‘Minorités en vue’

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Lancaster University
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‘Minorités en vue’

A one day colloquium organised by the
Department of European Languages and Cultures, Lancaster University

Keynote speaker: Pap Ndiaye (EHESS), author of La condition noire:
Essai sur une minorité française (Calmann-Lévy, 2008).

Friday 6 May 2011
Lancaster University Conference Centre

Coinciding with the recent debate around French national identity is the salience of certain ethnic or religious minorities, such as Roma or Muslim, in public discourse. Yet the ‘discovery’ of such groups has the potential to conceal the enduring presence they may have maintained in French society over decades, or, indeed, centuries. This colloquium will reflect on the conditions that bring certain minorities into, and out of, focus. It will ask how France’s minorities negotiate their intermittent (in)visibility through literary and cinematic representations and consider how the latter are linked to relations of power.

How are minorities constructed in different discursive fields and forms of representation? When and under what conditions do minoritised subjects become visible or invisible, and how is this process mediated by aesthetic strategies? Can a group’s successful ‘assimilation’ into the dominant culture be consistent with minority status and what role does memory play in maintaining that status? What, then, is a French majority, and how does it define its cultural hegemony as a counterpoint to minority groups?

Some potential topics for discussion might include the following:

Race and/or nation as indices of identification among minorities

Literary/cinematic subjectivities: the transition from objects to subjects of representation

Issues of class, religion, gender and sexuality among minority groups

The phenomena of apatridie and/or diaspora

The transition from the discursive construction of ‘immigrant’ to that of ‘minority’

Triggers of cultural memory: 50 years of independence in Africa, the expulsion of Roma from France, 80 years since the Exposition Coloniale…

‘New’ (for example, Algerian, Senegalese, Turkish) and ‘old’ (for example, Armenian, Roma, Catalan) minorities

Please e mail a 250 word abstract and 100 word bio to Charlotte Baker c.baker@lancaster.ac.uk and Greg Kerr g.kerr@lancaster.ac.uk by Monday 28 February 2011, clearly marked ‘DELC Colloquium’. Presenters will be invited to speak for 20 minutes and papers may be presented in French or in English.

‘Minorités en vue’ is supported by the Yves-Hervouet Fund for Anglo-French Relations and the Society for French Studies Conference Fund.

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