Transnational French Studies Postcolonialism and Littérature-monde Hargreaves, Alec G. December 2013
Society for Francophone Postcolonial Studies in association with Liverpool University Press
Annual Conference: Francophone Postcolonial Studies and Book Culture
Friday 22 & Saturday 23 November 2013
Institute of Modern Languages Research, University of London, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU
Amid rapid changes in technologies of print and in reading practices there has been an increased critical concern with material histories of the book and the kinds of meaning that book culture both sustains and generates. The theoretical implications of these reflections as they have played out in postcolonial studies are wide-ranging: from a focus on the economics and sociology of a now-local, now-global literary marketplace, to the recalibration of relationships between author, reader, text and context.
Historical and archival work has highlighted the politics of colonial/postcolonial cultural production and the institutional constraints within which colonial/postcolonial subjects are often located (Huggan; King; Brouillette; Watts). In francophone contexts such institutional questions are frequently articulated in terms of the centripetal power of Paris in a “république mondiale des lettres” (Casanova) and the ambivalent status of the French language in a global literary system. Colonial/postcolonial books in French have been subject to distinct processes of evaluation and mediation – through publishers, translators, booksellers, censors, and literary prize culture, for example – that point to relatively unchartered areas of research.
This conference will explore the continuing relevance of book and print culture to francophone postcolonial studies as a field of research in the twenty-first century. To this end we also welcome papers that look beyond traditional literary forms and technologies and consider challenges that have been made to the dominance of print culture by other media, including film, visual cultures, bande dessinée, dance and music.