CFP: Peripheries and Confluences (Études Francophones, journal in Francophone Studies)

Nathan Rabalais's picture
Call for Papers
April 3, 2023
Louisiana, United States
Subject Fields: 
French History / Studies, Languages, Literature, Humanities

Call for Contributions/Articles

We invite articles in the fields of literature and the arts on the following theme:

Peripheries and Confluences

“They decide on the Here which is their Center and the Elsewhere which is your shared periphery. Ah! you are ‘those over there.’ All of us, in short. We persist in maintaining that our sharing is in reality and that the Center is in the dream.”
Édouard Glissant - Traité du tout-monde (Gallimard, 1997)

“The characters that we are for ourselves come down through words, from the first solemn, stilted scribblings, scratched all night long on bark, to the shouts at the crossroads, to the rhythm of the wind and through imperturbable dead men. We never notice how we leap over time.”
Édouard Glissant, translated by Betsy Wing - Mahagony: A Novel (Nebraska, 2021)

The two above quotes demonstrate what has come to be known as archipelagic thought; a way of thinking that challenges what is at the center and what is at the periphery while inviting an exploration of the crossroads and linkages that bring distinct spaces of memory, language, and culture together. The tension between center and margins, water and land, being adrift and being fully anchored to geographies, identities, languages, and cultures offers a unique interpretive lens.

This special issue aims to investigate the multiple peripheries and erasures in the Francophone world. The peripheral subject remains within the colonial power structure and the act of voicing what has existed on the margins of Francophone studies marks an effort to reclaim the history, identities, and cultures that emerge from the postcolonial frame.

As Bill Ashcroft recognizes, the term periphery has been the cause of many disagreements within historical and postcolonial studies, despite it being foundational to the study of defining the postcolony and the peoples and cultures that were and are in direct relationship with a colonial period. When defining postcolonial space and the periphery, Andrew Teverson and Sarah Upstone underscore the centrality of space and place within the postcolonial frame - that the peripheral stands in the shadow of Empire, harkening back to the ideas posited by Edward Said in his seminal work Culture and Imperialism (Knopf, 1993). Given the breadth in scope of this call for papers, we welcome the blending of theories and disciplines, as it is inspired in part by the multivocality of its two principal terms – periphery and confluence.

The term periphery is an etymologically complex term, referring to the circumference of a closed object such as a sphere. Alternatively, peripheries were originally understood as the revolution or the movement around such objects, where the sense of boundedness is geometrically defined by the limits of an object. From the Latin term confluere that means to flow together, the confluences we seek in this call for papers are wide-reaching, encouraging new examinations and interpretations of texts and objects in Francophone studies. In turn, these works will challenge traditional notions of identity and create new, dynamic, and hybridized forms of cultural expression. Édouard Glissant is best known for his concept of antillanité, which emphasizes the unique identity and culture of the Caribbean. In this call for papers, we wish to open a Glissantian approach to multiple geographies based on his development of the “poetics of relation,” which establishes the interconnectedness of all things and the need for a more inclusive approach to communicating.

Using the two terms in the plural - peripheries and confluences - resituates our understanding about centrality, hegemony, and hierarchy to the multiple factors that exist outside of what is considered the center. Instead, the heart of this call for papers brings the periphery front and center, in homage to Glissant’s archipelagic thinking. It is from this interpretation of interconnectedness that we are inviting you to submit on one of the following themes, or other related themes as you may see fit:

Possible Themes:

(Post)colonialism and imperialism
Periphery as a site of cultural resistance and innovation
Confluences between Francophone and non-Francophone communities
Language and identity in Francophone majority and minority communities
The French language and the Postcolony
The effects of globalization on Francophone cultures and societies
The challenges and opportunities of studying and preserving the Francophonie
The intersection of gender, race, and/or class in the formation of Francophone identities
The impact of technology and digital media on the Francophone world
The role of migration and diaspora in the evolution of Francophone cultures

Please send a 250-word paper proposal that addresses some of the themes raised in this CfP. Abstracts should be submitted to Claire-Marie Brisson ( and Nathan Rabalais ( by April 3, 2023. Once accepted, participants must submit a 6000 to 8000-word essay in French or English by September 29, 2023. We encourage the use of audio, visual, and sound elements. Each contribution must follow the journal's editorial protocol and will be double-blind peer-reviewed.


Ashcroft, Bill, et al. Postcolonial Studies: the Key Concepts. Routledge, 2013.
Ashcroft, Bill, et al. The Empire Writes Back: Theory and Practice in Post-Colonial Literatures. Routledge, 2002.
Bhabha, Homi K. Nation and Narration. Routledge, 1990.
Césaire, Aimé, and Robin D. G. Kelley. Discourse on Colonialism. Monthly Review Press, 2000.
Glissant, Édouard, and Betsy Wing. Poetics of Relation. University of Michigan Press, 1997.
Ngũgĩ wa Thiongʼo. Decolonising the Mind: the Politics of Language in African Literature. J. Currey ; Heinemann, 1986.
Said, Edward. Culture and Imperialism. Knopf, 1993.
Soja, Edward. Thirdspace: Journeys to Los Angeles and Other Real-and-Imagined Places. Wiley-Blackwell, 1996.
Teverson, A., and S. Upstone. Postcolonial Spaces:The Politics of Place in Contemporary Culture. Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.

Contact Info: 

Claire-Marie Brisson (Harvard University)