The Society for Francophone Postcolonial Studies Postgraduate workshop 2011
“Technology in text and context: between progress and conflict”
6th June 2011
Keynote speakers: Dr Jane Hiddleston (Oxford), Dr Roxanna Nydia Curto (Illinois State), Dr Louise Hardwick (Birmingham)
The third annual SFPS postgraduate workshop will consider technology in its widest applications within the field of Francophone Postcolonial Studies. Defined as the “théorie générale et études spécifiques (outils, machines, procédés...) des techniques” (Petit Robert) and “a discourse or treatise on an art or arts” (OED), technology is strongly connected to processes of writing, reading, and criticism.
In the twentieth and twenty-first centuries technology has come to denote material and mechanical innovation across diverse fields, including communication, transport, medicine, astronomy, and industry, and the complex knowledge and understanding that accompanies such invention. In material terms, such technology is both enabling and disabling, acting as a catalyst for modernization and “progress” while generating global and local inequalities, conflicts, and anxieties. Discussion of the epistemological and ontological impact of transnational communication networks on writing, reading, and critical theory and practice continues to break new ground. To date, these concerns have been confined primarily to the largely Anglophone field of postcolonial studies, despite important contributions by French-speaking writers to ongoing debates on mondialisation/mondialité/globalisation/planetarity. Meanwhile, individual and institutional use of technologies furthers research and pedagogy at all levels, but also presents practical challenges that seek creative and demanding solutions.
Technology may also provide an entry point to renewed engagement with “the literary” in postcolonial study. Such approaches seek to recalibrate, rather than disband, ideological and political imperatives in cultural criticism. Questions regarding art and craftmanship raised by the term’s cognates: technique and technê, stimulate this direction of thought : How do new technologies affect writing, reading and critical practices ? What are possible implications of such developments in terms of language, genre and form? How do postcolonial works (de)construct forms of technology within the literary or filmic text?
We welcome papers that address the conference theme through the work of writers/theorists/cultural producers from across the full historical and geographical range of Francophone Postcolonial Studies. With this in mind, the following list of possible topics is not exhaustive:
- The impact of digital technology on writing, reading and publishing practices
- Blogs, websites, and the global literary marketplace
- The representation of forms of technology in literature and film (e.g. transport, space, industrial, medical, agricultural, bio, information, digital technologies)
- Technology and globalization/mondialisation/mondialité/planetarity
- The ambivalence of “progress” and “development,” especially in light of ecocritical work
- Technology and community
- Technology, technê, technique and “the literary”
- Language and technology
- Postcolonialism and machines
- “Colonial” texts in “postcolonial” contexts
- Technophilia and technophobia in literature and in
- Technology and anxiety
250 word abstracts for 20-minute papers, to be given in English or French, addressing themes and keywords should be sent by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org by no later than 1st March, 2011.
There will be no registration fee. The day will include an interactive session on “Developing IT Resources in Francophone Postcolonial Studies for Teaching and Research” (run by Dr Louise Hardwick) which will be useful for postgraduates and young researchers at any stage of their academic careers.
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