Forthcoming Events

Orientalism and the Francophone Postcolonial World: Legacies of Edward W. Said

Society for Francophone Postcolonial Studies Annual Conference 2018

In association with Liverpool University Press

Friday 16–Saturday 17 November 2018

Institute of Modern Languages Research, University of London, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

Keynote speakers: Jean-Marc Moura (Université Paris Nanterre) and Patrick Williams (Nottingham Trent University)

2018 marks forty years since the publication of Edward Said’s Orientalism. In this seminal text, Said defines Orientalism as ‘the ineradicable distinction between Western superiority and Oriental inferiority’ (1978, 42), and charts how the Orient has been othered in a range of Western literature, political discourses, and linguistic systems. These damaging stereotypes and misrepresentations of the Orient are, he argues, inextricably linked to a European colonialist discourse which underpinned all knowledge production during colonial expansion.

Undeniably, Orientalism has played a founding role in shaping the discipline of Postcolonial Studies. It has been published in numerous editions and has been translated into over twenty-five languages worldwide. Yet the work has also drawn heavy criticism for its inconsistent methodology and for its violent appropriation of the location it seeks to recover. More broadly, Said’s position as an advocate for the creation of an independent Palestinian state has rendered him one of the most controversial intellectuals in recent times.

This conference aims to interrogate the legacy of Said’s Orientalism with a particular critical evaluation of its value in the Francophone postcolonial world. Is the œuvre still relevant today, or do we urgently require more nuanced interventions considering race, power, and empire to emerge in Francophone postcolonial scholarship? By revisiting Said’s key claims and arguments from the perspective of Francophone postcolonial studies, we hope to generate a more thorough understanding of the intersection between postcolonial theories, transnationalism and transcolonialism within the Francosphere.

For more information, including the conference programme, visit