La ville marquée : Branded City

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UCLA French & Francophone Studies
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UCLA 14th Annual Graduate Student Conference
French & Francophone Studies
University of California Los Angeles
15-16 October 2009


Send abstracts by June 15th to
Include "Branded City" in the Subject heading.

Branded City

Throughout history, cities have been contact zones where the past, present and future coexist, where urban and suburban meet and where (im)migrants, ex-patriots, urban explorers, and local inhabitants mix anonymously.
Paris, with its long and active history, represents a unique indicator of how cities shape the way in which men and women think about the world and in turn, are shaped by our thinking. This process of transformation also becomes inscribed in those who interact with the city, facilitating the birth of new modes of understanding and of representation. While many writers and artists depict the city, their versions vary considerably with regards to their own perspectives. One need only think of the Paris of La Bruyère or that of Walter Benjamin, Tahar Ben Jelloun, Mathieu Kassovitz, or Merzak Allouache. In addition to the Parisian example, Montaigne's Bordeaux, Stendhal's Grenoble and more recently, Assia Djebar's Strasbourg or Azouz Begag's version of Lyon represent many different urban experiences. The role of the city is becoming more and more important in this time of globalization where the character of the city is marked or branded by diverse (im)migrations.

What this conference seeks to investigate thus, are the points of view and strategies of those who have decided to make their mark on or brand the city. The "Branded City" implies both the city as it has been recorded by artists (writers, painters, illustrators, musicians, architects, etc.) as well as literal and figurative inscriptions on the city. How is the city depicted? How have French and francophone cities influenced and branded the works of artists from around the world? How has the city been marked and thus shaped, physically or historically by the influx and outflow of people?

Submissions can include but are not limited to the following topics:

Inscriptions, plaques, panoramas, schools, streets, sidewalks, canals, museums, work spaces, ruins, architecture, (de)formation of the city, urban explorers, writers of "expression française", expatriates, graffiti, neighborhoods, subways, urban imagery, flea markets, shop windows, shopping centers, railroad stations, slums.

Reading time will be limited to 20 minutes. The languages for this conference are French and English.