Alone Together/Together Alone UCLA Graduate Student Conference in French and Francophone Studies, Oct. 6-7 2011

full name / name of organization: 
UCLA Department of French and Francophone Studies Graduate Students

Alone Together/Together Alone
16th Annual UCLA Graduate Student Conference October 6-7 2011 With Keynote Speaker Tom Conley (Harvard)

"Technology proposes itself as the architect of our intimacies." Sherry Turkle, Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other (Basic Books, 2011)

From Egypt's "Facebook" Revolution to the protests in Wisconsin, social media technology has been increasingly heralded for its power to organize, unite, and democratize. Yet the more we rely on a technological medium to effectuate our social interactions, the more we find ourselves in an unprecedented state of isolation: staring into our computers, typing furiously into our smart phones, virtual communication is necessarily accompanied by a physical alienation from our immediate surroundings.

Let us not forget, however, that this connection in solitude also characterizes the act of both reading and writing, and is at the heart of the author/reader relationship. This paradoxical union is directly referenced in the opening line of Louis-Ferdinand Céline's Mort à crédit: "Nous voici encore seuls..." In Céline's case, the author/reader intimacy is further complicated by the mise en scène of his extreme prejudices, whereby even the most horrified reader must occupy the position of being "alone together" with the author and his misanthropy.

The phenomenon of being at once alone together and together alone also plays out in the classification of literary and art history:
once linked historically with a movement, an artist is often subsumed into a collective identity with a number of fellow "adherents." Likewise, the movement itself is typically understood to be coherent insofar as it is differentiated from its predecessors and/or opposing schools of thought. In marginal or emerging literatures, authors are often faced with the dual task of voicing the alienation of "a people," constituted by their exclusion from the dominant (literary) culture, while simultaneously producing work that will communicate with this culture.

For our 16th annual Graduate Student Conference, the UCLA Department of French and Francophone Studies invites submissions that explore the relationships between the individual and the collective, the self and technology, literature and revolution, aesthetics and politics. Today, as universities around the world find themselves subject to the discourse of austerity, and as humanities departments bear the brunt of the current attacks on education, we also invite participants to consider how these questions relate to our own work as scholars.

We welcome submissions on French and Francophone material from a variety of disciplines. Please email a 250-300 word abstract, along with your paper title, brief bio, affiliation and contact information to Papers should be 20 minutes in length. Deadline for submission is July 15th, 2011.

Possible topics might include but are not limited to the following:
● writing and technology
● the divided self: schizophrenia, madness
● autobiography
● collaboration
● autonomy
● theories of the individual, theories of the collective
● context and decontextualization
● irrelevance and escapism
● banlieue literature
● outsider art
● immigrant communities and "minority" literatures
● orality and transcription
● correspondence and manuscripts
● (trans)nationalism and nationhood
● citizens and representatives
● colonial and wartime collaboration
● political resistance movements
● critique génétique
● user-generated content sites and social networks
● biometrics: identity, passports, microchips