France-Louisiana conference in Bordeaux, France (June 7-10, 2023) - Call for papers (deadline: December 31, 2021)

Aurélie Godet Discussion

Call for Papers

France and Louisiana: “A Special Relationship?”

Bordeaux Montaigne University, France

June 7-10, 2023


On June 7-10 2023, Bordeaux Montaigne University will host an international conference that will explore various aspects of the 300+-year-long relationship between France and Louisiana.

From 1682 – when the “land of Louis” became a place name in French colonial North America – to the joint celebrations of New Orleans’s tricentennial in 2018, the relationship between France and Louisiana has been tumultuous, to say the least. Ceded to Spain in 1762, returned to France in 1800, purchased by the United States in 1803 and subsequently divided into several states, including the current state of Louisiana (1812), Louisiana nonetheless retained close ties with France and the French-speaking world throughout the nineteenth century. In 1809, for instance, some 10,000 black and white refugees from Saint-Domingue (Haiti) disembarked in New Orleans, including 3,000 free people of color. This last group more than doubled the size the existing New Orleans free black community and over the years merged and intermarried with native free people of color of francophone ancestry. Tens of thousands of French-born émigrés (including radically progressive journalists exiled by Napoléon III who helped stir thoughts of a more equitable society within Creole circles) also integrated and reinforced the existing New Orleans white francophone community. In 1921, the Louisiana state legislature prohibited the use of French as a language of instruction in local public schools, in accordance with the national policy of “Americanization.” The creation of the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana (CODOFIL) in 1968, however, fostered efforts to promote francophone cultures in Louisiana that led to a reported “French Renaissance.” In recent years, the Louisiana Purchase bicentennial celebrations and the tricentennial celebrations of New Orleans’s founding have revived scholarly and popular interest for Louisiana’s French colonial past and Creole French.

Building on the most recent scholarship (see bibliography below), participants from a variety of disciplines–including anthropology, archeology, geography, history, linguistics, literature, musicology, and sociology–will be expected to provide new perspectives on:

  • French colonial Louisiana, including its earliest cartographic renderings, native-French interactions, the development of an Afro-Creole culture, the connections between French Louisiana and other parts of the French empire, the Mississippi Valley during the French and Indian War, the 1768 revolt, etc.
  • The continued French influence during the Spanish colonial period (1769-1800)
  • The Louisiana Purchase and its legacy
  • The diplomatic, economic, political, and cultural connections between Louisiana and France since 1803, including the “dual world” of immigrants from southwestern France, the Parisian careers of Afro-Creole musicians like Sidney Bechet, visits of French officials to New Orleans from the marquis de Lafayette to De Gaulle, the signing of the French-Louisiana Accords in 2016 (re-signed in 2021) and of the sister-city partnership between Orléans and New Orleans in 2018
  • The productive frictions between the French language and other languages since the colonial period, and their role in the creation of a unique linguistic identity
  • French-speaking communities of Louisiana in the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries, including their demographic characteristics, settlement/migration patterns, linguistic specificities, cultural practices, politics, and the ways that these communities have reshaped, reimagined their cultural spaces via numerous forms of social media
  • The ways the once close connections between French and Louisiana literature (early Louisiana writers tended to imitate French literary movements) were transformed by the influx of American English literary styles into the former colony, the profoundly mediating influence of the Atlantic Creole world, the oral traditions of francophone Louisiana, and the French-language realities experienced by Native Americans, creating an independent voice within the realm of Francophone literature
  • The influence of French culture and language on the artistic development of English-speaking Louisiana authors
  • The construction of a Louisiana French identity in the 19th, 20th, and 21st century through print culture (from travelers’ accounts to newspapers to modern tourism narratives), visual representations (film, television, paintings, photographs, etc.), digital culture (blogs and social media sites in standard French, Cajun French or Kouri-vini), and commemorations (including the 2003 celebrations of the bicentennial of the Louisiana Purchase, the 2018 celebrations of New Orleans’s tricentennial, and the selection of three “Poètes lauréats de la Louisiane française” since 2014)
  • Francophone Louisiana today, including the economics and politics of Louisiana’s latest French “renaissance,” the negotiating of difference in French Louisiana music, publishing and self-publishing initiatives, the vitality of French immersion programs, etc.

Rather than reverting to earlier celebrations of “the French,” who figured prominently in the academic literature on Louisiana prior to the 1970s, this conference will aim at probing the singularity of the France-Louisiana relationship by offering comparative, connected perspectives on its past and present. Through keynote lectures, panels, roundtables, and concomitant exhibitions, the conference also intends to foster transatlantic academic dialogue on the theoretical frameworks, ethnographic methods, and curatorial/documentary praxis related to the study of French Louisiana and Louisiana francophones cultures.

Proposals – including a 500-word abstract and a 150-word bio – should be sent to the following email address: by December 31, 2021. Authors will be notified of the program committee’s decision concerning their submission by February 1, 2022. Further information about the program, registration, travel, and accommodation will be announced after that date. The organizers are thinking of inviting conference delegates to prepare a chapter for an edited volume on the Franco-Louisianan relationship.

Keynote speakers:

Angel Adams Parham, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Virginia

Nathan Rabalais, Joseph P. Montiel Endowed Assistant Professor of Francophone Studies, University of Louisiana at Lafayette


Nathalie Dessens, Professor of US History at Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès

Stéphanie Durrans, Professor of US literature at Université Bordeaux Montaigne

Aurélie Godet, Associate Professor of US History at Université de Nantes

Emma Harlet, PhD student, University of Louisiana at Lafayette and Université Bordeaux Montaigne

Sabine Tinchant-Benrahho, Associate Professor of Linguistics at Université Bordeaux Montaigne

Program committee:

Nathalie Dessens (Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès)

Stéphanie Durrans (Université Bordeaux Montaigne)

Aurélie Godet (Université de Nantes)

Dana Kress (Centenary College)

Gilles-Antoine Langlois (École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture Paris-Val de Seine)

Jean-Pierre Le Glaunec (Université de Sherbrooke)

Lawrence Powell (Tulane University)

Randy Sparks (Tulane University)

Selected references:

AMEUR, Farid. Les Français dans la guerre de Sécession, 1861-1865 (Rennes : Presses universitaires de Rennes, 2016).

ATRAN-FESCO, Laura. Les Cadiens au présent: revendications d’une francophonie en Amérique du Nord. (Montréal: Presses de l’Université Laval, 2017). 

BAKER, Vaughan B. “Mad, Bad, and Dangerous: Conceptions and Misconceptions of Louisiana’s History and Heritage.” Louisiana History, Vol. 42, No. 3 (Summer 2001): 261-275.

BANKS, Kenneth. Chasing Empire Across the Sea. Communications and the State in the French Atlantic, 1713-1763 (Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 2002).

BERNARD, Shane K. The Cajuns: Americanization of a People (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2003).

BOND, Bradley (Ed.). French Colonial Louisiana and the Atlantic World (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2005).

BRASSEAUX, Carl A. Acadian to Cajun: Transformation of a People, 1803-1877 (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1992).

-------------------------------------------------- French, Cajun, Creole, Houma: A Primer on Francophone Louisiana (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2005).

BRADY, Patricia. “Carnival of Liberty: Lafayette in Louisiana.” Louisiana History, Vol. 41, No. 1 (Winter 2000): 23-40.

BRAUN, Juliane. Creole Drama, Theatre and Society in Antebellum New Orleans (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2019).

BROSMAN, Catharine Savage. Louisiana Creole Literature: A Historical Study (Jackson: University of Mississippi Press, 2013).

CAMOIN, Cécilia. Louisiane. La théâtralité comme force de vie (Paris : Presses de l’Université Paris-Sorbonne, 2013).

CAULFEILD, Ruby Van Allen. The French Literature of Louisiana (Gretna: Pelican/Institut des études françaises, 1929).

CHRISTIE, Nancy, Michael Gavreau, Matthew Gerber. Voices in the Legal Archives in the French Colonial World: ‘The King Is Listening’ (New York: Routledge, 2021).

CLARK, Emily. Masterless Mistresses: The New Orleans Ursulines and the Development of a New World Society, 1727-1834 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007).

COOK, Philip C. “Le Grand Charles, Delasoups, and Uncle Earl: De Gaulle’s Visit to New Orleans.” Louisiana History, Vol. 49, No. 1 (Winter 2008): 5-20.

COSSÉ BELL, Carolyn. “French Religious Culture in Afro-Creole New Orleans, 1718-1877.” U.S. Catholic Historian, Vol. 17, No.2 (Spring 1999): 1-16.

DAJKO, Nathalie. French on Shifting Ground: Cultural and Coastal Erosion in South Louisiana. (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2020).

DAWDY, Shannon Lee. Building the Devil’s Empire. French Colonial New Orleans (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2008).

DEGRAVE, Jérôme. “The Economics and Politics of Louisiana’s Latest French Renaissance.” Transatlantica 1 (2013). URL : 

DESSENS, Nathalie and Jean-Pierre Le Glaunec (Eds.). Interculturalité : la Louisiane au carrefour des cultures (Montréal : Presses de l’Université Laval, 2016).

DESSENS, Nathalie. From Saint-Domingue to New Orleans: Migration and Influences (Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 2007).

DUBÉ, Alexandre. “Les biens publics : Culture politique de la Louisiane française, 1730-1770.” Ph.D dissertation, McGill University, 2009.

ENGLEBERT, Robert and Andrew N. Wegmann (Eds.). French Connections: Cultural Mobility in North America and the Atlantic World, 1600-1875 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2020).

FABER, Eberhard L. Building the Land of Dreams: New Orleans and the Transformation of Early America (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2015).

FERTEL, Rien. Imagining the Creole City: The Rise of Literary Culture in Nineteenth-Century New Orleans (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2014).

GIRAUD, Marcel. Histoire de la Louisiane française, Vol. 5 (Paris : L’Harmattan, 2012).

GITLIN, Jay. The Bourgeois Frontier. French Towns, French Traders, and American Expansion (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010).

GREENWALD, Erin (Ed). A Company Man: The Remarkable French-Atlantic Voyage of a Clerk for the Company of the Indies; A Memoir by Marc-Antoine Caillot, trans. Teri F. Chalmers (New Orleans: HNOC, 2013).

HALL, Gwendolyn Midlo. Africans in Colonial Louisiana: The Development of a Afro-Creole Culture in the Eighteenth Century (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1992).

HENRY, Jacques. “Études louisianaises : l’insularité puis l’ouverture.” Bulletin d’histoire politique Vol. 2, No. 24 (2016): 104-119.

HERO, Alfred Olivier Jr. Louisiana and Québec: Bilateral Relations and Comparative Sociopolitical Evolution, 1673-1993 (New York: University Press of America, 1995).

KASTOR, Peter and François Weil (Eds.). Empires of the Imagination: Transatlantic Histories of the Louisiana Purchase (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2009).

KELLMAN, Jordan, Jean-Marc Masseaut, and Michael Martin (Eds.). Creolization in the French Americas (Lafayette: University of Louisiana Press, 2015).

KELLY, Kenneth G. and Meredith D. Hardy (Eds.). French Colonial Archeology in the Southeast and Caribbean (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2011).

KOLB, Frances. “The New Orleans Revolt of 1768: Uniting against Real and Perceived Threats of Empire.” Louisiana History 59 (Winter 2018): 5-39.

LAMOTTE, Mélanie. “A Guide to Early Modern French Louisiana Sources.” Collections: A Journal for Museum and Archives Professionals, Vol. 11, No. 3 (2015): 185-211.

LANGLOIS, Gilles-Antoine. Des villes pour la Louisiane française : Théorie et pratique de l’urbanistique au 18e siècle (Paris : L’Harmattan, 2003).

LE MENESTREL, Sara. Negotiating Difference in French Louisiana Music. Categories, Stereotypes, and Identifications (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2015).

LOWE, John (Ed.). Louisiana Culture from the Colonial Era to Katrina (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2008).

MARSHALL, Bill. “New Orleans, Nodal Point of the French Atlantic.” International Journal of Francophone Studies 10: 1-2 (March 2007): 35-50.

------------------------------------- (Ed.) France and the Americas. Culture, Politics, and History. A Multidisciplinary Encyclopedia (Santa Barbara: ABC CLIO, 2005).

MATHE Allain et al. Anthologie de la littérature louisianaise d’expression française de 1682 à nos jours (Lafayette: University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press, 2017).

MILNE, George Edward. Natchez Country. Indians, Colonists, and the Landscapes of Race in French Louisiana (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2015).

MONGEY, Vanessa. “‘Des Français indignes de ce nom.’ Être et rester Français en Louisiane, 1803-1830.” In Français ? La nation en débat entre colonies et métropole, XVIe-XIXe siècle, ed. Cécile Vidal (Paris : Éditions de l’EHESS, 2014): 77-101.

OSTENDORF, Ann. Sounds American: National Identity and the Music Cultures of the Lower Mississippi River Valley, 1800-1860 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2011).

PEKNIK, Patricia. French Louisiana Music and Its Patrons: The Popularization and Transformation of a Regional Sound (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019).

PRITCHARD, James. In Search of Empire: The French in the Americas, 1670-1730 (New York, Cambridge University Press, 2004).

RABALAIS, Nathan. Folklore Figures of French and Creole Louisiana (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2021).

SECK, Ibrahima. Bouki fait Gombo: A History of the Slave Community of Habitation Haydel (Whitney Plantation) Louisiana, 1750-1860 (New Orleans: University of New Orleans Press, 2014).

USNER, Daniel H., Jr. American Indians in Early New Orleans: From Calumet to Raquette (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2018).

----------------------------------------, Jr. Indians, Settlers, & Slaves in a Frontier Exchange Economy: The Lower Mississippi Valley before 1783 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1992).

VELLA, Christina. Intimate Enemies: The Two Worlds of the Baroness de Pontalba (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1997).

VIDAL, Cécile. Caribbean New Orleans: Empire, Race, and the Making of a Slave Society (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2019).

VIDAL, Cécile (Ed.). Louisiana: Crossroads of the Atlantic World (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014).

WATTS, Edward. In This Remote Country: French Colonial Culture in the Anglo-American Imagination, 1780-1860 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006).

WHITE, Sophie. Wild Frenchmen and Frenchified Indians: Material Culture and Race in Colonial Louisiana (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013).

WHITE, Sophie. Voices of the Enslaved. Love, Labor, and Longing in French Louisiana (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2019).

WOLF, George, Michèle Bocquillon, Debbie De La Houssaye, Phyllis Krzyzek, Clifton Meynard, and Lisbeth Philip. “Pronouncing French Names in New Orleans.” Language in Society, Vol. 25, No. 3 (Sep. 1996): 407-426.