« Faire le point : Quand la littérature fait savoir » : Mutations, Institutions, Interactions
26-28 February 2015, Louisiana State University
The annual US conference of colleagues focusing on contemporary French and Francophone Studies offered a valuable opportunity to ‘gauge the temperature’ of the subject area. The conference attracted nearly 300 delegates and ranged across a rich and varied set of themes, debates and questions. These included panels on changing aesthetic forms and practices in our multimedia age; postcolonial studies and la francophone globale; images and the imaginary; war, testimony and trauma and the exchanges and interactions between literature and the social sciences. What marked out the conference for me as a French and Francophone Studies researcher was the delegate engagement with developing the future of the discipline. From across North America and Europe, colleagues at all career stages were open to emerging cultural materials (bande dessinée); new perspectives and methodologies (eco-poetics) and an expansive geo-cultural mapping of French and francophone identities (from Belgian to the French Caribbean and North Africa). This wide reach led to debate and conversation that challenged how we viewed both traditional and new objects of study. It allowed for genuinely international encounters around literature, culture and knowledge and demonstrated the scope and value of French and Francophone Studies as a site of exchange for so many disciplines and pressing social and cultural debates of our day.