Annual Conference 2011

The Postcolonial City

Annual Conference of the Society for Francophone Postcolonial Studies

18-19 November 2011

Institut Français, London

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:

Jim House (Leeds), Sherry Simon (Concordia)

Call for Papers

One  of  the  classic  tropes  of  Francophone  fiction  of  the  mid-twentieth  century  was  the movement  of  the  main  protagonist  from  village  to  colonial  capital  and  onwards  to  the metropolitan  centre  of  Paris,  as  he  (they  were  almost  invariably  men)  worked  his  way through the colonial education system. These works posited the colonial as primarily ‘urban’ while  the  colonised  was  primarily  ‘rural’  but  the  past  half-century  has  witnessed  a  major transformation and the majority of the population in most former colonies now lives in towns and cities. The aim of this conference is to explore the Francophone postcolonial city from a wide  range  of  disciplinary  perspectives  (film,  literature,  urban  studies,  sociology, anthropology, geography, architecture, for example). What is the nature of the urban cultures that have emerged? Is national or ethnic ‘authenticity’ still located in the countryside? How has the arrival of postcolonial populations transformed the cultures of European cities such as Paris, Marseilles and Brussels?

We  welcome  proposals  for  papers/panels  on  specific  cities:  e.g.  Paris,  Montréal, Dakar,  Kinshasa,  Algiers,  Port-au-Prince,  etc. We  also  welcome more  general  theoretical reflections on Francophone postcolonial urban spaces. Potential topics for papers include:

• Writing/Filming the City

• The city as utopia/The city as dystopia

• Shantytowns/slums

• Nostalgia for the rural

• Travelling and dwelling in the city

• Arrivals and departures

• Means of transport

• Urban edgelands

• The multilingual city and its linguistic landscapes

• The city as post/colonial palimpsest

• The urban travelogue

• The city as commemorative space

• The city and the senses


Friday, 18 November 2011

9.30-10.30       Registration

10.30-10:45     Opening Remarks (Les Salons):

–          David Murphy, SFPS President

–          Philippe Lane, Attaché de coopération universitaire, Ambassade de France au Royaume-Uni


10:45-12:15    Panel 1 (Le Salon): Traces of empire in postcolonial Paris (Chair: David Murphy)

• Gillian Jein, ‘A Multiplicty of Trajectories’: Porostity and Violence in the Paris of Michael Haneke’

• Claire Peters, ‘Drancy: Fil Conducteur in the Postcolonial City’

• Ruth Bush, ‘La Joie de Lire and Présence Africaine: anti-colonial bookselling in the city and beyond’


12.15-2.00       Lunch/AGM (Le Salon)

2.00-3.30 Panel 2: Parallel Sessions

Panel 2a (Le Salon): Constructing Identity in the Postcolonial City (Chair: Pierre-Philippe Fraiture)

• Alessandra Benedicty, ‘In the Second Person: Redeeming Fragmentary Identity in Waberi and Trouillot’

• Nicki Hitchcott, ‘Sex and the Afropean City: Léonora Miano’s Blues pour Elise

• Florence Martin, ‘Reel to real: Tunis on film’

Panel 2b (La Petite Salle): The Multi-ethnic/Multilingual Postcolonial City (Chair: Kate Marsh)

• Timothy Shortell, ‘Polyglot Paris: a Spatial Semiotics of Postcolonial Immigrant Neighborhoods’

• Robert Blackwood, ‘Creoles in the linguistic landscapes of Fort-de-France and Pointe-à-Pitre: regional languages, contested spaces, and the city’

• Julia Waters, ‘“Post-Kaya” Port Louis in Contemporary Mauritian Literature’

3.30-3.45         Coffee

3.45-4.45         Panel 3: Parallel Sessions

Panel 3a (Le Salon): Memory and commemoration in the postcolonial city (Chair: Pat Corcoran)

• Nicki Frith, ‘Departmentalizing Memories of Slavery: Commemorating the loi Taubira in France’s Cities’

• Walter Putnam, ‘Colonial Animals in the Postcolonial City’

Panel 3b (La Petite Salle): Literary Constructions of the Postcolonial City (Chair: Ruth Bush)

• Audrey Small, ‘“Autant dire la porte en face”: Tierno Monénembo’s Pelourinho and the African city’

• Béatrice Damamme-Gilbert, ‘Visibilité et invisibilité dans le Paris de Fantômes dans la rue de J.M.G. Le Clézio’

5.00-5.45         Dorothy Blair Memorial Lecture (Le Salon): Jim House (Chair: Charles Forsdick)

‘Re-inventing the city? Challenging colonial rule in Casablanca, Algiers and Paris, 1952-1961’

6.00-6.45         Poetry Reading: Gabriel Okoundji (Introduced by: Charles Forsdick)

6:45-7:30        Vin d’Honneur (Le Salon)

8:00                 Dinner

Saturday, 19 November 2010

10.30-11.30     Panel 4: Parallel Sessions


Panel 4a (Le Salon): La Banlieue (Chair: Nicki Hitchcott)

• Christina Horvath, ‘Les périphéries intérieures vues de l’extérieur: romans de banlieue par des auteurs migrants’

• Bruno Levasseur, ‘Alternative Narratives of the Postcolonial City: ‘Auteurs en marge’ and the ‘Other’ Paris’

Panel 4b (La Petite Salle): War/Violence in the (Post)colonial City (Chair: Charles Forsdick)

• Colin Clark, ‘Revisiting the Pathetic Fallacy: The City in Pain in Dib, Djebar and Kateb’

• Claire Launchbury, ‘Beyrouth palimpseste’

11.30-11:45     Coffee/Tea

11:45-12:45    Panel 5: Parallel Sessions


Panel 5a (Le Salon): The Urban and the Rural (Chair: Audrey Small)

• Lucy Swanson, ‘A Zombie in the City: Urban Violence and the Undead in Gary Victor’s Le Revenant

• Laurence Randall, ‘Nostalgie pour la vie rurale?’

Panel 5b (La Petite Salle): Postcolonial Cityscapes (Chair: Catherine Gilbert)

• Bart Miller, ‘From El Dorado to the Centre Spatial Guyanais: Metamorphic Visions of Space in French Guyana’

• Michael Niblett, ‘The Ecology of Morbidity: Space and Nature in the Martinican Cityscape’

12.45-2.00       Lunch

2.00-3.30         Panel 6: Parallel Sessions


Panel 6a (Le Salon): The Postcolonial City on Film (Chair: Julia Waters)

• Jamal Bahmad, ‘From Casablanca to Casanegra: Neoliberal Globalisation, Everyday Life and Youth Revolt in Recent Moroccan Cinema’

• Maryse Bray & Hélène Gill, ‘Mahamat-Saleh Haroun and the Chadian City: a new kind of neo-realism in contemporary Francophone African cinema?’

• Srilata Ravi, ‘Port Louis in Mauritian cinema: commuting, vacating, wandering’

Panel 6b (La Petite Salle): Postcolonial Urban Culture (Chair: Georgina Collins)

• Max Battle, ‘Performance and identity in Senegalese urban culture, 1930-1950’

• Joe Philp, ‘Surviving in the city: reflections on urban youth and street culture in francophone West Africa’

3.30-3.45         Tea/Coffee

3.45-4.30         Keynote Speaker (Le Salon): Sherry Simon (Chair: Bill Marshall)

‘Montreal and the City as Translation Zone’

4.45 Close of Conference: David Murphy

For registration details, click here.