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Counterculture : Existence and Persistence

Contre-culture : existences et persistances

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Published on Wednesday, August 27, 2014


We invite artists and researchers to send us proposals for any kind of workshop (exhibits, unconferences, discussion groups, burst-interventions, talks, round tables, etc.) for the conference “Counterculture: Existence and Persistence,” which will take place in Montreal from October 22 to October 24, 2015.



Although commonly associated with the sixties alone, counterculture remains to this day a key to understanding numerous cultural and protest movements. Considering the stereotypes that surround its depiction, one should however wonder whether counterculture has been brought to a standstill by an implicit definition. That option would not be all that surprising, since counterculture is hardly understandable if not from within and that it is utterly complex to circumscribe the movement or, more largely, seize it. Counterculture hence appears to make use of Foucault’s claim: “Do not ask me who I am and do not ask me to stay the same” (1969: 28, we translate) to constantly provide researchers with new challenges, leaving us with the question that should yet subsume them all: what are we looking for?

The main reason for this state of affairs is that the identity of counterculture is based on a series of contrasts (Duchastel 1978). It consequently opposes regional initiatives (La vraie fanfare fuckée, Le grand cirque ordinaire, Le Petit Québec libre) to the performance of the metropolis (La nuit de la poésie 1970, L’Osstidcho), nomadism (Magical Mystery Tour, pilgrimages) to sedentarity (hippie communes), yippy nihilism to hippie pacifism (Doggett 2007), and an allegedly underground culture to a mass, mainstream one. Under that light, the “counterculture” tag constitutes a polymorphic item, which associates the movement with an indeterminacy (both historic and structural) that would be at its core.

To avoid this difficulty, the conference “Counterculture: Existence and Persistence” intends to produce a non-essentialist reflection on various countercultures that would allow us to perceive the first few sentences of a movement, with its own artefacts, venues, and affects; the first chapter of an influence that persists in the performative practices and originality imperative that still muzzles authors (Heinich 2005); and the first volume of a becoming. In other words, the event poses counterculture as a permanent quest.

We hence believe it is crucial, at the dawn of the 40th anniversary of the International Meeting of Counterculture, which occurred in Montreal from April 21 to April 27, 1975 inclusively, to pay attention to the concepts and notions pertaining to counterculture and further a deterritorialized and ahistorical amalgamation of our individual results that better represents our object of study while respecting its diversity.

We consequently invite artists and researchers to send us proposals for any kind of workshop (exhibits, unconferences, discussion groups, burst-interventions, talks, round tables, etc.) for the conference “Counterculture: Existence and Persistence,” which will take place in Montreal from October 22 to October 24, 2015. Potential subjects include, but are not limited to:

the key concepts of counterculture (action, antihistory, deterritorialiation, expense, performance, multidisciplinarity, praxis, (failed) quest, transfer and influence networks, etc.);

the inscription of counterculture in space and the geographic movement of its adherents;

the multilingual and multiethnic connections of counterculture;

the contemporaneous forms of counterculture;

the aesthetic, social and philosophical origins of counterculture.

Please note that we are open to all variants of counterculture, and that comparative methods, along with unusual and/or original propositions, are particularly welcome. Alternatively, we wish to inform potential candidates that we will not reimburse transportation and accommodation fees.


Allard, Patrick. 2003. Morphologie et enjeu hiéropanique de la citation chez Patrick Straram. M.A. thesis. Montreal: University of Montreal.

Beauchemin-Lachapelle, Hugo. 2012. Paul Chamberland, de Parti pris à la contre-culture, M.A. thesis. Montreal: Université du Québec à Montréal.

Beaudry, Jennifer. 2010. Vers une scène commune : rapports croisés entre poésie et chanson chez Raoul Duguay (1966-1970). M.A. thesis. Montreal: University of Montreal.

Bourseiller, Christophe and Olivier Penot-Lacassagne (ed.). 2013. Contre-cultures!. Paris: Éditions du CNRS.

Dogget, Peter. 2007. There’s a Riot Going On. Revolutionaries, Rock Stars and the Rise and Fall of ‘60s Counter-Culture. Edinburgh/New York/Melbourne: Canongate.

Duchastel, Jules. 1978. Théorie ou idéologie de la jeunesse : discours et mouvement social. Ph.D. thesis. Montreal: University of Montreal.

Dulude, Sébastien. 2014. Esthétique et performatif typographique du recueil de poésie contre-culturel québécois. Ph.D. thesis. Trois-Rivières: Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières.

Elawani, Ralph. 2014. C’est complet au royaume des morts. Emmanuel Cocke le cascadeur de l’esprit. Montreal: Tête première

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Roy, Bruno. 2008. L’Osstidcho ou Le désordre libérateur. Montreal: XYZ.

Vachon, Marc. 2003. L’arpenteur de la ville : l’utopie urbaine situationniste et Patrick Straram. Montreal: Triptyque.

Warren, Jean-Philippe. 2008. Une douce anarchie. Les années 68 au Québec. Montreal: Boréal.

Guidelines submission

Proposals, written in either French or English, should not exceed 250 words for a single researcher or 500 words for an entire workshop,

and need to be sent by October 15, 2014.

All proposals must also include a 150 words biobibliographical statement for every participant, also sent at the following address: contreculture2015@gmail.com

The symposium will take place in Montreal, October 15-17, 2015 

The organizing and scientific committee

  • Simon Harel (Directeur du Département de littérature comparée, Université de Montréal, littérature)
  • Terry Cochran (Professeur titulaire, Université de Montréal, littérature et langage)
  • Jonathan Lamy-Beaupré (Chercheur postdoctoral, Université Laval, littérature et sémiologie)
  • Simon-Pier Labelle-Hogue 


Simon Harel
Head of Department
Department of Comparative Literature
University of Montreal
P.O. 6128, Centertown branch
Montreal (Quebec), Canada, H3C 3J7


  • Wednesday, October 15, 2014


  • contre-culture, underground, déterritorialisation, action


  • Simon-Pier Labelle-Hogue
    courriel : simon-pier [dot] labelle-hogue [at] mail [dot] mcgill [dot] ca

Information source

  • Simon-Pier Labelle-Hogue
    courriel : simon-pier [dot] labelle-hogue [at] mail [dot] mcgill [dot] ca


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

To cite this announcement

« Counterculture : Existence and Persistence », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Wednesday, August 27, 2014, https://calenda.org/297226

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