"Performing History in Early Modern France" - ACLA, March 26-29, 2015

full name / name of organization: 
Anna Rosensweig, University of Southern California; Joy Palacios, Simon Fraser University

This seminar investigates how literature contributes to our understanding of early modern France as a historical period. Departing from the conviction that literature does more than merely register and reflect historical events, we explore how literatures of the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries complicate historical records and create their own histories. Bringing together scholars whose research addresses a range of genres and sites of expression, this seminar seeks to foster methodological conversation and debate. Our key questions include: How do literary texts "perform" historically. In other words, what do these texts preserve or transfer that might otherwise be lost? What kinds of archives do literary texts constitute? How might these archives inform perceptions of the early modern as such? We welcome proposals that engage with genres such as theater or the novel, as well as genres less often read for their literarity, such as political pamphlets or sermons. Participants are invited to consider how literature takes up concepts that have long shaped historical accounts of the early modern, from absolutism to libertinage. Participants might also explore how literary texts and archives imagine forms of change and continuity.

We welcome paper proposals of 250 words (max) to be submitted by Friday, October 10th via the ACLA website. Please use the following link:


Keywords: Literature, history, historiography, performance, archives, early modern France, sixteenth-century, seventeenth-century, eighteenth-century

Anna Rosensweig, University of Southern California (rosenswe@usc.edu)
Joy Palacios, Simon Fraser University (Joy_palacios@sfu.ca)