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Minutes of AGM 2019

16th January 2020

Society for Francophone Postcolonial Studies

Minutes of the Annual General Meeting which took place on 15 November 2019 at the St Giles Hotel, London


  1. Apologies
  2. Minutes of the last meeting
  3. Matters Arising
  4. President’s Report
  5. Treasurer’s Report
  6. Membership Secretary’s Report
  7. Conference Secretaries’ Report
  8. Publicity Team’s Report
  9. Francophone Postcolonial Studies Bulletin Editor’s Report and Book Review Editor’s Report
  10. Postgraduate Representatives’ Report
  11. Elections to Executive Committee
  12. Any other business


  1. Apologies

Charles Forsdick, Claire Griffiths, Mohammed Bouaddis, Jamal Bahmad, Orane Onyekpe-Touzet, Jemima Paine, Foara Adhikari, Rebecca Glasberg

  1. Minutes of the last meeting

The minutes of the last meeting were approved.

  1. Matters Arising

There were no matters arising.

  1. President’s Report – Charlotte Baker

Charlotte Baker welcomed everyone and thanked them for attending the Annual General Meeting this year. She explained that she had stepped in as President from Professor Kate Marsh earlier this year as it became clear that she was seriously ill. She paid tribute to Kate Marsh as a highly respected colleague and outstanding scholar, who made an enormous contribution to SFPS, as well as to the School of Modern Languages & Cultures at Liverpool University. In tribute to Kate, the early career keynote address has been named The Kate Marsh Memorial Lecture, so that Kate will continue to be remembered by the Society over the coming years.

Charlotte thanked all the members of the Executive Committee for their work throughout the year and invited the AGM to consider getting involved in the work of the Society if they were not already. The work of the Executive Committee is invaluable in ensuring that the Society functions as a meaningful academic association, which facilitates the sharing of ideas and provides an invaluable network for everyone involved.

She thanked the SFPS Conference Secretaries, Antonia Wimbush and Jonathan Lewis, for organizing the conference in a particularly challenging year, following the Society’s decision to change the venue from Senate House due to the UCU boycott.

Charlotte reported that the Francophone Postcolonial Studies series published by Liverpool UP is going from strength to strength and continues to attract high quality proposals. An edited volume Jewish-Muslim cultures in North Africa and France is forthcoming in summer 2020 from Rebekah Vince and Sami Everett, a volume has been commissioned from Yasser Elhariry entitled Sounds, Senses for 2021 and an expression of interest has been received for 2022. She thanked Liverpool University Press for their continued support and collaboration.


  1. Treasurer’s Report

Available to members on request

  1. Membership Secretary’s Report

Kate Hodgson reported on membership figures for 2019, which include 79 individual members and 18 institutional members. She reported that membership figures are slightly up compared to the last few years, with strong postgraduate membership due to the active work done with postgraduate members, for which she thanked the Postgraduate Reps. Kate remarked that successful conferences also play a very important role here, and the impact of linking conference attendance to membership is starting to make itself felt. The growth in postgraduate members from 12 in 2017 to 30 this year is a positive development. We should continue to advertise membership in January as in previous years, and again at the time of the publication of the annual volume in May/June.

  1. Conference Secretaries’ Report

In spite of the challenges brought on by the need to change the conference venue at late notice, Antonia Wimbush and Jonathan Lewis reported that they have enjoyed working together as Conference Secretaries this year.

Due to the UCU boycott on Senate House, the conference’s regular venue for the past few years, arrangements had to be made to find a new venue. The University of Westminster was able to confirm at a relatively early stage that it could host the conference on Saturday 16 November, but could not commit to Friday 15 November before timetables had been published for the start of the new academic year. Eventually, Westminster confirmed that it could not host the conference on the Friday, and so a different venue for the opening day of the conference had to be found. With the support of the Executive Committee, the St Giles Hotel – a 15-minute walk away from the University of Westminster – was booked to host the conference on the Friday.

Over 70 abstracts were received on a range of topics and themes related to the conference theme, ‘Postcolonial Realms of Memory in the Francophone World’, with further late submissions. As a result, the programme offers a rich and exciting variety of presentations from both postgraduate researchers and established academics from institutions across the world and with papers that look to engage with Francophone spaces across the globe, demonstrating the full range of Francophone Postcolonial Studies.

Jonathan reported that, as in previous years, a lunchtime session for Early Career Researchers led by Kate Hodgson was scheduled for the Saturday and that there was also a film screening, on ‘Memories of Indochina’, scheduled for the Saturday afternoon, followed by a Q+A session with one of the conference delegates.

The conference has again benefited from the generous sponsorship of Liverpool University Press. There was a LUP bookstand at the conference, as well as LUP flyers to go in the conference packs.  Other publishers including materials for display and distribution included Oxford University Press, Intellect Books and Bloomsbury. The Conference Secretaries thanked the Executive Committee for their support in organizing the conference.

  1. Publicity Team’s Report

The SFPS mailing brings together calls for papers, job opportunities, announcements and new titles on a wide range of subjects relating to francophone postcolonial studies. It is currently distributed quarterly, rather than monthly as before. Orane Onyekpe-Touzet currently puts together and distributes the mailing.

Nicki Hitchcott asked whether it was possible for the mailing to return to a monthly mailing to ensure that the content is always up to date. Charlotte Baker agreed to explore whether this was possible.

Action: Julia Waters and Charlotte Baker to discuss more regular distribution with Orane Onyekpe-Touzet.

The SFPS website receives a good number of visitors, with a surge in people visiting it just after the mailing has gone out and following the biannual publication of BFPS. It was suggested last year that we create a photo archive on the website. The AGM discussed the possibility of developing the archive and it was agreed that contact should be made with founder members who may have images that could be used.

Action: Publicity team to contact former members to request images for archive

The SFPS social media accounts are active and far-reaching. The Twitter account has over 2,476 followers (103 more than last year). Twitter analytics are now being used to monitor impact. The SFPS Facebook page has 640 followers and reaches a different audience.

  1. Francophone Postcolonial Studies Bulletin Editor’s Report and Book Review Editor’s Report

Sarah Arens reported that two issues of the Bulletin have been published since the last annual conference in 2018. The spring issue (10.1, publication 1 April 2019) featured an interview by Ella Williams (then Oxford) with the Moroccan playwright Youssouf Elalamy and an article by Ellen Davis-Walker (Edinburgh), entitled ‘Tangible Landscapes of Memory: Re-Spatialising the 17th of October Massacre in Raspouteam’s 17.10.61 and Kader Attia’s La Colonie’ and a slightly shorter book review section than usual. The second regular issue (10.2) was published on 1 October 2019 and included an Editor’s note dedicated to Kate Marsh, an article by Jacqueline Frost (Cornell/Paris 8), entitled ‘Experiments in Political Inheritance: Jean Genet’s Legacy in Post-Algerian France’, as well as a book reviews’ section that went back to its former strength with six reviews.

A special issue in memory of Kate Marsh is being published for this year’s annual conference, which includes two personal reflections on Kate, written by her former PhD student Nicola Frith (Edinburgh) and her former collaborator, Corinne François Denève (Bourgogne), as well as a reprint of Kate’s article ‘Pondichéry: Archive of “French” India’, which was originally published in Francosphères in 2014 and a limited number of book reviews. Sarah Arens expressed her grateful thanks to the editors of Francosphères for the re-publication.

Jemima Payne (Liverpool) has taken over the role of Book Reviews Editor, which was briefly vacant after the departure of Khalid Lyamlahy. The autumn issue 10.2 was the first one where she was solely responsible for the Book Reviews section and it demonstrates the stellar job she has been doing.

Sarah invited views from the AGM on how to tackle the issue of scholars agreeing to do book reviews and then not delivering. Because we are no longer restricted in terms of page count due to publishing the Bulletin as an online-only journal, this does not cause an immediate threat to the publication itself, but it makes it very difficult to plan issues in advance and causes a backlog of reviews. The AGM agreed that this was an ongoing challenge and one shared by other journals.


  1. Postgraduate Representatives’ Report

A postgraduate workshop was organized this year, led by Jemima Paine at Liverpool University in collaboration with our Postgraduate Reps, on the subject ‘Unbound: Francophone Literature beyond the Book’. Unfortunately the event had to be cancelled, as the organizers did not receive sufficient interest to justify running the event.

This was an excellent initiative, but it was agreed that preparation should start earlier this year to avoid short delays and a topic should be selected that would include postgraduates more widely.

A very successful Postgraduate study day ran in 2018 in the US and Rebecca Glasberg has volunteered to organize a further US SFPS Postgraduate Study Day in 2020 if this would be of interest. The AGM fully supported this proposal and suggested that expressions of interest in organizing postgraduate events beyond the UK and US should be invited.

Action: Executive Committee to support the organization of the UK and US events in 2020 and to call for expression of interest for 2021.

  1. Elections to Executive Committee

Professor Julia Waters was elected President and Charlotte Baker returns to her role as Vice President. Claire Griffiths continues as Treasurer and Kate Hodgson continues as Membership Secretary. Chabha Ben Ali Amer and Abdelbaqi Ghorab take on the roles of Conference Secretaries, Sarah Arens continues as Editor of the Bulletin and Jemima Paine as Book Reviews editor. Postgraduate Reps Orane Onyekpe-Touzet, Mohammed Bouaddis and Rebecca Glasberg continue. Fraser McQueen will take on the role of Publicity Officer and a second vacancy will be advertised to members.

  1. Any other business

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