A French “Connaissance de l’Est”?

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Matt Reeck / UCLA
contact email: 

April 12-15, 2018

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Northeast Modern Language Association 2018 Conference


A French “Connaissance de l’Est”?

The East as a term of distinction from the Orient poses a particular challenge to French and Francophone intellectuals. While the Orient per se is just on the other side of the Mediterranean from France, a 50-hour boat trip at first and now a plane flight of several hours, the East, as in the title of Claudel’s noted work, nevertheless remains dimly limned, it could be argued, in the mind of the French-language writer. What knowledge do French-language writers have about the “East,” as an umbrella signifier pointing to the lands that stretch from India to Japan? Do the French have some knowledge of the East, and how is it constituted? What literary history could be compiled that speaks to French understanding of the region, arguably the most important global sphere of the 21st century? This panel seeks to articulate the history of French knowledge of the East through literature and critical theory, especially in modern and contemporary times. Of particular interest are the writers Marguerite Duras and Victor Segalen, as well as theoreticians Hélène Cixous, Abdelkébir Khatibi and Julia Kristeva.


Please submit a 250-word abstract and bio through the NeMLA panel site beginning June 15, 2017 and ending September 30, 2017: https://www.cfplist.com/nemla/User/SubmitAbstract/16789.


Please note that you do not need to be a current NeMLA member to submit an abstract. Contact matt.reeck@gmail.com with any questions.