AccueilCultural Memory in France : Margins and Centers

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Publié le jeudi 14 novembre 2002 par Natalie Petiteau


CULTURAL MEMORY IN FRANCE: MARGINS AND CENTERS International Conference Winthrop-King Institute for Contemporary French and Francophone Studies Florida State University November 13-15, 2003 CALL FOR PAPERS The role of memory in



International Conference Winthrop-King Institute for Contemporary French and Francophone Studies

Florida State University

November 13-15, 2003


The role of memory in the construction of collective identities has in recent years been the focus of growing scholarly interest. In France, a key collaborative work shaping the debate among historians has been Pierre Nora's Les Lieux de Mémoire. At the same time, scholars in the field of cultural studies in both the English- and French-speaking worlds have become increasingly alert to the dialogue between past and present inscribed in a wide variety of cultural practices. In each of these fields, the role of differential power structures has been recognized as a major factor structuring the relationship between memory and culture. The Winthrop-King Institute for Contemporary French and Francophone Studies now plans to advance and refocus these debates by sponsoring an international conference on the dynamic interplay between cultural memory and the evolution of hierarchically structured collective identities in France. How and why have previously marginalized memories entered into mainstream conceptions of the past at different moments in time? To what extent have they been modified by or assimilated into dominant collective memories? In what ways and in what circumstances have formerly occluded or clandestine memories become the sites of rival power centers, subverting or surmounting dominant notions of the past? These are among the issues explored in this interdisciplinary conference.

Conceptions of French nationhood occupy a major but not unchallenged position in these debates. Taking his inspiration from the classical and medieval notion of loci memoriae, or memory places, Nora applied the term lieux de mémoire (sites of memory) to explore the role played by memory in the construction of the French idea of the nation. Yet in the medieval period from which Nora borrowed this term, the dominant forms of collective identity were vastly different from the modern conception of the nation-state. Moreover, as the final volumes of Nora's edited study attest, in the contemporary period the idea of a shared national past as the central framing device for collective identities in France has been increasingly challenged by sub-, trans- and supra-national forces which are reconstructing the topography of 'centers' and 'margins' in the spaces of cultural memory. The idea of the nation as the 'naturally' dominant center of collective memories is thus in many ways under siege in the work of historians, contemporary cultural analysts and many other scholars in a wide range of disciplines including literary studies, social anthropology, media studies and social psychology. In exploring these issues, conference speakers will focus on the complex interplay between memory, culture and social hierarchy during different historical periods, in which the idea of French nationhood has been a major but by no means the only center of gravity.

Keynote speakers

Malcolm Bowie (Christ's College, Cambridge)
Nelly Furman (Cornell University)
Lawrence D. Kritzman (Dartmouth College)

Possible Topics(other proposals will also be considered):

Gender, Marginalized Sexualities, the "Other"(e.g. the Woman, the Homosexual, the Jew) in the Construction of French Cultural and National Consciousness Throughout History.

The Museum as Locus of Cultural Memory and a Place for Redressing the Past : e.g. the Creation of Holocaust Museums, Museums of Immigration, of Colonization, etc.

Memory and War: e.g. Recent "Grande Guerre" Memorials and New Museums for Peace; 80th Anniversary of the Armistice, 50th Anniversary of D-Day; Memory and the Algerian War, etc.

Archives of Cultural Memory, Marginalia and Ephemera: e.g. from the Archives Nationales to the Bibliothèque de Documentation Internationale Contemporaine (BDIC).

Historiographical Revisions, Changing Conceptions and Reinterpretations of Key Periods in French History: e.g. Centennial and Bi-centennial Celebrations of the French Revolution and Other Watershed Moments of French History.

Comparative Perspectives on Cultural Memory: e.g. Case studies in France Compared with Other Nations, Paris Compared to other National Capitals.

Memory and the City: e.g. Conserving Urban Memories, the City as Text.

Region and Nation: Centralization and Marginalization, Paris and The provinces, Memory as a Regionally Bound Artefact, Marginalized Memories Of Regions and the Centralized Nation-State Memory, Conservation of Regional Memory, Regional Linguistic Identities, the Perception of Paris in the Regions in Past and Present.

France and Europe: e.g. French Cultural Memory as Distinct(or not) from a larger European Cultural Memory, The Influence of Cultural Memory on Racial and Social Diversity within a Larger European Background.

Deadline for submission of proposals: March 15, 2003. Abstracts of circa 300 words should be included with proposals for papers. Proposals for panels(with rationale of 300-500 words) are also welcome.

The conference will result in a volume of essays drawn from the proceedings.

Enquiries and proposals should be directed to the conference organizers:

Dr Aimée Boutin,, 850 644 8398
Dr Alec G. Hargreaves,, 850 644 8559
Dr Reinier Leushuis,, 850 644 8179
Dr Lori Walters,, 850 644 8301
or the Winthrop-King Institute for Contemporary French and Francophone


  • Tallahassee, États-Unis


  • samedi 15 mars 2003


  • ICFFS #
    courriel : icffs [at] mailer [dot] fsu [dot] edu

URLS de référence

Source de l'information

  • H-France #
    courriel : cfdks [at] eiu [dot] edu

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« Cultural Memory in France : Margins and Centers », Appel à contribution, Calenda, Publié le jeudi 14 novembre 2002,

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