ACLA 2016: Retriangulating Franco-African-American Culture in Sound, Image, and Text | ABSTRACTS DUE 9/23/15

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ACLA Annual Meeting, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, March 17-20, 2016

To propose a paper for this seminar, please submit an abstract of no more than 250 words through the ACLA online portal:

The paper submission portal will open September 1 and close on the 23rd.

Retriangulating Franco-African-American Culture in Sound, Image, and Text

This seminar will explore the transcontinental circulation of sound, image and text between France, Africa, and America after World War II, particularly in the wake of interrelated movements towards civil rights, black power, decolonization, and the rise of global communism. How have writers, visual artists, filmmakers, and musicians responded to the political and economic upheavals, diasporic migrations, and technological advances that propelled the movement of sound, image, and text across increasingly porous borders in the era of globalization? In tracing the contours of this alternative cartography, what patterns of cultural exchange and production emerge? How do these patterns extend into the present day? How have various institutions, publications, and festivals contributed to the transcontinental emergence of intellectual and artistic communities and publics? In emphasizing the multidirectional nature of these entanglements, this seminar seeks to highlight the complex and uneven geographies of power and identity that coursed between the U.S. and the French-speaking world after the Second World War. This seminar is especially interested in forms of poesis that transgress established racial, national, continental, and medial boundaries.

Suggested topics include but are not limited to:
-Jazz, R&B, and hip-hop in literature and film (e.g. James Baldwin, Michel Leiris, Louis Malle, Daniel Maximin, Koffi Kwahule, Emmanuel Dongala, Tariq Teguib, Claude McKay, Melvin Van Peebles, Mathieu Kassovitz, Abd Al-Malik, etc.)
-The diverse lineages of Existentialism, such as the interconnections between the work of Richard Wright, Simone de Beauvoir, and Frantz Fanon
- Maghrebi and French-speaking Sub-Saharan African literature and cinema's relation to the West
-Franco-African-American approaches to banlieue and "beur" literature and cinema
-The institutions (the academy, museums, journals, little magazines, bookstores, festivals, and public spaces) that created Franco-African-American communities and publics, such as Présence Africaine, Les Temps Modernes, Pan-African cultural festivals, including African Writers' Congresses in Paris in 1956, Rome in 1959, and the Premier Festival Mondial des arts nègres in Dakar in 1966
-The function of literature and moving images in cultural diplomacy and the cultural Cold War (e.g. Marshall Plan, Congress for Cultural Freedom)
-Translators and cultural passeurs (e.g. Mercer Cook, Maurice-Edgar Coindreau, Michel Fabre)
-Theoretical approaches to Franco-African-American studies (Postcolonial, Black Atlantic Studies, Theories of Hybridity, Creolization, Women's/Gender/Sexuality Studies, Actor Network Theory, Mobility Studies, the Untranslatable, Minor Transnationalism, etc.)
-Exile, forced migration, displacement and Franco-African-American exchange
-Franco-African-American surrealism and modernism
-Cross-border reception, adaptation, and remediation
-Questions of intertextuality and textual ownership within a transcolonial framework
-Transhistorical/Deep time approaches to Franco-African-American cultural exchange

More information on the paper submission process can be found on the ACLA website:

Please feel free to contact both Lauren Du Graf ( and Eric Prieto ( should you have further questions.