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Call for Papers: RMMLA 2020

5 Dec 2019 1:24 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Call for Papers for Women in French Sessions

2020 Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association Conference

Boulder, Colorado, October 7-10, 2020

Please send a 250-300 word abstract in French or English, including presenter’s academic affiliation and contact information, to one of the panel chairs listed below by March 31, 2020.

We are also planning an evening reception for members and those interested in Women in French. All those interested in Women in French are encouraged to attend.

Please contact Dr. Sullivan directly (courtney.sullivan@washburn.edu) if you have any questions.


1. The Literature of Shock/La Littérature de choc

In our contemporary environment saturated with attention-grabbing headlines, we are accustomed—or perhaps not—to encountering stories of shock and horror that vie for our attention. But what about literature that shocks, that demands that we respond not with admiration or attachment, but rather with confusion, fear, disgust, or outrage? How do we read texts that disturb our expectations, break with familiar paradigms, or violate an erstwhile integrity? And what if these texts don’t lead us back to our familiar frameworks of continuity, order, justice, freedom, etc.? What are our intellectual and visceral responses to shock, and why might those responses be important and not simply gratuitous?

A l’heure actuelle, dans notre culture saturée d’histoires, nous avons l’habitude (peut-être) de lire des titres qui essaient de capter notre attention en faisant appel à des réactions de choc, de colère ou d’horreur. Mais comment réagir à la littérature de choc, une littérature qui exige qu’on réponde avec confusion, peur, dégout, ou indignation au lieu d’admiration ou d’attachement? Comment lire ces textes qui troublent nos attentes, qui déjouent nos paradigmes chéris, qui violent un sens de l’intégrité? Et que penser si ces textes ne nous ramènent pas aux systèmes familiers qui aboutissent à la continuité, l’ordre, la justice, la liberté, etc.? Quelles sont nos réponses intellectuelles et viscérales au choc? Comment et pourquoi ces réponses pourraient-elles être tout de même importantes et non pas gratuites?

This call for paper proposals is not limited to works by contemporary writers. Discussion of French and Francophone women writers of any era or any genre are encouraged. 

Chair: Eilene Hoft-March, Lawrence University (Eilene.Hoft-March@lawrence.edu)


2. La femme invisible / The Invisible Woman

“Vieillir, c’est finir par ne plus être vue” notes Grégoire Delacourt’s heroine in La Femme qui ne vieillissait pas (2018). In her however comprehensive 1949 Deuxième sexe, Simone de Beauvoir eluded this issue of invisibility, only stating that from the day they consent to ageing, women become “un être différent, asexué mais achevé : une femme âgée.” Our society still puts emphasis on women’s looks (smooth faces, slim and firm bodies) that fuels a billion-dollars beauty industry, all the while claiming that wrinkles are battle scars to be proud of and extolling women’s right to sexual pleasure at all ages – the ageing woman’s invisibility is indeed often tied to sexuality. Interestingly, menopause remains a taboo topic; according to Australian philosopher Germaine Greer in her 2018 The ChangeWomenAgingand Menopause, “it combines ageism and sexism.” Despite much progress since Beauvoir’s time when 40 was old, the fact remains that the woman over 50 is often doomed to invisibility. This panel will explore this invisibility in contemporary French fiction and/or film. How does the writer/director represent her character’s acceptance of, or reluctance or fight against ageing-related invisibility?

Chair: Michèle Bacholle, Eastern Connecticut State University (bachollem@easternct.edu)


3. Climate Crisis in the Francosphere

As we begin the third decade of the 21st century, the climate crisis continues to inspire diverse reactions throughout the global community: scientists, politicians, and activists all over the world are responding with heightened urgency (and some with a perplexing denial of facts). Similarly, as more and more writers begin to address the climate crisis, the Environmental Humanities continues to gain traction, and “Digital Environmental Humanities” has appeared as a discipline. This panel seeks to explore varieties of women’s environmental engagement in the “francosphere.” Not limited to literature, the panel wishes to address all forms of women’s activism or engagement in the contemporary period of climate crisis. In what ways do women’s movements, literary works, digital or artistic engagements address climate change, environmental destruction, natural disasters, nuclear colonialism, or resource exploitation? How are women in France, the Indian Ocean, Oceania, the Caribbean, Africa, Canada, or other French-speaking areas responding to the contemporary climate crisis? How do class categories play a role in women’s environmental engagements and environmental justice debates? Paper proposals focusing on any of these regions, questions, or modes of engagement are welcome. 

Chair: Julia Frengs, University of Nebraska (jfrengs2@unl.edu)


4. Identity Matters: Self-determination, Affirmation, and Naming (Oneself) in Contemporary France

On a 2019 special episode of the Binge Audio podcast Couilles sur la table, French author and philosopher Didier Eribon creates formative coincidence between comprehension of his queer and working-class identity and a string of influential sociohistorical markers including the 19th century industrial revolution, working class movements, and the campy inverts of late nineteenth-century Europe. He states: “ma date de naissance, c’est la naissance des grands mouvements ouvriers […] ma date de naissance, c’est le front populaire […] ma date de naissance, c’est aussi le procès d’Oscar Wilde.”  Conversely, and several months earlier on the same podcast, trans-feminist philosopher and author Paul Preciado calls for a disassociation from the postmodern, neoliberal “délire de la nomination” desiring instead an embodied philosophical practice that would reduce the particularisms of identitary movements to the abstract notion of “corps vivants”: living bodies deserving of rights, respect, and dignity as such. 

We might understand Didier’s comments as informed by the oft criticized communitarian currents of Anglo-American political movements that have, for better or worse, seeped into French socio-cultural terroir, but that are often seen as necessary, for those that adhere to them, to spotlight the blind spots of French universalism ; for Preciado, we might see the influence of France’s vision of universalism often touted as the ideological response to the noxious particularism of communitarian ideals in France. 

This panel seeks contributions that will engage with questions of naming identity in contemporary France.  Are identity politics important/no longer important in the Hexagon? How do identity politics/resistance to identity politics play out in French and francophone cultural productions (literature, film, podcasts, web content, etc.)? What are the cultural, political, and linguistic stakes of self-determination in French and francophone culture? Have we moved/should we be moving toward a post-identity notion of the social/of politics in France and in francophone culture? And where does universalism/communitarianism fit into this movement?

Chair: CJ Gomolka, DePauw University (cjgomolka@depauw.edu)


5. Space, Place and Time in French and Francophone Women’s Narratives

Power, identity and relationships often relate to place and, arguably, space. For example, questions of family and / or immigration seemingly involve not only these but the notion of time. This session proposes to investigate space, place, and time, and how these concepts play out in women’s narrative (texts or films). In what ways do women’s narratives create new understandings of space, place and time? In what ways might these spaces and places be gendered? And, in what way are they an experience of identity? Does women’s experience create a new space, place, or concept of time, and if so, in what ways? 

Chair: E. Nicole Meyer, Augusta University (nimeyer@augusta.edu) 

6. La femme et le genre policier / Women and the genre of the detective story

In the detective story genre, women are more often than not the victims of a crime that a man is then in charge of solving. What happens when the woman plays a different part in this genre? How are women represented in detective novels / films / series when they are not the victims of the crime, but the detective or the criminal? Paper proposals looking at representations of women-other-than-victims in detective stories, from any era or region, are welcome.

Dans le genre policier, la femme est plus souvent qu’à son tour la victime du crime qu’il revient alors à un homme de résoudre. Que se passe-t-il lorsque la femme joue un autre rôle dans ce genre? Quelles représentations trouve-t-on de la femme dans le roman / film / feuilleton policier lorsqu’elle n’y est pas la victime du crime, mais la policière ou la criminelle? Les propositions de communication portant sur les représentations de la femme-autre-que-victime dans les histoires policières de n’importe quelle période ou région, seront considérées.

Chair: Véronique Maisier, Southern Illinois University (profmaisier@gmail.com)

7. La Francophonie a-t-elle un passé ?

De nos jours, les études francophones se concentrent essentiellement sur des auteures contemporaines, au Québec, dans les anciennes colonies du Maghreb ou d’Afrique sub-saharienne, ou les pays européens dont le français est l’une des langues principales. Certains pourraient se demander s’il existait des auteures francophones avant la seconde moitié du XXe siècle. Y-a-t-il eu dans le passé des auteures de langue française vivant ou écrivant hors de France ? Certains se souviennent sans doute de quelques Européennes francophones, telles que la Néerlandaise Isabelle de Charrière (1740-1805) ou la Vaudoise Isabelle de Montolieu (1751-1832), aujourd’hui incorporées dans le corpus littéraire français, dont les écrits n’ont pas échappé à la critique féministe. Moins connu est le fait que la tsarine Catherine II de Russie (1729-1796) écrivait en français des pièces destinées à être représentées pour un public privé dans son théâtre de l’Ermitage ; elles ont été recensées par Cecilia Beach en 1994, mais jamais étudiées. Que nous apprendraient-elles sur le mélange des cultures en dehors de la France ? Ne faudrait-il pas y consacrer l’attention de la critique francophone ? Y-a-il parmi les générations et les siècles qui nous précèdent des romancières, poètes, dramaturges ou journalistes dans d’autres pays et d’autres régions du monde dont l’œuvre en français mériterait d’être ressuscitée et étudiée ?

Cette session propose de pousser la recherche francophone au-delà du temps et de l’espace sur lesquels elle se concentre à présent, d’aller à la découverte d’auteures de langue française, inconnues ou peu connues, de quelque genre que ce soit, ayant contribué au rayonnement de la langue et la culture françaises de par le monde. Comment ces auteures sont-elles devenues francophones ? Quelle place la langue et la culture françaises occupaient-elles dans leur pays ou leur région ? Quelle influence leur œuvre ou leur francophonie a-t-elle eue sur leurs compatriotes ? En somme, l’objectif de cette session est d’ouvrir de nouvelles frontières et d’explorer de nouvelles voies de recherche.

Chair : Samia Spencer, Auburn University (spencsi@auburn.edu)


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