Minutes of AGM 2017

Society for Francophone Postcolonial Studies

17 November 2017, Annual General Meeting

 Institute of Modern Languages Research, Senate House




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


  1. Apologies

Pierre-Philippe Fraiture, Roger and Pat Little, Charlotte Baker, Jamal Bahmad, Kate Hodgson, Charles Forsdick, Kirsty Bennett, Foara Adhikari, Nicola Pearson


  1. Minutes of the last meeting

Circulated to members.


  1. President’s Report:

Vice-President Nicki Hitchcott read the President’s Report in Charlotte Baker’s absence:

Welcome to everyone and thank you for coming to the AGM this year.

I’d like to thank all the members of the Executive Committee for their work throughout the year.

Thanks especially to our Conference Secretaries Antonia Wimbush and Christina Horvath for organising this year’s conference, along with the team at the IMLR here at the University of London.

I would also like to thank Liverpool University Press for generously sponsoring the wine reception this evening after the keynote.

Annual Publication:

The Francophone Postcolonial Studies series with Liverpool University Press continues to be a success. The series maintains a rigorous editorial process and the standard of the volumes published is consistently high. Emily Harding continues to design amazing covers for the volumes and the latest cover is no exception.

Volumes have been commissioned up to 2019:

Volume 8, Algeria and Transnationalism 1988-2014 edited by Patrick Crowley was published in 2017.

Volume 9, Kathryn Kleppinger and Laura Reeck, Post-Migration and Postcoloniality in Contemporary French is well underway and due for publication in 2018.

Volume 10, Nicki Hitchcott and Hannah Grayson, Rwanda after 1994: Stories of Change has just been commissioned for 2019.

We are now inviting proposals for 2020 onwards.

Another publication is the special issue of the Journal of Romance Studies, arising from last year’s conference, edited by Catherine Gilbert and Charlotte Baker. This is currently in press.


PG Study Day

SFPS sponsored the very successful Postgraduate Study Day SPFPS Postgraduate Study Day: Trespassing Time and Space: The Postcolonial Encounter in the Francophone World, organised by Foara Adhikari, Kirsty Bennett and Nicola Pearson at Lancaster University this year. Funding was also secured from the Yves Hervouet Fund for Anglo-French Relations and from the Department of Languages and Cultures at Lancaster. They will say more about it in their report later in the meeting.

Africa in Motion

SFPS sponsored a screening at the Africa in Motion Film Festival in Scotland once again this year of the new Burkinabe film ‘Frontières’ dir. Apolline Traoré.

Annual conference

This year’s Annual conference is looking like another great success for SFPS. Thanks again to the Conference Secretaries for all their hard work. We are now inviting ideas for the theme of next year’s Annual Conference, so please do let us know if you would like to make a suggestion.


  1. Treasurer’s Report (Claire Griffiths)

Claire Griffiths thanked Nicki Frith for an easy transition. The SFPS financial situation is steady and healthy, which is encouraging in the contemporary environment. Major expenditures are the conference and the publication. The conference makes a small profit. Postgraduate travel bursaries this year.

We discussed the possibility of reinstating sponsorship of other conferences (e.g. £200), making SFPS more visible. Nicki Hitchcott noted that we are barely covering the costs of the LUP volume (which costs around £3,000). We agreed that Senate House is a great conference location. The conference at Senate House costs around £3,500 (catering is particularly expensive). We discussed the possibility of having one of the rooms at the annual conference sponsored by the University of London (could save £660). It was also suggested that we could go back to lunch on one day (could save £300-£400), providing participants with a list of places to eat nearby.

We discussed increasing membership fees and concluded that, in line with other associations, membership would be compulsory for attendance at the conference from now on. We also decided to remove the combined conference plus membership discount for one-day attendance, keeping the discount for both days (15%). Membership would also be compulsory for attendance at the PG Study Day, which is free to attend.


  1. Membership Secretary (Kate Hodgson)

Membership is holding steady and we have seen a very slight increase in 2017. We had a total of 83 members last year, this year we have 85:  66 full members and 19 institutions. One area that is down quite substantially is postgraduate members – going from 22 postgraduate members last year, this year we only have 12 postgraduates. All the other membership areas are up, particularly Full and Concessionary members, so the overall membership income to the Society should be slightly higher than it was last year. We could probably do more to recruit postgrad members. The reduced membership fee including the annual volume does represent a good deal for postgraduates, and so Kate Hodgson suggested continuing to use the postgraduate event to promote Society membership among new postgrads in our institutions. The social media channels could also be of use here.

One of the benefits of being an SFPS member is the free LUP volume. We agreed that we should make more of this in recruiting members, particularly postgraduate students.


  1. Conference Secretaries (Christina Horvath and Antonia Wimbush)

Christina Horvath and Antonia Wimbush have enjoyed working together as Conference Secretaries this year, and  thanked Catherine Gilbert for all her help with the handover.

This year, a total of 48 abstracts had been proposed on a range of topics and themes concerning local, national, and global identities in the Francophone world, and 32 were retained. Unfortunately, three delegates were unable to attend the conference. As is the case each year, the programme offered a rich and exciting variety of presentations from both postgraduate researchers and established academics from institutions across the world. This year, along with our two keynote presentations, we offered a lunchtime session on the Saturday for Early Career Researchers on publishing strategies and the REF, led by Kate Marsh and Sarah Arens. This session would be extremely beneficial for postgraduates and ECRs who are thinking about what and where to publish.

We continue to benefit from the generous sponsorship by publishers including Liverpool University Press, who have contributed material to the conference pack and sponsored the wine reception (£100). A representative from Peter Lang would also be present at the conference on Saturday.

We would like to thank Senate House for their hard work in helping to organise the conference, and the rest of the Executive Committee for their support.


  1. Publicity Team (Jamal Bahmad and Rebekah Vince)

Monthly Mailing:

  • Continues to go out once a month
  • Brings together calls for papers, job opportunities, announcements, and new titles on a wide range of subjects related to Francophone Postcolonial Studies
  • There is usually a surge in people visiting the website just after the monthly mailing has gone out
  • Please send requests for inclusion to Rebekah Vince: r.l.vince@warwick.ac.uk


  • Jamal is working on a new version of the website. The work is not yet complete due to some technical issues with hosting and content migration, but the new website will go live very soon.
  • The current website has been hugely improved in the last two weeks to make the experience of browsing more pleasant and attract more visitors.


  • Our Twitter account is by far the most active and popular account of any French or Francophone academic society in the UK. We have over 2239 followers and average of 5 tweets a day!
  • Our Twitter activity will be boosted by the new website and its cutting edge features.

Jamal is happy to continue in his current role as Publicity Officer in charge of website management and Twitter. Rebekah is happy to continue with the monthly mailing and has joined Jamal in having access to the Twitter account.

Following on from last year’s AGM, we decided to have a photo archive on the website. We also discussed having more pictures on the website in general.


  1. Francophone Postcolonial Studies Bulletin (Kate Marsh)

The Bulletin has now been running for eight years, the sixteenth issue just having been published. Kate  thanked all contributors for their articles and reviews. A founding aim of the publication was to provide a forum for short articles addressing current issues in the Francophone world and debates within the disciplinary field, alongside up-to-date books reviews. Both issues this year have kept this aim in mind, presenting Rebekah Vince’s thought-provoking interview with author Hubert Haddad in issue 8.1, and an état présent on the reparations debate in France by Nicola Frith in issue 8.2, as well as examples of postgraduate work in progress. Next year the Bulletin will include an interview with Algerian playwright Slimane Benaïssa in which he discusses his exile in France, censorship, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Kate urged all members of the Society, particularly if they have short articles, polemical interventions or relevant états présents, to consider publishing in the Bulletin. Finally, she thanked the Advisory Board for ensuring that all submitted articles were reviewed anonymously by two readers; Khalid Lyamlahy for his role as Books Reviews Editor; and Foara Adhikari, Kirsty Bennett and Nicola Pearson who had selected the postgraduate articles which appeared in issue 8.1 and those to be published in issue 9.1.


  1. Postgraduate Representatives’ Report

SPFPS Postgraduate Study Day: Trespassing Time and Space: The Postcolonial Encounter in the Francophone World

The annual postgraduate study day of the Society for Francophone Postcolonial Studies was hosted this year by Lancaster University on 16 June 2017. The event was co-sponsored by the Yves Hervouet Fund (providing travel bursaries), Lancaster University Department for Languages & Cultures, and The Society for Francophone Postcolonial Studies. Postgraduate students from all over the UK came together to debate the postcolonial encounter in the francophone world.

After a welcome from the organising committee, we launched into the first panel of the day: Aesthetic Encounters. Antonia Wimbush, from Birmingham, took us on an intellectual journey through the autobiographical narratives of Kim Lefѐvre, the francophone writer who grew up in colonial Vietnam during the 1940s and 50s and left for France in 1960. The paper analysed the narrator’s métissage through the lens of exile, offering an original critique of postcolonial strategies of identity formation which propagate colonial frameworks. Secondly, Jordan Phillips from UCL delivered a highly original paper on Daniel Boukman, a Martinician writer, activist, teacher and journalist. The paper located his play Les Négriers (written 1968/9, published in 1971 and performed throughout the 1970s) in its historical and intellectual context to establish a multi-sited, multi-moment performance history, and asked how we might re-read the play in our current political context.

The study day was divided into three panels and addressed the following themes: aesthetic encounters, socio-linguistic encounters, and socio-cultural encounters. Yasmine Boubakir, PhD student at Lancaster University presented a paper on the representation of Algerian women in Algerian Literature.  Dr Berny Sèbe, from the University of Birmingham, delivered a keynote paper on researching the Sahara, and Dr Nicola Frith, from the University of Edinburgh, led a professional development workshop. The day concluded with an interdisciplinary roundtable, where participants of the day engaged in a productive discussion on the future of francophone postcolonial studies with faculty from the departments of Languages & Cultures, History, and English/Creative Writing at Lancaster University.

The study day was organised by PhD students Foara Adhikari and Kirsty Bennett from Lancaster, Nicola Pearson from Bristol, with generous assistance from the President of the Society, Dr Charlotte Baker.


  1. Elections to Executive Committee:

Charlotte Baker would like to thank all members of the Executive Committee for the work they do, often behind the scenes, throughout the year. Without their help, SFPS would not exist.

The majority of the Executive Committee have confirmed that they are happy to continue for another year.

Thank you to Charlotte Baker (President), Nicki Hitchcott (Vice-President), Kate Marsh (BFPS editor), Christina Horvath (Conference Secretary), and Rebekah Vince (PG Rep) who have now passed on their roles.


Executive committee roles: 


*New* Kate Marsh



*New* Charlotte Baker



Claire Griffiths


Membership Secretary:

Kate Hodgson


Conference Secretaries:

Antonia Wimbush

*New* Rebecca Infield


Publicity Officers:

Jamal Bahmad

Rebekah Vince


BFPS Editor: *New* Sarah Arens


BFPS Book Reviews Editor: Khalid Lyamlahy


Postgraduate Representatives:

Antonia Wimbush

Foara Adhikari

Kirsty Bennett

Nicola Pearson

*New* Ally Lee

*New* Bethany Mason

*New* Abdelbaqi Ghorab

*New transatlantic PG Rep* Nanar Khamo


Publications Team:

Charlotte Baker

Patrick Crowley

Charles Forsdick

Pierre-Philippe Fraiture

Jane Hiddleston

Nicki Hitchcott

David Murphy

Andy Stafford


  1. Any Other Business

It was suggested that we connect with other associations throughout Europe (e.g. with Spain).

We remembered Lieve Spaas who was professor at University of Roehampton and then University of Kingston, noting her passing with sadness.