'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 Francaise of Columbia University in New York. The organisers 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, cultural 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 exchange of ideas for cultural experiments exported from France as well as those imported into France enrich us all.
Topics, from the post-WWII years to the present, might include: