1. Mapping Invisibility in Francophone Narratives of “Difference”
This panel aims to foster critical discussions on the theme of invisibility within francophone narratives, shedding light on the often-overlooked voices of marginalized individuals. Unseen and unheard, the experiences of those who face discrimination based on factors such as gender, age, race, disability, immigrant or refugee status, and socioeconomic class—often find themselves relegated to the margins of societal discourse. This panel seeks contributions that explore how francophone narratives probe the experience of invisibility among these diverse subjects. Submissions are encouraged to investigate the intersections of various identity markers and how they contribute to the invisibility of individuals within francophone contexts. Additionally, we welcome analyses of resistance narratives, unveiling how writers, filmmakers, and/or activists actively confront invisibility within their storytelling. Contributors are also invited to discuss the broader social and political implications of invisibility, considering how these narratives engage with or challenge prevailing power structures. Please send 200-word proposals in English or French to Adrienne Angelo (email@example.com) by May 15, 2024.
2. Mentoring, Mobility, and Movement (Roundtable)
As part of this year’s SAMLA inquiry into the “Seen/Unseen,” this roundtable invites papers that allow us to think about how mentoring enables greater visibility for those in a mentoring partnership. It is designed to allow us to learn more about concrete strategies, case-studies, and experiences with mentoring that foster movement into new interpersonal and professional spaces. Some of the questions this roundtable welcomes include but are not limited to: What are best practices of mentoring? How can mentoring foster more equitable access to structures of power? How can mentoring help restructure structures of power? Please send 250-word abstracts in either English or French to Lisa Connell (firstname.lastname@example.org) by May 15, 2024.
3. Ni inexistentes, ni invisibles: Aesthetics of Visibility and Empowerment
As part of this year’s SAMLA inquiry into the “Seen/Unseen,” this panel invites presentations that examine the aesthetics of visibility used by women artists, writers, and filmmakers from the French-speaking world. Some of the questions this panel welcomes include but are not limited to: What kind of silencing and erasure do they challenge? How do they navigate strategic (in)visibility? How do their tactics of (in)visibility stage or subvert structures of power? How do they question or endorse the correlation between visibility and agency? Please send 250-word abstracts in either English or French to Lisa Connell (email@example.com) and Delphine Gras (firstname.lastname@example.org) by May 15, 2024.
4. Contours of Identity: Navigating Crisis in North American Francophone Women’s Experiences
At crucial junctures in the human journey, individuals grapple with profound questions about their identity, confronting uncertainties in self-perception and the intricate process of integration into societal frameworks. These pivotal moments are characterized by societal expectations or a bewildering array of potentialities, giving rise to feelings of being overlooked or a disconcerting unfamiliarity with one's reflection. This pervasive experience, recognized as alienation, becomes an enduring identity crisis when prolonged. The paramount importance of cultivating a coherent sense of self is evident in the narratives we construct, often mirroring the archetypal journeys of characters navigating the landscape of self-discovery. Whether by achieving success, overcoming tragedy, or finding love, these outcomes symbolize a fortified sense of identity. Identity, conceived as a collective issue, is inseparable from storytelling—a requisite act of self-identification woven into the collective narrative of social interactions. This session delves into the intricate terrain of identity crises, specifically exploring notions of displacement, constriction, and freedom. Our objective is to shed light on the nuanced nature of identity crises within North American Francophone communities, focusing on women’s experiences and the diverse coping mechanisms they employ. Please send an abstract of 200 words (in English, preferred) to Annabelle M. Hicks, University of Connecticut, at email@example.com by May 15, 2024.
5. Framing Narratives: Pedagogical Approaches to Unveiling North American Francophone Women’s Stories (Roundtable)
This roundtable seeks to engage in a collaborative exploration of pedagogical approaches for teaching North American Francophone women’s narratives. As we consider the SAMLA 96 Conference theme, “Seen/Unseen,” we aim to illuminate the experiences of Francophone women that often remain obscured or overlooked. Participants in this roundtable will share and discuss innovative teaching strategies, resources, and approaches that bring visibility to the rich and diverse lived experiences of North American Francophone women. By focusing on pedagogies that unveil these narratives, we hope to contribute to a broader understanding of the significance of women’s identities within Francophone communities in North America. Please send an abstract of 200 words (in English, preferred) to Annabelle M. Hicks, University of Connecticut, at firstname.lastname@example.org by May 15, 2024.
6. Geopolitical Complexities in Sub-Saharan African Women Writing
This call for papers presupposes that nothing is more challenging than elucidating the geopolitical intricacies of the sub-Saharan region of Africa, the second largest continent in the world. It is more difficult to identify the causes of the regional conflicts that are devastating sub-Saharan Africa due to its unique geographical and historical circumstances. Mbembe believes that colonial occupation consists of seizing a geographical area, delimiting it, and exercising control over it. Complexities in sub-Saharan African countries today can be traced back to the colonial period when strong European powers invaded the continent. According to Caitlin Finlayson (2019, p. 123), 800 million people live in 48 independent countries that make up Sub-Saharan Africa today. Although colonialism altered African politics and economy, many Africans’ way of life has not changed all that much. We see this rural portrayal of sub-Saharan Africa in works of female writers like Monique Ilboudo in her Si loin de ma vie (2018) and Carrefour des veuves (2020), Justin Minsta in her Histoire d’Awu (2000), Aida Mady Diallo in her Kouty, Memoire de sang (2002), to mention but a few. The independence of African countries contributed to the geopolitical complexities of the sub-Saharan regions as rival ethnic groups found themselves in the same area thereby creating constant civil conflicts as one group fought for dominance. To seize control over territory and politics, certain factions resorted to genocide, (Finlayson, 2019: p. 123). A typical example is the Hutus and Tutsis conflict in Rwanda. In this panel, we will examine works with an emphasis on certain research axes, including but not limited to: colonialism and neocolonialism, regional conflicts, biopolitics and necropolitics, terrorism and geographical terrorization. Please send 200-word proposals in English or French to Carole Mafotsing Kougang (email@example.com) and Diweng Mercy Dafong (firstname.lastname@example.org) by May 15, 2024.
7. Increasing Enrollment: Teaching Diversity through French and Francophone Women Authors (Roundtable)
As French and foreign language departments face increasing problems with enrollment while simultaneously being called upon to take greater action in addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion, educators and administrators are being forced to find solutions. Teaching French and Francophone women writers, authors, and filmmakers can be a powerful tool in reaching diverse student populations while bringing in students who might normally not consider taking French. In a world dominated by men, French and Francophone women creators have had to find strategic, innovative, and compelling ways to make themselves visible and heard. This panel explores how the teaching of French and Francophone women authors can increase student interest. Questions for consideration may include: What are the visible and invisible obstacles women creators face? How can women authors draw power and inspiration from those experiences to arrive at artistic creation? Additionally, how can universities better recognize the behind-the-scenes labor of faculty teaching courses promoting minority voices while creating better work conditions for contingent faculty? Finally, how might both the teaching of French and Francophone women creators and valuing the work of contingent faculty contribute back to our attempts to create a world more diverse, inclusive, and secure? Please send a 250-word abstract in English or French by May 31, 2024 to organizer Cathy Leung, email@example.com along with presenter’s academic affiliation, contact information, and A/V requirements.
8. “Other” Francophonies: French and Francophone Women Creators Reshaping the Field
French and francophone literature is a vast and continually evolving landscape. The face of French and francophone literature has been transformed by an increasingly globalized world, as well as through awareness of the effects of colonialism and post-colonialism. Continuing this evolution in the present, there is the increasingly visible presence of migrant/ immigrant authors and the voices of what one could consider “other francophonies.” This panel will examine how French and francophone women authors, filmmakers, and artists belonging to ethnic minorities and populations previously less prominent in the field, are contributing to this evolution. Possible questions for consideration may include: how is the work of ethnic minority women creators in French and francophone literature visibly or invisibly changing the literary landscape? How are such women creators pushing back against presumptions about their identities or their work? How can scholars and critics better capture the diversity of this growing literary landscape of francophone literature incorporating, among others, francophone African, Caribbean, Oceanic, Québecois, and East-Asian authors writing in French? What role does gender play in the subjects chosen by these women creators, and in the narrative and aesthetic strategies they employ in their works? How can teaching these “other francophonies” be a powerful pedagogical tool for promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion? Please send a 250-word abstract in English or French by May 31, 2024 to organizer Cathy Leung, firstname.lastname@example.org along with presenter’s academic affiliation, contact information, and A/V requirements.
9. Seen/Unseen Desires in Contemporary French and Francophone Women’s Narratives
The complexities of desire manifest themselves through visible tensions, such as conflicts in relationships or ambitions, as well as in invisible tensions like those in internal struggles, unconscious influences, and intangible societal pressures. This session seeks to explore the Seen/Unseen desires that shape contemporary French and Francophone narratives. Possible topics may include but are not limited to:
- Un/seen psychological underpinnings of desire, including cognitive and affective aspects.
- Un/seen role of desire in shaping individual and collective identities, and how it relates to aspects such as gender, sexuality, race, and class.
- Un/seen ethical considerations of desire that address questions of consent and societal norms.
- Desire and its entanglements with changing technology and social media
- Subversion of tropes associated with desire and the presentation of alternative narratives.
Please submit proposals of 250 words or less, in English or French, along with the presenter's name, university affiliation, a brief bio (150 words), and any A/V requests to Noran Mohamed (email@example.com) by May 15th, 2024.
10. Precarious Academic Labor as and in Conjunction with Inequality (Roundtable)
No sabbaticals, limited funding for research or conferences, nonetheless necessary for long-term relevance and efficacy, marking-heavy teaching assignments with few resources, a job paying working class-wages while requiring middle-class signaling, contract instructors, sessional lecturers, adjuncts, those performing precarious academic labor haunt the corridors of academic institutions and the margins of research communities, trying to balance under-supported participation in the latter with a grueling workload, ill-positioned to advance, given the nature of one’s course load and the limits of one’s research. How can we theorize the intersection between this precarious, marginalized, status and situation and other axes of inequality such as gender or gender identity, race, sexual orientation and able-bodiedness? What are the resulting contours of life trajectory and lived experience? What are the contributions, over and above adversity as a “unit of convenience,” of unsalaried academics, and what are the losses, to them, and to scholarship and the transmission of knowledge? How can discourses of liberation and practices of agitation be used for institutional leverage, and for solace, solidarity and survival? Please send proposals of 150-200 words in either French or English to Catherine Phillips at firstname.lastname@example.org by May 15th, 2024.
11. Intergenerational Trauma and Transmission in French/Francophone Women’s Writing
As part of this year’s SAMLA conference, Seen/Unseen, this panel will explore the portrayal of intergenerational trauma in French and Francophone women’s writing from any literary historical period. As Roger Luckhurst has written, “Trauma […] issues a challenge to the capacities of narrative knowledge. In its shock impact trauma is anti-narrative, but it also generates the manic production of retrospective narratives that seek to explicate the trauma.” These narratives seek to expose and work through the residual effects on the individual (the writer or a fictional character) who inherits suffering, not through what they have seen firsthand, but from what family members have passed on through the prisms of behavior, speech, action, fear, and other manifestations. This could be trauma from the collective and historical experiences of war, natural disasters, immigration or migration, revolution, exile or from unique and personal experiences, for example, of physical or sexual abuse. Paper proposals in French or English (abstracts 200-250 words) should be sent to Anne Quinney (email@example.com) by May 15, 2024.