French Cultural Studies
'France as a Laboratory of Culture': An International Workshop
7 September 2018
New York City
We realise that our previous Call for Papers was too narrowly framed both chronologically and
geographically for inclusion of ongoing good work on the theme of France and Cultural
Invention. Accordingly, we have revised the CFP.
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 Francaise
of Columbia University in New York. The organisers are inviting proposals for papers of about
twenty minutes in length, followed by discussion, which will be published in a 2019 number of
We wish to look at France as a grand place - even as a laboratory - of cultural experimentation
and exchange, especially with the United States. As in other laboratories, some trials succeed
wonderfully, others fail, and yet others are transformed in the transmission across
cultures. But participants in such inventions and exchanges learn as much from setbacks as
from great achievements. Even when we see lulls of inspiration, of exchange, or
misunderstandings at certain moments, we are surprised with creativity and interaction in so
many realms of thought, culture and society. Sometimes these experiments and their
exchanges seem to have failed or stalled, as with the contemporary issues in society and
aesthetic creation. But the laboratory never closes. And the exchanges of cultural ideas
exported from France or the US enrich us all.
Topics, from the Eighteenth Century to the Present, might include, but are not limited to:
- Forget the Enlightenment or complete it?
- Republicanism and/or pluralism: the state of integration - what France and America learned
or refused to learn
- Francophonie or Littérature Monde - where are we?
- Culture, Science and Technology; Mass Media and Digital Culture
- Contemporary, and future, developments in cinema, theatre, literature and music: eg, French
independent film-making in the 2020s?
- The future of corporeal (aka extreme) cinema
- New directions in animation opractices
- Updates on video-gaming in France
- Discussions of specific contemporary examples of important and innovative cultural
production in the arts.
Proposals, no longer than 300 words, should be sent by 20 November 2017 to the Editor,
Professor Nicholas Hewitt (email@example.com). N.B. Proposals which have
already been received are currently being read for inclusion in the programme and do not
need to be submitted again.
Professor Nick Hewitt
Nottingham University UK