HomeHistory, fiction, representations: the voices that build the Americas

HomeHistory, fiction, representations: the voices that build the Americas

History, fiction, representations: the voices that build the Americas

Les voix par lesquelles se construisent les Amériques

Las voces por las que se construyen las Américas: historia, ficción, representaciones

Histoire, fiction, représentations

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Published on Tuesday, October 08, 2013


Ce colloque se propose d’étudier l’état actuel, des années 1970 à nos jours, des questionnements sur l’américanité, saisie dans un sens à la fois local, national et transcontinental. Le continent américain a été et reste un pôle attractif pour des populations/des individus en quête d’un monde nouveau et meilleur, qu’il a acceptés et refoulés tout au long de son histoire. Comment l’américanité, réelle ou mythique, accueillante ou exclusive, opère-t-elle en tant que critère d’une recherche identitaire dans la réélaboration constante et l’évolution des visions culturelles de l’Amérique du nord et de l’Amérique latine ?



This conference aims at examining the present state of the interrogations on Americanness from the 1970s to the present day, the concept being understood in the local, national and transcontinental senses of the term. The American continent was and still is a magnet for populations or individuals in search of a better world, people that it has either accepted or rejected all along its history. How does Americanness, whether real or mythical, welcoming or exclusive, serve as a criterion for an identity quest within the constant redefinition and the evolution of the cultural visions of North America and Latin America?

Our questioned will inscribe itself within the historical inheritance of America as a land of discovery, conquest and colonization. Our interest will focus precisely on the voices that enable the construction, hence, necessarily, the invention of a world whose novelty now requires questioning: does the New World specifically and uniquely preserve this newness? The question of innovation and continuity, both in time and space, immediately comes to mind to whose interested in the Americas, from cross-perspectives on the geographical and cultural areas as well as the historical periods that are so many landmarks for identity construction.

What “voices” are we talking about? The term is to be understood in a broad sense that should no t be restricted to language, speech and discourse but rather open to notions of focalization, point of view, vision and style, thus involving different media. Those voices, whether historical, historiographic, literary, artistic, political or social, take the past into account to tell the present and head towards the future: what future is there for a multiple Americanness? We will take interest in the plural expression of Americanness through voices from the fringe, from the periphery, the subaltern that, however, are the very fabric of the Americas: immigrants, gays, women, Blacks, Native Americans, Chicanos, all speak out their distinct, unique voices, voices that, beyond their differences, may, however, reveal a form of Americanness that would be built and invented in the light of a questioning on identity categories. Those voices give birth to strategies of composition and structures that enable to express the mix and the plurality as well as to represent diversity, tension, motion and the rejection of a fixed categorization that is necessarily inadequate and sclerotic.

Trying to define a potential American specificity, we are dealing with issues of exchanges and interactions between cultures, whether they evolve on a global or a on a more strictly national level. Cultural plurality, which leads to a questioning of identity, finds an echo in the plurality of genres of expression, which encourages the development of innovative, pioneering discourses, genres that themselves are inscribed in a hybridizing trend where fiction – whether it be literary, pictorial or cinematographic – combines itself with historiography and sociology to create the diversity of the Americas.

Thus the conference proposes to cross the perspectives of the different disciplines and invites studies pertaining to literature, linguistics, history, art (painting, film…), sociology and social philosophy, political science, cultural geography for situations and productions going from the 1970s to the present day.

Main themes

Among the possible main themes to be approached from an interdisciplinary perspective:

  • History revisited by fiction. The historical novel or more precisely, to use Linda Hutcheon’s terminology, “historiographic metafiction” interrogates the representations of the heroes and key-periods of the Americas, breaks taboos, deconstructs visions and brings back towards the center the actors of history that had been forced aside by official discourse.

  • What role can fiction (literary, film) and art play in the evolution of the relationships between North America and Latin America?

  • What languages for the continent? Linguistic hybridity, present both in literature and in everyday life; a mixed languages halfway between Spanish and English opens out the path for a new identity for immigrants/Is there any future for the survival of the vernacular languages of the Indian populations? The individual and society: are marginal, peripheral, subaltern voices the new voices through which a new, reconstructed vision of the Americas expresses itself? Which place can be given to the individual in the political and economic systems that structure society?

  • The individual and space: can migratory movements and nomadism bring about an ever shifting identity of populations, of individuals?

  • How are the images of America that tend to build up the definition of Americanness contested and/or revisited from both within and without the continent? For instance, hasn’t the conquering power associated to the United States given birth, in the global world, to another power that needs to be reconsidered? Are the poverty, the subordination, the underdevelopment linked to Andean populations evolving identity markers?

Submission guidelines

Presentations should last 20 minutes at most in order to allow time for discussion.

The working languages will be English, French and Spanish.

Authors will be requested to send an abstract that will be translated by the organizers and handed in to participants in order to facilitate discussion.

Proposals (200 to 300 words), together with a brief bio of the author, should be sent to marie-jose.hanai@univ-rouen.fr and cecile.fouache@univ-rouen.fr

before December 15, 2013.

Decisions will be made by the scientific committee in January 2014 and notification of acceptance will be sent to authors in early February 2014.

The cost of registration for presenters is 60 euros.

It includes the lunches on November 13 and 14 as well the conference material. Registration is free for students.


  • Maison de l'Université - Rue Lavoisier
    Rouen, France (76)


  • Sunday, December 15, 2013


  • américanité, identités, cultures, fiction, langues, marginalité


  • Yamina Bensaadoune
    courriel : yamina [dot] bensaadoune [at] univ-rouen [dot] fr

Reference Urls

Information source

  • Yamina Bensaadoune
    courriel : yamina [dot] bensaadoune [at] univ-rouen [dot] fr


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

To cite this announcement

« History, fiction, representations: the voices that build the Americas », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, October 08, 2013, https://doi.org/10.58079/oh1

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