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Alone Together/Together Alone UCLA Graduate Student Conference in French and Francophone Studies, Oct. 6-7 2011
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UCLA Department of French and Francophone Studies Graduate Students
Alone Together/Together Alone
“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:
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 email@example.com. 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: