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Call for Papers: First Annual Tulane French and Francophone Studies Graduate Conference Monuments and Memory

June 14, 2019 10:00 AM
Riley Moran

The Tulane University Department of French & Italian is proud to host the first annual Tulane French and Francophone Studies Graduate Conference Monuments and Memory on November 15-16, 2019 at Tulane University. The department invites graduate students to submit papers by September 6, 2019.

This conference aims to examine the question of monuments not only as physical and aesthetic objects, but as repositories and creations of historical memory. Recent events have shown that far from being sterile historical relics, monuments are sites of engagement with the issues of how urban space, and by extension society, should relate to the past. The treatment of monuments can provide a physical component to ideological conflicts. For example, the Notre Dame fire of April 15, 2019 caused an international outpouring of grief, while the quick response of billionaires to rebuild it provoked arguments about income inequality, national priorities, and the Eurocentrism inherent in ideas of cultural value. In 2015 in New Orleans, the Take ‘Em Down movement successfully lobbied to dismantle Confederate monuments around the city, but backlash to the movement (as well as the uncomfortable question of what to do with these removed statues) remains to the present day as an illustration of the fact that racial tensions in the city are far from resolved.

While the theme of this conference was inspired by current events, we also hope to engage with the broader theoretical and literary issues involving monument creation and preservation. Whose memory is represented in certain monuments, and how? How do monuments appear within literature? What alternatives to traditional man-made objects can be considered monumental?

The Department of French and Italian Studies invites submissions that address, expand on, and interpret any of the issues and questions raised here. Papers from a variety of disciplines, including but not limited to: Literature, Linguistics, Cultural Studies, Anthropology, History, Sociology, Philosophy, Architecture, to name a few are encouraged.

Possible topics include:

  • Ruins and the simultaneity of celebration/loss
  • Recentering/reframing heritage
  • Text as “monument” / monument as text
  • Reclamation of space by peripheral, disempowered, subaltern groups
  • Environmental preoccupations
  • Living/ephemeral monuments

Abstracts and presentations may be in either English or French. Presentations should not exceed 20 minutes in length. Please send a 250-word abstract, as well as your university affiliation and contact information by September 6, 2019, to TulaneFrenchStudiesConference@gmail.com. Applicants should expect to be notified by September 11, 2019.