HomeMemory and identity in the English-speaking world since 1945 : transdisciplinary perspectives on the margins and the mainstream

HomeMemory and identity in the English-speaking world since 1945 : transdisciplinary perspectives on the margins and the mainstream

Memory and identity in the English-speaking world since 1945 : transdisciplinary perspectives on the margins and the mainstream

Enjeux mémoriels et identitaires dans le monde anglophone depuis 1945 : approche transdisciplinaire des marges et du « mainstream »

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Published on Tuesday, June 06, 2023


The aim of this Study day is to examine the dynamics, interactions and tensions between the polysemic notions of margin and mainstream in post-1945 English-speaking areas. More specifically, we will examine the modalities and dynamics of exchange and movement from one category to the other, as well as the way in which they take on their meaning in varied and variable political, media, sociological and cultural contexts. Proposals may thus highlight thematic issues in relation to the phenomena studied, such as marginalised or militant histories, critical or methodological thoughts about mediation mechanisms, conceptualisation issues or personal and collective positioning.



PhD students and early-career scholars workshop at the Université de Picardie - Jules Verne (Amiens, France) - Keynote: Sarah Dunstan (University of Glasgow)

As the decolonization of knowledge and the questions it raises holds an increasingly central place in contemporary academic debates, notions of margins/marginality/marginalization and decentralization/displacement have become the subject of lively discussions within several critical discourses.

Traditionally considered through clearly differentiated prisms - dominated vs. dominant; peripheries vs. centre(s) - the relationship between the margins and  the mainstream has more recently been studied dialectically, in a way that no longer conceives of these notions in opposition to one another, but rather in relation to, and in constant interaction with one another. Thus, while these notions have long been perceived as antithetical, they cover historical, geographical, economic, cultural and/or social dimensions that are both porous and progressive. The prominence given to the concepts of dominant/marginalised culture, marginalised/institutional history, exclusion/inclusion are therefore highly variable depending on the fields and subjects under study.

In the English-speaking world, the notion of margins has been explored through the history of minorities and dissident voices, particularly in the United States, but also in Ireland, India, Africa; and through looking at the integration processes and political participation of minority groups, for instance in the United Kingdom and Canada. Postcolonial perspectives have also highlighted dynamics of reappropriation and re-assertion by groups with a history of marginalisation and oppression throughout the British Empire and Commonwealth, in an effort to take back ownership of the artistic, cultural and/or academic arenas.

In line with such studies, this workshop aims to shed light on the dynamics, interactions and tensions between these two polysemic notions: the margins, in their broadest sense as a geographical, historical, social, political, cultural, symbolic and even artistic concept; and the mainstream, which is understood to cover a set of ideas, attitudes, opinions or activities considered “close to the norm”, “normal” or “conventional”, by individuals who are generally associated with a majority group.  

A particular focus will be given to the dynamics at play in the shifts from one category to another and to how such circulations take place, as well as to the ways in which they take on their meanings within both varied and variable political, media, sociological and cultural contexts. Proposals may thus highlight thematic issues – such as marginalised or militant histories – but also critical or methodological questions, including mediation mechanisms, issues of conceptualisation and personal/collective positioning with respect to the phenomena under study.  

While these notions have been mostly studied within certain historical or sociological trends such as global, postcolonial or decolonial histories, the focus for this workshop is on the transnational and multidisciplinary aspects of the margin-mainstream relationship. The post-1945 period provides a particularly relevant time frame for examining the vertical, horizontal and/or transversal circulations between members of civil society, cultural institutions and political actors, at multiple levels (local, national, transnational...). This call for papers will thus be of interest to specialists in intellectual/political/social/cultural history; media studies; visual arts and cultures; and language/translation as a driver for (de)marginalisation.

Papers, in French or English, may therefore address the following themes:

  • Mechanisms for appropriation / reappropriation / transformation of dominant practices, spaces, themes and concepts by actors from the margins, and vice versa. Examples of topics for consideration include issues of cultural appropriation, but also the dissenting power behind the reappropriation of mainstream codes by the margins.
  • The dynamics involved in bringing to light marginalized histories, cultures or voices, together with the related memorial issues and tensions with the dominant discourses that may consequently result.
  • An exploration of the tension between demands and indifference within these processes, and of the ways to engage in a critical reassessment of the links between the marginal and the mainstream. Contributions may therefore explore avenues for overcoming the traditional dichotomy associated with these two notions.

The aforementioned themes, however, are neither exhaustive nor exclusive. Proposals that do not fall directly within the scope of the suggested topics will still be considered. Particular attention will be given to the proposal’s critical dimension and to the originality of the selected methodological approach or subject matter. Proposals covering more than one area of the English-speaking world or adopting a transdisciplinary approach are  welcome.  

Proposals submission

The expected duration for papers is about 15 minutes in order to allow time for collective reflection and constructive talks.

To participate, please send a short summary of your proposal (250-300 words) and biography to the following address: marginstomainstream2023@gmail.com

by July 10th, 2023.

The committee expects to notify applicants of its decision by July 31th, 2023.

The organizing team - Amal El Founti, Anaïs Makhzoum, Anaïs Nzelomona

Scientific Committee

  • El Founti Amal – CORPUS EA 4295, UPJV, Amiens 
  • Makhzoum Anaïs – CORPUS EA 4295, UPJV, Amiens 
  • Nzelomona Anaïs – CORPUS EA 4295, UPJV, Amiens 
  • Torrent Mélanie – CORPUS EA 4295, UPJV, Amiens 


  • Alao, Abiodun, A New Narrative for Africa. Voice and Agency, London: Routledge, 2019.  
  • Anwar, Muhammad, Race and politics: Ethnic minorities and the British political system, London: Tavistock, 1986.
  • Anwar, Muhammad, “The participation of ethnic minorities in British politics”, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Vol. 27, n° 3, pp. 533-549, 2001, DOI: 10.1080/136918301200266220. 
  • Brisson, Thomas, Décentrer l'Occident. Les intellectuels postcoloniaux, chinois, indiens et arabes, et la critique de la modernité, Paris: Éditions La Découverte, 2018.  
  • Craggs, Ruth, Wintle, Claire (eds.), Cultures of Decolonisation: Transnational Productions and Practices, 1945-70, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2016. 
  • Davies, Tom Adam,  Mainstreaming Black Power, Oakland: University of California Press, 2017.
  • Garbaye, Romain, Getting Into Local Power. The Politics of Ethnic Minorities in British and French Cities, Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2005.
  • Gareau, Paul, “Occupying the Margins of Society: Operationalizing Minority Identity Politics among Canadian Youth within the Catholic New Evangelization”, In Solange Lefebvre; Alfonso Pérèz-Agote Poveda (eds.), Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion, Vol. 9, Brill, 2018.
  • Getachew, Adom, Worldmaking after Empire: The Rise and Fall of Self-Determination,  Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2019.  
  • Kac-Vergne, Marianne, Assouly, Julie, From the Margins to the Mainstream. Women in Film and Television, London : Bloomsbury Academic, 2022.
  • Le Dantec-Lowry, Hélène, Parfait, Claire, Matthieu, Renault, Rossignol, Marie-Jeanne et Pauline Vermeren (dir.), Écrire l’histoire depuis les marges : une anthologie d’historiens africains-américains, 1855-1965 , collection « SHS », Marseille: Terra HN éditions, 2018.
  • Le Dantec-Lowry, Hélène, Rossignol, Marie-Jeanne, Renault, Matthieu et Pauline Vermeren, Histoire en marges. Les périphéries de l’histoire globale, Tours: Presses universitaires FrançoisRabelais, 2018. 
  • Nkwi, Walter Gam, Voicing the Voiceless. Contributions to Closing Gaps in Cameroon History, 19582009, Mankon, Bamenda : RPCIG, 2010.  
  • Tuhiwai Smith, Linda, Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples, London et New York: Zed Books, 2021; 3e édition, 2021.  
  • Villar-Argáiz, Pilar (ed.), Irishness on the Margins: Minority and Dissident Identities, New York et London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018. 
  • Werner, Michael, “Décentrer l’histoire européenne par les marges : Visions plurielles d’une modernité fragmentée”, Annales. Histoire, Sciences Sociales, vol. 76, n°4, 2021, pp. 669-683. doi:10.1017/ahss.2021.159. 


  • Citadelle d'Amiens, Rue des Français Libres
    Amiens, France (80000)

Event attendance modalities

Full on-site event


  • Monday, July 10, 2023


  • centre, périphérie, margins, marge, mainstream, transdisciplinaire, transnational, histoire globale, étude postcoloniale et décoloniale, l’histoire intellectuelle, histoire politique, histoire sociale et culturelle, histoire des médias, art


  • Anaïs Nzelomona
    courriel : marginstomainstream2023 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Amal El Founti
    courriel : marginstomainstream2023 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Anaïs Makhzoum
    courriel : anais [dot] makhzoum [at] u-picardie [dot] fr

Information source

  • Anaïs Nzelomona
    courriel : marginstomainstream2023 [at] gmail [dot] com


CC-BY-4.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons - Attribution 4.0 International - CC BY 4.0 .

To cite this announcement

Amal El Founti, Anaïs Makhzoum, Anaïs Nzelomona, « Memory and identity in the English-speaking world since 1945 : transdisciplinary perspectives on the margins and the mainstream », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, June 06, 2023, https://doi.org/10.58079/1bbb

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