Subversions of Hi/story and Desire for Memory, October 21-22, 2010

full name / name of organization: 
Department of French and Francophone Studies at the University of California Los Angeles
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Send abstracts by June 30th to
Include “Subversions of History” in the Subject heading.

Subversions of Hi/story and Desire for Memory
15th Annual Graduate Student Conference in French and Francophone Studies at the University of California Los Angeles

October 21-22, 2010

The Robert dictionary defines the word history as “knowledge and
recounting of past events judged worthy of remembering,”
simultaneously invoking the French distinction between histoire
(referring to a story) and Histoire (indicating History) and
specifically emphasizing the latter. Such a reductive approach
ignores numerous unique and marginalized writings, experiences, voices – all relegated to the forgotten corners of our collective memory. The 15th Annual Graduate Student Conference at UCLA proposes an investigation of this double sense of the word histoire / Histoire in the tradition of thinkers who sought to reformulate these concepts, methods, sources, and intellectual currents overturning what had formerly been considered given: Michel Foucault (Histoire de la folie à l’âge classique), François Furet (Le Passé d’une illusion), Pierre Nora (Les Lieux de mémoires) and even Edouard Glissant (Le Discours antillais) and Paul Ricœur (La Mémoire, l’histoire, l’oubli) are some examples of authors that have revolutionized our concepts of history. Many, in fact, demonstrate the subversion of history (tragedies, novels, memoirs, autobiographies, correspondence, etc.).

This metamorphosis of the approach to history always seems to
reinvigorate the social and human sciences; it gives a voice to the
other hi/story, the lowercase histoire. It touches upon numerous and diverse disciplines and periods, which our conference seeks to explore.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
• Subjectivity in Medieval hi/stories (Chrétien de Troyes…)
• The French language as an instrument of memory (from Du Bellay to modern times)
• Historical genres of the 16th and 17th centuries
• Comedy, self-deprecation, and satire in historical writing
• The historical genres of the 16th and 17th centuries (from the
heroic romances to memoirists)
• The domination of historical fiction in the 19th century – between truth and fiction (Hugo, Dumas, etc.)
• Surrealism as subversive writing
• Trauma theory – particularly regarding the Shoah in individual and collective memory
• The rewriting of history from the margins of colonialism (créolité, négritude, antillanité, etc.)
• Autobiography and its subversion of personal history
• Political involvement of writers and the (re)invention of hi/story
• Writing (her)story: the gendering of historical narratives.
• Cinema’s role in the establishment and transmission of the collective memory

We are pleased to announce as our keynote speaker Nicolas Weill,
journalist for Le Monde, specialist in Enlightenment Jewish philosophy and intellectual history, author of numerous works including Une histoire personnelle de l’antisémitisme (2002) and La République et les antisémites (2004), and translator of numerous German and Hebrew works.

We invite those interested in our theme to submit an abstract (250
word max.) by email to before June 30, 2010.
Presentations, in either French or English, should not exceed 20
minutes and may treat the subject and period of your choice.

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