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Discourses, Realities and Representations of Defiance

Discours, réalités et représentations de la « défiance » (mise au défi)

Literatures, Cultures and Civilisations of the Anglo-Saxon World, Commonwealth and BRICS countries

Littératures, cultures et civilisations du monde anglo-saxon, pays du Commonwealth et des BRICS

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Published on Friday, June 14, 2024

Abstract

The conference theme, understanding defiance in the Anglo-Saxon world, Commonwealth, and BRICS countries, is of significant importance in the field of humanities and social sciences. We aim to identify, at various points in their histories, how defiance is constructed and understood in the sense of 'challenge' that the French word défiance shares with the English noun defiance - which appeared in the early 14th century under the influence of the French word desfiance. Your research and insights will contribute to our collective understanding of this crucial aspect.  This conference is part of the debate opened up by Nancy Nyquist Potter (2016) in her introduction to her eulogy of defiance.

Announcement

Argument

The conference theme, understanding defiance in the Anglo-Saxon world, Commonwealth, and BRICS countries, is of significant importance in the field of humanities and social sciences. We aim to identify, at various points in their histories, how defiance is constructed and understood in the sense of 'challenge' that the French word défiance shares with the English noun defiance - which appeared in the early 14th century under the influence of the French word desfiance. Your research and insights will contribute to our collective understanding of this crucial aspect. 

As Midoriko Kageyama (2012) reminds us in her analysis of French poet Alain Chartier's La Belle Dame sans mercy (1424), the title that the English poet John Keats borrowed for his famous ballad of 1819, the notion of défiance (in Middle French defiance, deffiance and desfiance) is an amalgamation of defiance and doubt: it encompasses both the "action of defying, of provoking someone into battle, of declaring war on someone" and the "feeling of one who has no confidence, lacks confidence". In his work, Chartier stages a verbal war provoked, according to the Lover, by the Lady's eyes. The amorous debate is between combatants who do not trust each other and refuse to back down until the end. The battle of ideas in verse allows the author to challenge the court's values. 

Among the significant figures in human history, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi forcefully embodied this notion of defiance throughout the period of violence and instability that began with the intensification of imperialism at the end of the 19th century and continued through two world wars. The movements that the Mahatma led in India between 1917 and 1942 had a profound effect on many activists around the world. Founded on the concept of Satyagraha, aiming to awaken the conscience of oppressors and invigorate their victims with a sense of moral action, his unique mode of defiance developed during his stay in South Africa from 1893 to 1914. South African civil resistance dates back to 1906 when Gandhi began organising Indians against discriminatory practices. Subsequently, in 1952, the African National Congress (ANC) and the South African Indian National Congress (SAINC) together launched the Defiance Campaign against the laws enacted by the National Party to implement its apartheid programme. 

From the last third of the nineteenth century until the beginning of the twentieth century, the British women travellers of the Victorian and then Edwardian periods who visited the remotest corners of the Empire for various reasons or settled in the colonies for varying lengths of time carried with them the traditions, beliefs, codes and representations of their own culture. They were also taking part in the transformations of a world reshaped by significant political and socio-cultural changes, notably the rise of feminism. In a society where a sedentary lifestyle or moderate physical activity was recommended to women for reasons of tradition and then the survival of the 'race' and justified by science and philosophy, travelling could be conceived, represented or identified as a violent 'sport', or even risky behaviour - defined by David Le Breton as disparate, repetitive or unique behaviour that symbolically or really endangers life. The deviations in dress, behaviour and language that women travellers recorded in the pages of their accounts were bound to distil a particular form of defiance, whether discreet or ostentatious, conscious or unconscious. 

Depending on the characteristics of the national culture and the composition of the political atmosphere in which they are immersed, artistic milieus foster specific forms of provocation and promote or engender feelings of defiance. To return to the case of South Africa, which is celebrating 30 years of democracy in 2024, the publication of the novel Disgrace (1999) by Nobel Prize winner John Maxwell Coetzee revealed a writer who refused to break with the tradition of defiance he had cultivated during apartheid - fiction set up as a rival to history. Like Alain Chartier's poem, which caused a scandal in the circles of the Capetian court, his story of interracial rape in the "rainbow nation" caused a stir even in the parliamentary arena. Coetzee challenged the production of the "new history" of the "new South Africa" by questioning the values of the young democracy. 

More recently, the strategic expansion of the BRICS club, to which India and South Africa belong, has reinforced the idea that emerging countries are determined to defy the world order promoted by Western powers and institutions. In the same vein, perhaps a particular form of defiance can be discerned in South Africa's application to the International Court of Justice in December 2023 against the State of Israel, accused of perpetrating genocide in the Gaza Strip. 

Zygmunt Bauman argues that today's world is in a state of generalised 'liquidity', a state that results from the breakdown in the relationship between politics and power, seen as central to the crisis of nation-states, and the weakening of the idea of community, brought about by the introduction of new technologies. In this globalised 'liquid society', insecurity, uncertainty and individualism dominate. What/who do we defy in a 'liquid society'? How is defiance constructed and exercised in such a society? In what Ulrich Beck calls the 'risk society' - an industrial society in which the social production of wealth is systematically correlated with the social production of risk - he sees the emergence of new collective movements based more on the association of more autonomous individual consciences. Under no form of control? Is defiance conceivable in a society that aims to "colonise the future", where "fear dominates our lives" and "the value of security represses the value of equality"? 

This conference is part of the debate opened up by Nancy Nyquist Potter (2016) in her introduction to her eulogy of defiance: ‘Although most societies occasionally regard defiant behaviour as heroic, more often defiant behaviour is met with suppression, punishment or medicalization. Defiance behaviour is usually deemed disruptive to society and harmful to self, and sometimes that is true. […][Yet there are] conditions under which defiance might be desirable and praiseworthy’ [….] Even today, few people are praised for defiant behaviour and to my knowledge, no one writing in virtue theory has yet claimed defiance as one of the virtues’. 

Works cited below

Submission guidelines

Proposals for papers in English or French may focus on, but are definitely not restricted to, the following areas: 

  • Philosophy/Sociology of defiance
  • Methods and practices of defiance
  • Forms, values and functions of defiance
  • Representations and embodiments of defiance
  • Declared defiance, written defiance and represented defiance

They may cover different fields of study and combine them (sociology, anthropology, political studies, cultural studies, history, literature, economics, media, journalism, linguistics, etc.), different countries in the Anglo-Saxon area, the Commonwealth and the BRICS, and deal with all areas of learned or popular culture (visual arts, different 'genres' of fiction, sports, music, collectors' items, cultural and media practices, games, literature, etc.). 

Papers should last no longer than 20 minutes. 

Proposals of 300 words maximum together with a brief biographical note (100 words or so) should be sent by email to colloquedefiance2025@protonmail.com

before or on 1 November 2024

A publication is envisaged with L'Harmattan (Paris) in Prof. Michel Prum's "Racisme et Eugénisme" book series.

Organising committee

  • Dr. Nargès Bardi (Université Clermont Auvergne, France) 
  • Dr. Marie-Annick Mattioli (Université Paris Cité, France)
  • Prof. Ludmila Ommundsen Pessoa (Le Mans Université)
  • Prof. Michel Prum (Université Paris Cité, France)

Scientific committee 

  • Prof. Rédouane Abouddahab (Le Mans Université, France)
  • Dr. Marie-Claude Barbier (ENS Paris Saclay, France)
  • Dr. Nada Afiouni (Université Le Havre Normandie, France)
  • Prof. Florence Binard (Université Paris Cité, France)
  • Prof. Deirdre Gilfedder (Université de Paris Dauphine, PSL, France)
  • Dr Grainne O'Keeffe Vigneron (Université de Rennes, France)
  • Dr. Darwis Khudori (Université Le Havre Normandie, France)
  • Dr. Xavier Lachazette (Le Mans Université, France)
  • Prof. Vincent Latour (Toulouse Université, France)
  • Prof. Benaouda Lebdai (Le Mans Université, France)
  • Dr. Nadia Malinovich (Université de Picardie, France) 
  • Prof. Gilles Teulié (Université Aix-Marseille, France) 

Work Cited

Ulrich BECK, « La société du risque globalisé revue sous l'angle de la menace terroriste », Cahiers internationaux de sociologie, vol. 114, no. 1, 2003, pp. 27-33, https://www.cairn.info/revue-cahiers-internationaux-de-sociologie-2003-1-page-27.htm.

CAUCHIE, H.O. HUBERT et al. «La société du risque de Beck : Balises. Revue nouvelle, 2002, vol. 115, no 7-8, pp. 86-97.

Carlo BORDONI. Introduction to Zygmunt Bauman. Revue internationale de philosophie, 2016, no 3, p. 281-289. Zygmunt BAUMAN. Liquid Life. Cambridge, Polity Press, 2005.

Arlette BOUZON (dir.), Questions de communication, 2002, no 2. Ulrich Beck, La Société du risque. Sur la voie d’une autre modernité, trad. de l’allemand par L. Bernardi. Paris, Aubier, 2001, 521 p.

David LE BRETON, Conduites à risque. Des jeux de mort au jeu de vivre, Paris, Presses Universitaires de France, 2002, p. 224.

Kageyama MIDORIKO, « La défiance dans La Belle Dame sans mercy d’Alain Chartier », Questes [En ligne], 23 | 2012, mis en ligne le 01 janvier 2014, consulté le 23 avril 2024. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/questes/1236 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/questes.1236

Nancy Nyquist POTTER, The Virtue of Defiance and Psychiatric Engagement. Oxford University Press, 2016. 

Adams and ASH ROBERTS, Timothy Garton (ed.). Civil Resistance and Power Politics: the Experience of Non-Violent Action from Gandhi to the Present. Oxford University Press, 2009.

Places

  • Université Paris Cité, Campus des Grands Moulins (13e arrondissement de Paris)
    Paris, France (75)

Event attendance modalities

Full on-site event


Date(s)

  • Friday, November 01, 2024

Keywords

  • défiance, défi, monde anglo-saxon, Commonwealth, BRICS, culture, civilisation, histoire, littérature, relations internationales, genre, diversité, ethnicité, représentation, identité, stéréotype

Contact(s)

  • Ludmila Ommundsen Pessoa
    courriel : colloquedefiance2025 [at] protonmail [dot] com

Information source

  • Ludmila Ommundsen Pessoa
    courriel : colloquedefiance2025 [at] protonmail [dot] com

License

CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Discourses, Realities and Representations of Defiance », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Friday, June 14, 2024, https://doi.org/10.58079/11tk2

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