Edited volume: “Trans Identities in the French media” - Call for abstracts
As a preamble to this call for abstracts, we want to specify that we are using the terms “transgender” and “trans identities” as umbrella terms for people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from what is typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth. Our use of “transgender” or “trans identities” thus encompasses a variety of experiences within and outside the gender binary, and a range of expressions, as trans individuals pursue many different options (medical changes, clothing, make-up, etc.) to bring their appearances into alignment with their gender identity, or may choose not to.
“Transsexualité, transidentité: un tabou français?” (“Transsexuality, transidentity: a French taboo?”): such was the title chosen by the online French news magazine France Info for an article published in 2015 that discussed the lack of visibility and biases transgender people still experience in French society. Indeed, the production of images and narratives about transgender people in a French context is a complex process that demands to be further analyzed. On the one hand, there has been an increasing visibility of trans individuals in film and TV in recent years. TV documentaries such as Devenir il ou elle (Lorène Debaisieux, 2017) and Être fille ou garçon: Le Dilemme des transgenres (Clarisse Verrier, 2017) follow the lives of adolescents as they transition into their authentic gender; director Sébastien Lifshitz dedicated a documentary to one of France’s first individuals to have undergone gender confirmation surgery with Bambi (2013), and he hired a transgender actress to play the main character in his film Wild Side (2004). However, transgender actors and actresses still remain painfully underrepresented in the French media, with most transgender characters being played by cisgender actors or actresses (Vincent Perez in Ceux qui m’aiment prendront le train (1998), Fanny Ardant in Lola Pater(2017), Claire Nebout in the short-lived TV series Louis(e) (2017), to name a few). From a societal perspective, the fact remains that the number of transphobic acts in France has continued to increase over the past years. Moreover, the predominance of the French nation state weighs heavily on the recognition of trans identities in order to produce a narrative that avoids any kind of communautarisme, such that trans identities are integrated within the republican values of the country to appear less “frightening” to the general public. As noted by Todd W. Reeser, this has a direct impact on the way trans identities are portrayed in the media: “in journalistic prose, trans narratives, documentaries, and TV programs, transgender subjects are frequently defined through nation-based discourses, institutions, and state-sanctioned forms of power […]” (Reeser, 4).
Using these observations as a starting point, this volume wishes to focus on how trans identities have been portrayed in the past decades (from the 1990s’ to the present time) in the French media. Abstracts are welcome regarding the representation of trans identities in cinema (fiction films, documentaries), television (news coverage, TV series, TV films and documentaries), as well as in newspapers and magazines.
Possible topics include (but are not limited to):
-the evolution of the representation of trans identities in news coverage,
-transgender characters in films and series,
-pitfalls and biases regarding the way trans identities are portrayed in the French media, and/or
-the analysis of a specific body of work.
As this volume intends to offer a broad perspective on the topic of trans identities and the media, submissions are encouraged from academics in various disciplines (French and Francophone studies; film and media studies; gender studies; sociology; history; etc.)
Abstracts with a clear theoretical and analytical framework (300 to 350 words) should be submitted in English, along with a short bio, by January 31st, 2021.
How to upload your abstract:
Upload your abstract in a Word or PDF format by clicking on the following link:
Enquiries should be directed to Dr. Romain Chareyron (Assistant Professor of French, University of Saskatchewan) at the following email address: email@example.com
-Abstract deadline: January 31st, 2021
-Acceptance/Rejection email: by the end of February 2021.
-Final article deadline: October 31st, 2021
Articles should be between 6000-8000 words (including footnotes and bibliography) and use The Chicago Manual of Style.
A publisher has already expressed interest in the topic. More information will be communicated to authors once abstracts have been selected.
 The number of homophobic and trans-phobic acts officially counted in France in 2016 rose by almost 20% (source: https://www.lexpress.fr/actualite/societe/les-actes-homophobes-et-transphobes-ont-augmente-de-presque-20-en-2016_1906740.html)
 Reeser, Todd W. “TransFrance”, L’Esprit créateur 53 (1), Spring 2013, pp.4-14.