Women in French

Log in

10th International WIF Conference

  • 14 May 2020
  • 8:00 AM
  • 16 May 2020
  • Iowa State University


  • Special price for members

Iowa State University will be the host of the 10th International Women in French Conference, focusing on margins and marginalities.

Visit the conference official website.

Confirmed Plenary Presentations:
- Anne Donadey (San Diego State University) 
- Claire Legendre (Université de Montréal)


The twentieth century, especially the second half, has witnessed a marked increase in the number of women authors on the French and francophone literary scene. Because of the significant increase in the publication of debut novels by young authors and books by established writers, it would be tempting to conclude that women authors have finally achieved widespread cultural and public recognition. Nevertheless, in 2014, a high-school student, Ariane Baillon, launched a petition on Change.org to challenge the fact that just one female philosopher, Hannah Arendt, was part of the Baccalauréat exam. Two years later, high-school teacher Françoise Cahen submitted a similar request to the Ministère de l’Éducation nationale, de l’Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche to include more women authors in the Bac L exam. Although Madame de La Fayette, Madame de Staël and Colette were added to the program in 2018, “of the 51 texts included from 2003 to 2017, only three . . . were by women authors” (Brigaudeau). The same is true for literary awards: “Since the creation of the Goncourt . . . in 1903, French women authors have received only 159 of the 740 awards” (Orain and Dagorn). Finally, Christine Planté and Audrey Lasserre remind us that, despite their major contributions to French literature, women writers still do not occupy a prominent place in textbooks on literary history. Likewise, what can be said of authors from sexual or ethnoracial under-represented communities? These authors suffer the consequences of a double, or even triple invisibilization. Despite their large numbers and regardless of the historical time period, women authors are still marginalized in the literary world and in the transmission of cultural heritage. However, as posited by African-American feminist and philosopher bell hooks, being on the margins may constitute a powerful tool for creating awareness and protest. Indeed, women authors have written some of the most rebellious, original and political literature of French expression in all historical eras.

The 2020 WIF Conference will examine voices and pathways from the margins, as well as diverse forms of marginality from all eras. Possible topics include; but are not limited to:

  • Identities (individual, national, regional, gender, etc.)
  • Intersectionality (gender, class, race, religion, etc.)
  • Discrimination, including under-represented forms such as ageism or ableism
  • Colonialism and Postcolonialism
  • Approaches to teaching the issue of marginality at the university level
  • Destitution
  • Illness (including mania, obsession, addiction)
  • Alternatives (perspectives, societies, feminisms, etc.)
  • Theories of the margins (queer, trans*, etc.)
  • Different abilities
  • Literary and cinematographic genres
  • Place of under-represented women and perspectives in literature or film
  • “Minority” literature and film
  • Empowerment
  • Rebellions
  • Paraliterature
  • Relationship between the center(s) and the margin(s)

Women in French is a scholarly association whose goal is to promote the study of French and Francophone women authors, the study of women’s place in French and Francophone cultures or literatures, and feminist literary criticism. Our goal is also to share information and to debate the position of women in higher education in the United States and Canada.

Comité scientifique/Selection Committee:

Arline Cravens (Saint Louis University), Susan Ireland (Grinnell University), E. Nicole Meyer (Augusta University), Patrice J. Proulx (University of Nebraska Omaha), Michèle A. Schaal (Iowa State University)


Baillon, Ariane. « Benoît Hamon: Donnez une place aux femmes dans les programmes scolaires. » Change.org août 2014. Web. 30 août 2018 <https://www.change.org/p/beno%C3%AEt-hamon-donnez-une-place-aux-femmes-dans-les-programmes-scolaires>.

Brigaudeau, Christel. « Colette, Madame de Staël… un bac français 2018 très féminin. » Le Parisien.fr  18 juin 2018. Web. 30 août 2018 <http://www.leparisien.fr/societe/colette-madame-de-stael-un-bac-francais-2018-tres-feminin-18-06-2018-7780074.php>.

Cahen, Françoise. « Pour donner leur place aux femmes dans les programmes de littérature au bac L. » Change.org mai 2016. Web. 30 août 2018 <https://www.change.org/p/najatvb-donnez-leur-place-aux-femmes-dans-les-programmes-de-litt%C3%A9rature-au-bac-l>.

hooks, bell. Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center. 1984. New York : South End Press, 2000.

Lasserre, Audrey. « Les Femmes du XXe siècle ont-elles une histoire littéraire ? » Cahier du CERACC.4 (2010) : 1-18.

Orain, Grégoire, et Gary Dagorn. « Combien de femmes parmi les prix littéraires français ? » Le Monde.fr  24 nov. 2017. Web. 30 août 2018 <https://www.lemonde.fr/les-decodeurs/article/2015/11/03/les-prix-litteraires-francais-sont-ils-sexistes_4802462_4355770.html>.

Planté, Christine. « La Place des femmes dans l’histoire littéraire : Annexe ou point de départ d’une relecture ? » Revue d’histoire littéraire de la France 103.3 (2003): 655-68.

Search / Chercher

Questions? / Des Questions?

Follow WIF / Suivre WIF

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software