CFP: Center, Periphery, Constellation: Relationality in French Studies (Deadline: January 15, 2014)

New York University, New York, NY 10003

Department of French

Annual Graduate Student Conference:

April 12, 2014


Le centre relégué au milieu d’autres centres, c’est à la formation d’une constellation que nous assistons, où la langue libérée de son pacte exclusif avec la nation, libre désormais de tout pouvoir autre que ceux de la poésie et de l’imaginaire, n’aura pour frontières que celles de l’esprit.

                                                                                    —“Pour une ‘littérature-monde’ en français”

The Department of French at New York University is pleased to invite papers that explore spatial, temporal, and aesthetic relationality in French studies. The literal and figurative uses of the terms “center” and “periphery” with regard to literature in French animate our interrogation. The littérature-monde manifesto calls polemically for transforming the geography and geometry that link language, literature, and peoples. This echoes previous challenges to dichotomies in French literature, from theories such as deconstruction and postmodernism, as well as from movements such as négritude and créolité. We welcome papers that use the methodologies of literary criticism, philosophy, history, anthropology, and sociology in their address to these issues .

Some questions we wish to examine in the conference are:

  •        How can we define the terms “center,” “periphery,” and “constellation”?
  •        What is the history of “center/periphery,” both le mot et la chose, with regard to literature?
  •        Are these terms relevant or useful today, as an object of study or as a category of analysis, for  understanding literature in French?
  •        How does the academy—its sites, its disciplines, its hierarchies—inform “center/periphery” relations in literature?

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  •        the bounds of French literature, francophone literature, world literature
  •        minor literature, paraliterature, genre literature
  •        consecration, canonization
  •        standardization of the French language
  •        exoticism, orientalism, imperialism
  •        colonialism, postcolonialism, neocolonialism
  •        New World/Old World
  •        urban/metropolitan/rural
  •        global North/global South
  •        marginality, liminality, alterity, the subaltern
  •        migrations, exile, diasporas

Papers may be given in either English or French and should be 8–10 pages in length, or a maximum of 20 minutes delivery time. Abstracts of proposed papers should be no more than 250 words long and should include the presenter’s name, affiliation, and email address. They should be sent to by January 15, 2014.