Wear and tear / Usure(s)

deadline for submissions: 
December 31, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Brown University



Wear and tear / Usure(s)

April 8-9, 2022| Brown University | Providence, Rhode Island


Keynote: Heidi Brevik-Zender

Associate Professor of French and Comparative Literature at UC Riverside

Idiomatically, the expression “wear and tear” connotes the fraying of material objects. However, the concept exceeds these physical limitations to denote the unraveling of ideas and philosophies and the wear and tear reading inflicts upon us. Equinoxes 2022 aims to explore all the expressions and applications of wearing thin and wearing out, the threadbare, the ragged, the eroded, and the fractured. We welcome critical interventions that explore the idea of “wear and tear” in a variety of disciplines within French and Francophone contexts.


From the wear and tear of garments, to the decay of institutions and ideas as well as texts that have been belabored, the concept of wear and tear lends itself to an array of manifestations. It provides us with temporal boundaries and limitations, pointing to the inevitability that, “tout décade.” It also reminds us of the impermanence of the physical world, calling into question how we process decline and deterioration. How do we mourn loss? How do we respond when our beliefs are fractured? What happens when our belongings fall apart?  Papers might address the following topics: falling out of fashion and out of style, sustainability and preservation, renewal through decay, repair and reuse in a consumerist society, decadence and degeneration, the fates of literary and artistic movements, and the volatility of political, religious, and social beliefs. Finally, how can such interrogations challenge us to unravel our preconceptions of these themes and weave new patterns of meaning and thought?


As an interdisciplinary conference, Equinoxes encourages submission from a variety of fields, including but not limited to fashion studies, philosophy, history, ethnography, anthropology, literature, media studies, sociology, art history, religious studies, Women's and Gender Studies, and political science, provided that the presentation relate to French or Francophone studies. 


Possible topics of discussion might include:


  • Ready-to-wear and Haute Couture                

  • Decay and revitalization

  • The restoration of artworks and artifacts

  • Decadence

  • Shattered illusions

  • Fashion and style

  • Glamour and artifice

  • Obsolete and old-fashioned media

  • Archaic language

  • Scars and wounds

  • Sustainability/Environmental humanities

  • The ends of movements, eras, and trends

  • Legacies of authors and artists

  • Political instability

  • Ragged rhythms

  • Heritage and inheritance

  • Afterlives

  • Nostalgia and mourning

  • Aging

  • Cross-dressing and tearing down (gender) norms

  • Custom (made)

  • Emotions tattered and torn

Graduate students who wish to participate in the conference should submit an abstract of no more than 250 words. Abstracts must be sent, as attachments, to equinoxes-conference@brown.edu before December 31rst, 2021. Emails should include the author's name, institutional affiliation, and contact information. Presentations, whether in English or in French, should not exceed 20 minutes.