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The Enclave in the Anglophone World

L’enclave dans les mondes anglophones

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Published on Tuesday, June 09, 2015


Surrounded by a larger territory belonging to someone else, an enclave is a portion of territory where specific moral or social laws create a situation of isolation. The enclave is thus the privileged venue for particular phenomena that may only exist in this confined territory. It may be considered as an absolute alternative to the outside world, a utopia or a dystopia. By providing the possibility of a new start, the enclave raises the issue of escape or resistance, and brings up the problematic relationship that links it to the surrounding territory. The enclave thus creates a gap between interior and exterior, which allows it to contrast certain aspects, similar to a magnifying mirror. Beyond the territorial rupture, this symposium will explore and develop the network of complex relationships, which, from a geological, ontological and esthetic point of view, the enclave calls into question.



An enclave is a portion of territory within or surrounded by a larger territory belonging to someone else. Access to this territory is difficult due to moral or social laws being different from those of the territory which it is isolated from. “Enclave” comes from the latin root “lock with a key.” This etymology conveys the idea that access is possible, albeit extremely restricted. Thus, the enclave provides its totally hermetic condition while simultaneously allowing for possibilities to enter. By virtue of its isolation from the rest of the world, the enclave is thus the privileged venue for particular phenomena that may only exist in this confined territory.

When the hermetic character of the enclave is exacerbated, whether or not the surrounding world has any influence on it, it is still possible to consider it an absolute alternative to the outside world. Thus, the enclave becomes the place for all fantasies; for all exaggerations. Since it is separated, sealed off, the enclave can serve as a place for experimentation - the radiant city or the laboratory of horrors; a utopia or a dystopia. In any case, thanks to its isolation, the enclave has been able to claim the possibility of providing a new start. However, finding refuge in a utopian enclave brings up the question of escape or resistance. Behind this question lies another profound problem specific to the enclave: is the enclave a place in its own right, a removed place or a non-place? What relation links the enclave and the surrounding territory? Making a case of the enclave, taking into consideration a minority which takes its strength from opposing the surrounding majority is to acknowledge a territory in which its integration to a larger whole is problematic. Thus, the enclave questions the notions of integration and rejection, especially if we consider ethnic enclaves which, due not only to their geopolitical but their social nature as well, have fluid borders which articulate these contradictory notions in a complicated way.

We have seen that enclaves create a gap between interior and exterior, and thus the possibility of a contrast which allows for magnifying certain aspects by comparison. The enclave could thus act as a magnifying mirror. A paradox then appears: is the enclave the space of absolute difference, or does it simply reproduce social phenomena in a finer, a clearer manner, exacerbating these phenomena by smoothing out the surface of an exterior reality which is far too complex to be represented? The enclave does not only just bring about territorial ruptures, but above all it brings about a network of complex relations with its surroundings. Is it a privileged tool for representation or, on the contrary, a difficult place to chart due to its hermetic nature? Is it a refuge or a prison? What does it actually tell us on the concept of borders and affiliations? How does it develop its status of exception, and claim its status as a minor territory in a larger and more united world? These geopolitical, ontological and esthetic motifs of the enclave are what will be explored and developed at this conference.

Fields of study

  • Civilization: ethnic enclaves, reservations and concentration camps, transcendentalist societies
  • Literature: enclaves in the adventure novels/lost worlds, esthetic experiences as enclaves
  • Linguistics: morphological and syntactical specificities, morphological specificities of dialects, mental spaces

Submission guidelines

We will consider the proposals in French and English from doctoral students and young researchers from all disciplines of English studies. Talks will not exceed 20 minutes in length and will will discuss enclaves in the Anglophone world. Certain proposals will be selected to be published in Leaves: A Journal, CLIMA's online review.

Please send all propositions (around 3000 signs including punctuation marks) along with a short CV to:

before the 1st November 2015

Scientific and organizing committee

  • Rémy Arab-Fuentes, Doctoral student, teaching assistant, Université Bordeaux Montaigne 
  • James Perosi-Doughty, Doctoral student, teaching assistant, Université de Bordeaux 
  • Isabelle Gras, Doctoral student, Éducation Nationale


  • Maison des Sciences de l'Homme d'Aquitaine (MSHA) - 10, esplanade des Antilles
    Pessac, France (33)


  • Sunday, November 01, 2015

Attached files


  • enclave, Anglophone studies, Utopia, communities


  • Isabelle Gras
    courriel : isabelle [dot] gras [at] univ-amu [dot] fr
  • Rémy Arab-Fuentès
    courriel : remy [dot] arab-fuentes [at] u-bordeaux-montaigne [dot] fr
  • James Perosi-Doughty
    courriel : james [dot] doughty [at] u-bordeaux [dot] fr

Information source

  • Isabelle Gras
    courriel : isabelle [dot] gras [at] univ-amu [dot] fr


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

To cite this announcement

« The Enclave in the Anglophone World », Conference, symposium, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, June 09, 2015, https://doi.org/10.58079/sqz

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