The Spectrum - University of Cambridge French Graduate Conference 2012
St. John’s College, Cambridge - 11th- 12th May 2012
Deadline for abstracts Wednesday 29th February 2012
Confirmed Keynote Speakers:
Dr Jane Hiddleston (University of Oxford)
Professor Michael Moriarty (University of Cambridge)
Professor Clive Scott (University of East Anglia)
'A spectrum is a condition that is not limited to a specific set of values but can vary infinitely within a continuum.'
From its origins in the supernatural, the term ‘spectrum’ has come to amass a range of meanings. By virtue of its Latin roots it has always possessed a visual component and it once stood for what we now mean by ‘image’. However, it is now most frequently used to refer to a unifying principle which bands together a pair of extremes.
The University of Cambridge French Graduate Conference 2012 seeks to establish the concept of the spectrum as an anti-dialectical and multi-faceted mode of engaging with political, personal and aesthetic concerns in relation to current thought in French Studies. Such a fluid, unfettered and amorphous model offers innovative means of considering artistic and generic hybrids, perception, questions of national and gendered identities, linguistic variations and political positionality.
Contemporary considerations of these issues have already embraced non-oppositional thinking and exceeded dyadic preoccupations in the fields of gender studies, postcolonial theory and phenomenology, amongst others. From the margins of bandes dessinées and illuminated manuscripts to the front pages of Le Monde and Le Figaro, whilst, of course, not overlooking more ‘mainstream’ media, such as literature, film, and theatre, the University of Cambridge French Graduate Conference 2012 will build on this work. It will do so by establishing a conversation which reminds us of the web of interrelated though unbound phenomena which exist in the interstices, on the periphery and at the very heart of art, politics, philosophy and peoples across all periods. This will be a discussion that escapes the va-et-vient of the binary and contemplates a formula sans queue ni tête which, in its rejection of the oppositional will not be ‘headless’, but instead encourage an engagement with the microscopic, the macroscopic, and all the detail in between, within a newly configured continuum.
In order to start your thinking we have composed the three spectral bands below. However, we hope that a multiplicity of spectra will emerge as you engage with ‘The Spectrum’.
The Visible Spectrum
‘J‘ignore si quelque analogiste a établi solidement une gamme complète des couleurs et des sentiments, mais je me rappelle un passage d’Hoffmann qui exprime parfaitement mon idée : “ […] C’est encore éveillé, lorsque j’entends de la musique, que je trouve une analogie et une réunion intime entre les couleurs, les sons et les parfums. Il me semble que toutes ces choses ont été engendrées par un même rayon de lumière, et qu’elles doivent se réunir dans un merveilleux concert ”’.
Charles Baudelaire, ’De la couleur’, Salon de 1846
‘C’est tout le paysage politique qui est en cours de recomposition.’
Gérard Courtois, Editorial Director, Le Monde
Citizenship: Diaspora, l’exception française, immigration, laïcité, Romani repatriation, secularism, veil ban.
La Métropole – Outre-mer : Cultural métissage, dialects, Francophonie, hybridity, Postcolonialism.
Election 2012: Capitalism, May ’68, political landscapes of the past, present and future, political scandals, socialism, suffrage.
La Révolution française: Circularity, reconstruction, recomposition, repetitions of revolution (1848, 1871), social hierarchy, the Third Estate.
Violence: Amnesia, state, terror, trauma, war.
The Personal Spectrum
‘Pas des corps produits par l’autoproduction de l’esprit et sa reproduction – qui du reste ne peut produire qu’un seul corps, une seule image visible de l’invisible […] Mais un corps donné multiplié, multisexué, multifiguré, multizoné, phalle et aphalle, céphale et acéphale, organise, inorganique.’
Jean-Luc Nancy, Corpus
Ageing: Autobiography, experience, family, generation, life-writing, maturity, memory.
Childhood: Children’s literature, innocence.
Consciousness: Dreams, objectivity, selfhood, subjectivity, the unconscious.
Identity: Androgyny, animality, ethnicity, femininity, humanity, masculinity, sexuality, technicity.
Madness: The absurd, emotions, genius, imagination, rationality, sanity, sensibilité.
Abstracts of up to 250 words (in English or French) for papers to be given in English or French should be submitted to email@example.com by Wednesday 29th February 2012.
A selection of papers presented during the conference will be edited into a published collection of essays.
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