CFPs French Cultural Studies ‘France as a laboratory of Culture’ An international Workshop 7 September 2018

herman Lebovics's picture
November 1, 2017
New York, United States
Subject Fields: 
Cultural History / Studies, Film and Film History, French History / Studies, Humanities, Literature

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French Cultural Studies

‘France as a laboratory of Culture’

An international Workshop

7 September 2018

New York City

Mindful of the international readership of French Cultural Studies, the editorial board is

planning a one-day workshop to be held on Friday 7 September 2018 at the Maison

Française of Columbia University in New York. The organizers are inviting proposals for

hopefully provocative papers of about twenty minutes in length, followed by discussion,

which will be published in a special number of the journal in 2019.

Rather than the navel-contemplating discourses of the crises of culture, of identity, and of the

nation, we—with our sympathetic outsiders’ eyes—might look at France as a grand place of

cultural experimentation. As in other laboratories, some trials succeed wonderfully, and

others fail. But the French, and we, learn as much from lack of success as from great

achievements. France changes, most often in jumps and spurts. Even when we see lulls of

inspiration, at certain moments the nation surprises us with its experimental creativity in so

many realms of thought, culture, and society. Sometimes these experiments seem to have

failed or stalled as with the contemporary issues of gender, ethnicity, integration of the new

French, religious tolerance, and aesthetic creation. But the laboratory never closes. And the

exchanges of ideas for cultural experiments exported from France as well as those imported

into France enrich us all.

Topics, from the post-WW II years to the present, might include:

- Universal intellectuals or specialized intellectuals?

- Francophonie and/or Littérature Monde—where are we?

- What may come next in philosophy and theory after the great structuralist moment?

- Republicanism and/or pluralism, the state of integration, what is working? France, its

new place in a Europe after Brexit. The meaning of the changes in the culture of


- The place and standing of the many vernacular cultures of today’s nation?

- The needs of education in the global setting

- Ecology in France: successes, failures?

- Culture, Science and Technology; Mass-Media and Digital culture

- Contemporary, and future, developments in cinema, theatre, literature and music, eg:

What is at stake for French cinema in the decade of the 2020s?

- Discussions of specific contemporary examples of important and innovative cultural

production in the arts.

Proposals, no longer than 300 words, should be sent by 1 November 2017 to the Editor,

Professor Nicholas Hewitt (