to ethnic and racial minorities (Mattson). How to eschew the frequent male-centeredness of discourses on commercial social venues? What different meanings do these venues have for LGBTQ men and women? The 2016 Orlando killing and the persistence of homophobic and transphobic violence are reminders of the continuing relevance of communitarian spaces for the nurturing of LGBTQ collective identities and mobilizations. Can there be a new Stonewall? In what ways do LGBTQ commercial venues continue to be political, possibly infrapolitical (Marche, Scott) spaces, in the United States or elsewhere?
Stonewall is indeed also mythic because its fame has exceeded US national borders, in part due to the combined geopolitical and economic strengths of the United States’ soft power and entertainment industry, which have succeeded in globalizing American cultural models. That is why this conference aims to look beyond the United States in order to address the worldwide reception and influence of Stonewall, and the circulation, translation, importation, reappropriations, and sometimes rejection of LGBTQ communitarian practices and cultural models that originate in the United States and the legacy of its gay liberation movement. How has the memory of the riots crossed borders? How has it impacted, or failed to impact, nascent or already existent movements? In what ways do power hierarchies of gender, race, and class weigh on LGBTQ activists’ representation and practice of the occupation of public spaces? Do the initiators of similar events in other countries invoke or reclaim those of New York? Does Stonewall’s notoriety “colonize” the memory of movements born outside the United States (Altman, Adam, Duyvendak and Krouwel, Encarnación, Prearo)? Does the Stonewall myth contribute to the globalization of queer sexual identities (Altman, Binnie, Puar, Drucker)? Are circulations within the global North driven by the same forces as those between the United States and countries of the global South?
Far from proposing a univocal, teleological celebration of the “birth” of the contemporary LGBTQ movement, this conference aims to offer a critical, objectivizing examination of Stonewall, in a context of enduring hostility to sexual and gender minorities in the United States and throughout the world. Submissions based on empirical data (archives, interviews, ethnographies, literature, cinema, popular culture) and with a comparative or intersectional approach will be especially welcome. Scholars from all disciplines of the humanities and social sciences (cultural studies; foreign languages, literatures, and cultures; geography; history; political science; sociology) may submit.
See the conference website.
Assimilation; commercial venues; homonormativity; intersectionality; LGBTQ; liberation; pride marches; memorialization; social movements; patrimonialization; resistance.
When and how to submit:
Paper submissions in French or English (c. 500 words) with an explicit presentation of the methodology and data, and a brief biographical note (5 lines) should be uploaded by October 15th, 2018, at: https://stonewallat50.sciencesconf.org.
Selected speakers will be notified by November 15th, 2018.
The conference will take place at the universities of Paris-Est Créteil and Paris-Dauphine, France, on June 3rd–5th, 2019.
Contact and information: email@example.com.
(posted 23 June 2018)
Women Who Made History: 3rd International Conference on Arts and Humanities
Nicosia, Cyprus, 4-7 June 2019
Deadline for proposals: 30 April 2019
The 3rd International Conference on Arts and Humanities is an event organized by the International Centre for Studies of Arts and Humanities (ICSAH) and the Dante Alighieri Society Nicosia that aims to explore the topic of women who made history. The conference will be held on 4-7 June 2019 at the University of Nicosia, Cyprus.
We warmly welcome all papers broadly relevant to the subject without predefining chronological and territorial limitations, as the major goal of the conference is to address questions that involve more than one research field and promote multidisciplinary dialogue and cooperation. The papers will be published online and in a dedicated volume of Conference Proceedings.
We invite proposals which study all aspects of women in literature, art, history and philosophy in order to highlight the variations, similarities and particularities of the figure of the woman in different cultural and disciplinary contexts. We encourage also papers that accentuate the conception, meaning and symbolism of the woman as an icon and a force that transcends the barriers of time, and embraces the very essence of the human being.
About ICSAH. The International Centre for Studies of Arts and Humanities is a nonprofit, interdisciplinary organization dedicated to the research, study and education in a vast range of disciplines in the fields of Arts and Humanities. The mission of the organization is to:
- Promote the worldwide understanding, study and teaching across a range of disciplines of the Arts and Humanities.
- Provide additional forums for the exchange of ideas regarding Arts and Humanities in schools, Universities, libraries, museums and other contexts.
- Support the interchange of research and the scholarships of knowledge, teaching and service in the Humanities through conferences, publications and relative activities.
Submission rules: To submit a proposal for a paper of approximately 20 minutes, please send an abstract of 350 words or less to firstname.lastname@example.org by April 30th, 2019. The proposed contributions should not have been previously published or accepted for publication elsewhere. Abstracts should include a title, a summary of the presentation, name of the author/s, institutional affiliation, email, and the language of presentation.
Conference languages: English, French, Italian
Venue : University of Nicosia, 46 Makedonitissas Avenue, Engomi, Nicosia 2414, Cyprus
For further information about the conference, please see our website at: http://icsah.eu
(posted 19 June 2018)
Reenchanting Urban Wildness: To Perceive, Think and Live With Nature in its Urban Environment
Perpignan, France, 11-14 June 2019
Deadline for proposals: 1 October 2018
An international Conference under the aegis of the CRESEM, UPVD
- Belinda Cannone, French writer, sponsor of the PUP (Presses Universitaires de Perpignan), author of S’émerveiller, 2017.
- Nathanael Johnson, American journalist and writer, expert in nature in cities and environmental issues, author of Unseen City The Majesty of Pigeons, the Discreet Charm of Snails & Other Wonders of the Urban Wilderness, 2016
- Nathalie Blanc, Geographer, French CNRS Supervisor, urban nature expert
- Serenella Iovino, University of Torino, Italy. Ecophilosopher, New Materialism and Environmental Humanities expert
- Anne Simon, CNRS Research Director, Head of the Animots program, zoopoetics expert
This international conference comes as an offshoot of a previous ecopoetics conference on “Dwellings of Enchantment: Writing and Reenchanting the Earth,” which took place in Perpignan in June 2016 (with three collective volumes on their way to being published). While this first event successfully brought together many academics and writers from various backgrounds, countries and disciplinary fields, it appeared that the call for papers attracted studies mostly concerned with dwellings of enchantment outside of cities. From there sprouted the notion that, while humans’ intra-connections with their natural environments outside of densely populated areas were indeed of essential concern, it may be just as necessary and urgent to reconsider the many entanglements between human and non-human naturecultures within urban and suburban milieus. For, as opposed to what modernity has often wrongly entailed, nature does not evolve solely starting on the outskirts of our urban dwellings, but has instead become an integral part of the daily lives of a majority of humans, living in densely populated areas. As over half of humanity now resides in urban places––a tendency that has been predicted to keep growing on the increase––, nonhuman life forms have simultaneously been coevolving with us in environments that can no longer be conceived of as antagonistic to the notion of nature. In more or less visible ways, vegetal, animal, elemental, and microbial agencies have followed the roads we have paved, adapting to and, in turn, shaping our shared urban habitats, sometimes even encroaching upon the more intimate dwelling places of our bodies.
If so-called moderns seek shelter in the notion of a civilized dwelling place keeping wilderness at bay, such an anthropocentric vision remains blind to the hardly controllable coexistence of myriad life forms within our gridded, sometimes walled or gated, shared, urban and suburban pluriverses. Suffice it to mention the pullulating of coyotes in North American suburbs, of spotted hyenas in Ethiopian cities, of foxes in all European metropoles, of raccoons in Parisian forests, of parakeets vividly coloring the sky in Brussels, of Geckos nesting on the walls of our homes in Spain and India––or in Perpignan for that matter––and the less glamorous domestic intrusions of cockroaches, ants, or other insects in our urban ecosystems to heal from the delusional idea of a dichotomy separating humans and cities from nonhumans and natural environments. Moreover, while some of these feral animals tend to first be considered as a pestilence or jeopardy, in many cases local communities have been finding ways to reconsider the potential intra-actions between various populations – whether they be part of the vegetal, animal or human worlds – in ways forcing humans to adapt to nonhuman agencies, and reciprocally. As for plants, the wild proliferation of weeds, the cultivation of city parks, balconies, greenways, gardens etc. has made these vegetal populations ever-present in our quotidian commutes, walks, leisure, workplaces, etc.
With a one-day conference held in Perpignan in May 2017 and exclusively devoted to “Vegetal Life in its Urban Milieu,” this new international event builds further on previous research, seeking to extend the enterprise of re-enchanting the complex, often invisible relationships between humans and non-humans that germinate from specifically urban worldings.
If the organizers themselves mostly specialize in ecocriticism and ecopoetics, we would like to encourage transdisciplinary dialogues, and therefore invite academics and artists across a wide range of disciplines to come together and advance current research and thinking on the hidden wonders of urban ecosystems (urban planning, biology, anthropology, ecology, botany, geography, sociology, entomology and ornithology, history, philosophy, visual arts, and academics of the inherently transdisciplinary fields of ecocriticism, ecopoetics, zoopoetics, ecopsychology). The scientific committee will particularly, yet not exclusively, welcome papers addressing some of the following issues:
- Magical realism as an artistic mode particularly apt to reveal urban wonders
- Postmodernism and the rewriting of myths about urban culture
- How material ecocriticism or new materialism have been sowing seeds for new ecopoetic paradigms to envision the products of our naturecultures as co-produced songs
- The role of urban planning in re-enchanting humans’ conception of nature in cities
- The enchantments of old cities compared with those of newer cities
- Community and grassroots initiatives to reweave naturecultural fabrics
- Ecofeminist practices, rituals and thought in urban settings
- Ecospsychology as a way of repairing human connections with their environments
- The latest developments in ecosophy and what light it sheds on an ontology of urban co-dwelling
- Postcolonial urban populations and their relationships to urban wildness
- Multicultural cities’ melting pots and plants
- Waste theory and production in urban areas
- Plant communication in urban ecosystems
- What biosemiotics teaches us about urban wonders
- Urban sources of food (Ava Chin, the New York Times“urban foraging” blogger and the author of a book called Eating Wildly)
- Health issues and urban nature
- The conceptual implications of the word “feral”––referring simply to that which has broken free from human domestication, a term that was applied first to animals and now to plants as well––with no exact translation in other European languages such as French or Dutch (George Monbiot, Feral, 2013)
- Education about nature in urban settings
- Urban naturecultural art forms (graph, dance, music, etc)
Scientific coordinator: Bénédicte Meillon, University of Perpignan
Organizing committee: Margot Lauwers, University of Perpignan, France; Bénédicte Meillon, University of Perpignan, France; Claire Perrin, University of Perpignan, France; Caroline Durand-Rous, University of Perpignan, France
Scientific committee: Pascale Amiot, University of Perpignan (Irish Studies and Ecopoetics), Anne-Laure Bonvalot, University of Montpellier (Hispanic and Portuguese-language Ecocriticism and Ecofeminism), Françoise Besson, University of Toulouse (Anglophone ecopoetics), Marie Blaise, University of Montpellier (Francophone Ecocriticism), Anne-Lise Blanc, University of Perpignan (Francophone Ecopoetics), Nathalie Blanc, CNRS, Paris (Urban Geography, Environmental Humanities), Clara Breteau, (CNRS UK, University of Leeds, Environmental Humanities), Isabelle Cases, University of Perpignan (British History and Culture), Joanne Clavel, Danse Researcher, University Paris 8, Doctor in scientific ecology, Nathalie Cochoy, University of Toulouse (Anglophone ecopoetics), Aurélie Delage, University of Perpignan (City planning and Urbanism), Jocelyn Dupont, University of Perpignan (American Literature and Cinematographic culture), François Gavillon, University of Bretagne Occidentale (Anglophone Ecopoetics), Bertrand Guest, University of Angers (French Ecocriticism), Daniel Finch-Race, Durham University (Francophone ecocriticism and ecopoetics), Karen Houle, Guelph University, Canada (Philosophy, ecocriticism, ecopoetics, ecopoetry), Thibault Honoré, University of Bretagne Occidentale (Fine Arts), Serenella Iovino, University of Torino, Italy (Ecophilosophy, New materialism), Edith Liégey, National Museum of Natural History (Ecology and contemporary arts sciences), Margot Lauwers, University of Perpignan (Ecofeminism, anglophone feminist ecocriticism), Bénédicte Meillon, University of Perpignan (Anglophone ecocriticism and ecopoetics, American Short Story, Magical Realism), Serpil Opperman, Hacettepe University, Turkey (Ecocriticism, New materialism, ecofeminism), Stéphanie Posthumus, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec (Francophone ecocriticism and ecopoetics), Jonathan Pollock, University of Perpignan (Ecopoetics, ecophilosophy, Shakespearean wild), Thomas Pughe, University of Orléans (Anglophone ecocriticism and ecopoetics), Sylvain Rode, University of Perpignan (City planning and urbanization), Anne Simon, CNRS Research Director, Head of the Animots program, zoopoetics expert, Scott Slovic, Idaho University, USA (Ecocriticism), François Specq, ENS Lyon (Anglophone ecocriticism)
The conference will take place in English and French. Communication proposals are to be sent as abstracts (300-400 words), with a brief bio-biblio note (5-6 lines) to email@example.com, before October 1st, 2018. Feedback from the scientific committee will get sent by mid November 2018.
(posted 12 February 2018)
‘Because of Her?’: Women and the Shaping of Canada
Bordeaux, France, 12-14 June 2019
Deadline for proposals: 20 June 2018
Keynote speaker: Lori Saint Martin, UQAM, Institut de Recherches et d’Études Féministes
The Interuniversity Center for Canadian Studies in Bordeaux (CECIB) will host the annual conference and symposium of the French Association for Canadian Studies (AFEC) from June 12 to June 14, 2019 in Bordeaux, to the role of women in the construction of Canada.
While Canada is adopting a ‘feminist international assistance policy’ to advance gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in order ‘to reduce poverty and build a more inclusive, peaceful and prosperous world,’ time is ripe to examine facts and issues related to women and their (somewhat underscored?) contribution to the construction of Canada. Borrowing from the ‘Women’s History Month in Canada’ hashtag #Because of Her (with the addition of a question mark to interrogate the statement) the conference will address the multifaceted role played by women themselves in Canada’s past, present and future history, their evolving status over time as well as what women and the femine have inspired in the collective and individual imaginary. The approach will be diachronic, dealing with the lands encompassing present-day Canada through the ages, and transnational, exploring the interrelations between Canada and women from within and without, including Native women, settlers, migrant women and travellers, whatever their nationalities or origins, provided their connection with what is known today as Canada can be evidenced.
We invite papers exploring: demography, migrations, matrimony, family life, education, work, health, ageing, spirituality, artistic creation, sports, Indigenous women, Canadian feminism as activism or theory (among others). Experts in women’s studies and gender studies are welcome as well as academics in all fields of studies such as history, geography, sociology, anthropology, psychology, health studies, philosophy, religion, cultural studies, environmental studies, law, economy, political science, literature and the arts.
Proposals may be submitted individually or as a panel (group of 4 papers on a common theme), in English or in French. A Word file containing an abstract of 400 words and a short biographical note of 100 words should be sent by June 20, 2018 to Marie-Lise Paoli (Équipe de Recherche Créativité et Imaginaire des Femmes-ERCIF, E.A. CLARE, Université Bordeaux Montaigne): Marie-Lise.Paoli@u-bordeaux-montaigne.fr
(posted 26 March 2018)
Speaking in Tongues: Celebrating Walt Whitman in Translation
Université Paris-Est Créteil, France, 13-14 June 2019
Deadline for proposals: 15 September 2018
When Rubén Darío published his sonnet entitled “Walt Whitman”, in 1888, he started a tradition that has been continuing for over a hundred years and that—witness Laurent Galley’s recent “Ode à Walt Whitman”—is still going strong in the twenty-first century. From García Lorca’s “Oda a Walt Whitman” to Jean Sénac’s “Paroles avec Walt Whitman,” from Pessoa’s unfinished “Saudação a Walt Whitman” to B. Alkvit-Blum’s “Dayne grozn,” Whitman, more than any other English-language poet before or after him, may be said to have attracted a considerable number of direct responses from poets not writing in English. The editors of the seminal Walt Whitman: The Measure of His Song analyze Whitman’s attraction to English-language poets as follows: “Most of the poets who address Whitman do so to satisfy a gnawing urge to talk things out with him, to relieve the itching of his words at their ears.” For those not using English, however, their fascination with Whitman’s verse seems in great measure to have resulted from more or less accurate perceptions of his representativeness as an American, his claim to be read as an advocate of political and artistic internationalism, his innovative poetics, and, for a sizeable number of them, his ground-breaking queerness. Appearing to take at face value Whitman’s only partially-realized “absorption” of his poetry by his country, they have frequently invoked him as America made flesh, appearing in so doing to equate the flesh-and-blood author of Leaves of Grass with the ubiquitous “rough” present in many poems.
Just as Whitman’s verse has been drawing poetic responses from around the world for over 160 years, foreign translations of his poetry started to be published relatively early in his lifetime, first in reviews appearing in literary journals, then in book form. The former practice started in France, with a text by Louis Étienne appearing in 1861 in La Revue européenne. Étienne counterbalanced his indictment of Whitman with a generous selection of lines translated into French. Germany toed the line with Ferdinand Freiligrath’s contribution to the Augsburger Allgemeine Zeitung, in 1869, and Italy, somewhat later, in 1879, with Enrico Nencioni’s piece in Fanfulla della domenica. These paved the way for book-length translations of all or part of Leaves of Grass, usually in its final, so-called “Deathbed” version. The publication history of these translations—continuing to this day—has been complexified by the publication of competing versions, along with the translation of once-neglected earlier editions of Leaves of Grass. On the other hand, this history reflects the upheavals in linguistic geopolitics, with translations into the major European languages gradually cohabiting with translations into the Asian and African languages they had once eclipsed in the countries their speakers had colonized.
This conference would like to celebrate the bicentennial of Whitman’s birth in truly plurilingual fashion and give maximum space to his poetry in languages other than English, while, for the sake of communication, speakers will be expected to give their papers in English. Among the many issues which could be addressed, separately or jointly, the following will be of particular interest:
- the practice of writing poems addressed to or dealing with Whitman in languages other than English, and their dialogue with their literary and cultural environments;
- the role played by translations in the reception of Whitman’s work in specific countries and cultures;
- the impact of Whitman’s poetry (in English or in translation) on the development of non-English speaking poetry;
- the possible interaction between Whitman translations in different languages;
- the practice of retranslation;
- the dissemination and teaching of Whitman in academic environments outside English-speaking countries;
- research on Whitman in non-English speaking countries.
Speakers willing to take part in this conference are invited to send a two-hundred word abstract by September 15, 2018, to Éric Athenot (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Graciela Villanueva (email@example.com)
 Rubén Darío, “Medallones”, III, in Azul , Madrid: Biblioteca Edaf 276, 2003, pp. 199-200.
 Jim Perlman, Ed Folsomn and Dan Campion (eds.) Walt Whitman: The Measure of His Song, Duluth: Holy Cow! Press, 1998, p. 23.
 The 1855 Preface to Leaves of Grass famously concludes with the idea that:” The proof of a poet is that his country absorbs him as affectionately as he has absorbed it.” (Walt Whitman, Preface to the 1855 edition, Leaves of Grass, Sculley Bradley & Harold W. Blodgett, eds. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1973, p. 731).
 A complete translation of Leaves of Grass into Arabic was published in Baghdad in 1976 (cf. https://iwp.uiowa.edu/whitmanweb/en/writings/song-of-myself/resources). For translations into Farsi, Malay, Kurdish, Khmer, and a few other languages, see the Walt Whitman Archive (https://iwp.uiowa.edu/whitmanweb/en/writings/song-of-myself/about).
(posted 16 March 2018)
Place and Placelessness in Postcolonial Short Fiction
Montpellier, France, 13-15 June 2019
Deadline for proposals: 1 September 2018
An International Conference organized by Etudes Montpellieraines du Monde Anglophone (EMMA), Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3 and LCE, Université Lumière Lyon 2
Venue: Site St Charles, Université Montpellier 3
The unprecedented development of the short story in the literatures that emerged in the former colonies of the British Empire has by now become a well-researched literary fact. Postcolonial critics have teased out the relationships between a genre long regarded as a minor one (at least before its Modernist canonization) and the marginal positions of writers who came to the short story as a creative terrain to experiment with spatial compression and the startling insights it affords, from Joyce’s “scrupulous meanness” to Gordimer’s “flash of fireflies.” In postcolonial literatures – using the plural is the least one can do to call attention to the multiple realities the field comprises – the short story seemed a genre well suited to the expression of minor voices. The perspectives of the disenfranchised (all the more so when they were women, children or marginal individuals) came to embody different forms of subjugation in spaces striated by the political and geographical lines inherited from the colonial past. In the context of the colonial appropriation of indigenous places, the short story has also been claimed as a privileged site where to question the erasure of toponyms, nomadic routes, sacred grounds and the sense of place that pre-colonial forms of spatiality sustained. An interest in the archaeology of place is thus recurrent in postcolonial short fiction, where it meets with an interest in the successive forms of displacement and replacement that put a strain on the articulation between space and place in postcolonial contexts.
What becomes of these aspects when set in relation to the transformations postcolonial studies are now undergoing as a field of investigation disrupted by dynamics that conjugate the global and the local, challenging national and regional borders as well as the identity formations they buttress? Bruce King, after a life-long engagement in the field, recently published From New National to World Literature: Essays and Reviews (2016) in a collection that places the “emphasis on contesting definitions of ‘diasporic’ or ‘postcolonial’ writing, ‘transnational’ or ‘transcultural’ literatures and ‘world’ literature as used by writers, critics and thinkers,” thus inviting a “reconsideration of the boundaries that divide and the intersections that link these related fields.” King’s volume nevertheless sticks to a geographical grouping in sections (African literature, West Indies, Internationalizing British Literature […] Muslims and Pakistan) that grow increasingly porous while drawing attention to the mobilities that transform place, make it “portable,” as it were, as is the case in the latter category where Islam features as a form of emplacement in its everyday rituals, even in extra-territorial contexts.
Against the encroaching development of “non-places” (as described, famously, by Marc Augé), the short story can be regarded as a site of resistance with its particular ability to inscribe places, but also a space in-between where language relates place through the specialization of a common, international language. English as a world language can then become reinvented as place-specific through subtle forms of localisation that enable recognition and territorialisation. But the desire to reclaim place may also actively involve placelessness rather than reject it. Placelessness is then not to be conceived as the negation of place, but as a disruptive force that challenges the fiction of stability and property (“qui piétine les semblants du propre” in the words of Michel de Certeau) – a “making it strange” of place that posits it as the product of constantly shifting relations and exposes the fiction according to which place could be disengaged from its inscription in a signifying process. Placelessness thus reinstates the possibility of a becoming of place, place as event, not least through the mapping of a place of enunciation.
Short fiction, with its “limited” scope, does not only steer clear of the totalizing temptation of narrative, but often builds itself around an event, something that “takes place” and yet cannot necessarily be traced, circumscribed or fixed. Compression and formal tightness also challenge realistic protocols and question the illusion of verisimilitude that fiction may yield. This opens cracks, fissures in the referential process, or interstices between well-bounded territories where meaning is allowed to circulate. Whether we connect this with differance and dissemination (Jacques Derrida, Homi Bhabha) or with indifference (Jacques Rancière), placelessness is at the heart of a process of reconfiguration or reinvention that is made all the easier by the plasticity of short fiction and a “lack” of definition that turns it into a privileged field of experimentation. As it asserts the need to revisit places, the postcolonial short story can be seen as claiming the inevitability of place (place as incontournable in the words of Edouard Glissant) whilst preventing it from becoming a territory – a fine example of what Glissant calls “an open island”.
We invite submissions in English for papers that will not exceed 30 minutes in length, allowing time for discussion. Your proposals (giving the title of the paper, a 300-400 word abstract and short bio-bibliographical profile) should be sent no later than 1st September 2018, preferably by email, to Claire Omhovère (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Pascale Tollance (email@example.com). The participants will receive notification of the acceptance of their papers by 30th October 2018.
The conference organisers: Claire Omhovère (Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3/EMMA), Pascale Tollance (Université Lumière Lyon 2/LCE)
(posted 16 March 2018)
Université de Lorraine, Nancy, France, 27-29 June 2019
Deadline for proposals: 30 November 2018
An international conference organised by IDEA, with the collaboration of : Institut des Textes et de Manuscrits Modernes, The Italian Virginia Woolf Society, Société d’Etudes Woolfiennes
Confirmed Keynote Speakers:
Prof. Brenda Silver (Dartmouth College, USA)
Jean-Pierre Criqui (Centre Pompidou, France)
Has Virginia Woolf become, just like Shakespeare, one of those literary icons that pervade popular culture, alongside Marilyn Monroe or Lady Di? Monographs such as Brenda Silver’s Virginia Woolf Icon or recent fictional productions such as Anne-James Chaton’s surprising novel Elle regarde passer les gens (adapted for the stage under the title Icônes) seem to suggest so.
Woolf’s transformation into an icon, object, and by-product leads us to acknowledge the shift in her status as a writer: she no longer embodies just a national writer, but transcends geographical borders and has become a figure from a little-known past that people imagine and reimagine without necessarily reading her works. In this process of iconisation, the authorial figure is recycled and begins new lives in new referential spaces, as it is appropriated by popular culture, marketed and commercialised. The contemporary biofictions that use the figure of Virginia Woolf and turn her into a character are a perfect example of this practice. Participants could start by discussing the notion of recycling an authorial figure, by defining and analysing its features, and establishing whether it is a culturally grounded notion, that is to say whether it varies according to the cultural environments in which it takes place. Participants could further point out the specificity of recycling the figure of Virginia Woolf, compared to other literary figures who have undergone the same process of iconisation, or, on the contrary, who have not been assimilated by popular culture.
The process of recycling an authorial figure not only alters his or her cultural status but inevitably impacts his or her oeuvre and the way we read it. On the one hand, it raises questions about how these transformations modify the reception of an author’s work. In what ways does such a revision of the status of the author imply a fresh rereading of his or her œuvre? On the other hand, it questions the manner in which an author’s oeuvre is appropriated. Does the notion of recycling apply to an author’s work just as it applies to authors themselves as cultural products? And if so, how is it different from rewriting, adaptation or transposition? Could we therefore apply the notion of recycling to Woolf’s oeuvre? And how does high culture react to the fact that Woolf is being recycled in today’s popular culture? Participants are invited to address the contemporary transformations of Woolf’s oeuvre within their specific epistemological contexts.
The notion of recycling is intrinsically linked to our contemporaneity, but also to Woolf’s practice in her own time of dealing with various discarded literary scraps. As a journalist and an essay writer, Woolf was interested in the “waste” of literature, in “minor” writers left out from the literary canon, or in “Bad Writers”, as the title of one of her essays attests. Could we thus envisage Woolf as a recycler?
Here are a few indicative potential approaches that could be considered:
- How can we theoretically define literary recycling? What gestures, logic, intertextual and hypertextual practices does the notion of recycling involve (as compared to rewriting, adaptation and transposition)? Does recycling cover forms of reusing and misusing that are typically contemporary? Is recycling only a cultural notion or could it also become a useful tool for critical theory? Is there a particularity to the recycling of Woolf’s oeuvre compared to that of other modernists or other iconic literary figures?
- How is Woolf’s oeuvre recycled on the stage and on the screen today? How is Woolf’s authorial figure resurrected, renewed, re-imagined, used or represented in biographies, biofictions and biopics? What are the cultural and literary stakes of recycling the figure of the author? How is the author’s oeuvre also transformed in the process of authorial recycling?
- Could recycling (of Woolf’s authorial figure and her oeuvre) result in creating cultural and media by-products? Does the process of transforming Woolf into a cultural icon involve perpetuating stereotypes or recycling her myth over and over in the contemporary imagination? From this perspective, is recycling a matter of popular culture or “cultural vulgarity”? In a globalised cultural context, is the Woolfian oeuvre and her authorial figure doomed to be recycled?
- What characterises and motivates Woolf’s gesture of recycling literary “waste” and authors rejected from the literary canon? How can this gesture allow critics to define, specify or displace the notion of literary recycling?
- Finally, the participants could approach the notion of recycling Woolf’s oeuvre from a genetic and editorial perspective and question the production and reproduction of her work. Do her preparatory notes and drafts also pertain to the logic of recycling? How does Woolf recycle her own avant-texte? Why, when, and how do publishing houses, with their specific editorial policies and marketing strategies, decide to recycle outdated editions and reissue new editions of Woolf’s work? Are these initiatives guided by commercial impulses or sound scholarly initiatives, and do they reflect the readers’ needs?
Participants are free to generate and answer their own set of questions related to the notion of recycling and Woolf’s work.
Please submit 300-word proposals for 20-minute presentations to Monica Latham, Caroline Marie and Anne-Laure Rigeade at firstname.lastname@example.org
Proposals for panels are also welcome.
Deadline: November 30th 2018.
(posted 4 May 2018)