[AIW] CFP: Post(-)America [French Association of American Studies Conference], Université de Lille, Lille/France, 26-29 May 2020 & Graduate Student Symposium, May 26, 2020

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Wed Jan 22 12:09:59 CET 2020

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Call for Papers

Association Française d'Etudes Américaines (AFEA) / French Association for
American Studies Conference


Université de Lille, Lille/France

26-29 May 2020



Michel Feith (Nantes University)

Delphine Letort (Le Mans University)

Marie-Christine Michaud (Université of South Britanny, Lorient)



The history of the United States has been defined by an ideology of motion :
a belief in collective and individual progress has prompted political
reforms, technological innovations, cultural revolutions, economic
transformations. This ethos of progress and improvement has fed a mythology
– the Conquest of the West in the 19th century or that of space in the 20th
and 21th centuries – which tends to overshadow the dark side of American
history. A “Post-America” would expose the contradictions between
progressive discourses and nationalistic, even conservative, trends, between
ethical principles and Realpolitik, which have been made manifest by the
societal impasses of the last few years.


This polymorphic, ambiguous prefix, “post-,” can first be understood in the
chronological mode : it designates a temporality of aftermaths, reminding of
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), traces of a past that does not pass,
cannot be forgotten, and keeps haunting the present. The post-slavery period
marked a new transition for the emancipated slaves, whom the abolition of
bondage had not yet endowed with full citizenship rights. The
Post-Reconstruction years witnessed the emergence of a revisionist
discourse, crafted by the historians of the Dunning school. The prefix
“post-” evokes an “after,” sometimes an anticlimax, and invites a close
reading of years that are often not considered highlights of the national
narrative. For example, the Post-World War II period was characterized by a
real backlash for women, brought to light by Betty Friedan. The Post-Cold
War era signaled the end of a world divided between East and West, and the
rise of new global geopolitical forces.


Besides, the prefix “post-” is often employed as a critical particle,
commonly designating what emerges when belief in the great metanarratives
(like Progress, for example
) starts to wane. The “post” is an era of
suspicion, inaugurated by the debates on postmodernism and postmodernity.
Since the 1960s, the United States seems to have entered the era of
“post-truth” or “post-facts,” a moment of crisis when the prophecies of a
“desert of the real” appear to have been confirmed, not only by the works of
aesthetic avant-gardes, but even by the disciplines of political science and
history. Is a refoundation of democracy and its language still possible, or
has the current conjunction between populism and “big data” ushered in an
irreversible paradigm shift ?


The question of the “post” is also that of the transplantation of foreign
concepts or artistic movements. The 1913 Armory Show introduced
postimpressionism to New York, as a prelude to the appropriation of an
avant-garde, which would a few decades later lead to the American
preeminence – or will to preeminence – in artistic creation and the art
market. The trans-lation into U.S. universities of European
poststructuralism can partly be represented as a “creative misprision” of
French Theory, in response to local power stakes (François Cusset).


The “post” can also herald utopian claims, in the present or future tense.
The problematic affirmation of a postracial America seems discredited by the
increasing visibility of unreconstructed racism, whereas the proponents of a
“post-soul” or “post-black” aesthetic advocate a creativity emancipated from
predetermined identity canons.


Could the “post” represent the future of humankind, as suggested by
discussions of the posthuman condition, which may usher in a new society
promising to transcend not only racial boundaries but also, thanks to
technologies of augmented humanity, the limits of the body ? One could
interrogate the problematic relations between the post- and trans-human, in
a time when some critics announce the passing of posthumanism, and “cyborg”
ethics and aesthetics (Haraway) may have encountered their own “post-.”


On the dark side of utopia, postapocalyptic fiction in literature, film and
videogames envisages this future as an epic of destruction and – possibly –
renewal, often by dint of special effects that reinvent science fiction in a
3-D format. Does it mainly represent a comeback of the inaugural Frontier
myth, or does it acknowledge the programmed obsolescence of History, the
coming of a “post-history” ? Does it dimly sense the transition from the
20th, the “American Century,” to a post-American century, when the
geopolitical and cultural center of gravity of the world has shifted towards
Asia, or space ?


If the “post-” encapsulates this quest for self-surpassing, for procedures
to master the unknown, for the “beyond” typical of American society, culture
and arts, it is also the signifier of a haunting aftermath worth
interrogating. Is the current fashion of variegated, motley “posts” only a
language game, a posture – or imposture – destined to give the illusion of
motion ? Conversely, do the questioning and multiple attempts to surpass the
“post-” merely duplicate or square it : in other words, does the post- of
the “post” amount to a more radical or reactionary move ? The potentialities
and limits of this particle – which is not so elementary after all – will be
the focus of the inquiries and debates of the 2020 AFEA Conference.



Call for Presentations

Association Française d'Etudes Américaines (AFEA) / French Association for
American Studies

Graduate Student Symposium

Université de Lille, Lille/France

May 26, 2020


The French Association for American Studies invites doctoral students in
American studies to take part in the Graduate Symposium (“Doctoriales”)
specifically organized on their behalf during its annual conference. This
year's workshops will be held on Tuesday, May 26, 2020 (9am-5pm) at the
University of Lille (France). The conference will take place on May 27-29.
For further information, please check our website:  <http://www.afea.fr>


The AFEA has been encouraging the internationalization of its Graduate
Student Symposium by offering grants up to 350 euros each to help cover
travel expenses for students affiliated to a university abroad whose
institutions do not cover the full costs of travel and accommodation. All
applicants for the grant must provide the detail of their estimated costs
and certification of the funding secured. All students are, in addition,
invited to attend the whole conference free of registration charges. 

The symposium provides an opportunity for PhD students to present their
research in a less formal setting than that of a full conference panel and
confront it to that of other European scholars. Doctoral students may be at
an early or more advanced stage of their research. The proposals will be
responded to by professors specializing in related fields. Candidates are
invited to give their presentations in English within one of the two
workshops offered: 1) American literature, or 2) American “civilization”
(history, sociology, political science...). Proposals relevant to both
fields (film studies, visual arts or music, for instance), or to another
field (such as translation studies or linguistics) can be sent to either of
the co-chairs.



Candidates must send a Curriculum Vitae and a 500-word abstract summarizing
their dissertation proposal, plus an estimated budget of traveling expenses
and funding otherwise available to them. They must mention the year when
they began their PhD as well as the name and affiliation of their advisor.

*	Proposals in civilization studies must be sent electronically to
both Professor Françoise Coste ( <mailto:coste.francoise at gmail.com>
coste.francoise at gmail.com) and Professor Hélène Quanquin (
<mailto:helene.quanquin at univ-lille.fr> helene.quanquin at univ-lille.fr)
*	Proposals in literary studies must be sent electronically to both
Professors Ronan Ludot-Vlasak ( <mailto:ronan.ludot-vlasak at univ-lille.fr>
ronan.ludot-vlasak at univ-lille.fr) and Anne Ullmo (
<mailto:anneullmo1 at gmail.com> anneullmo1 at gmail.com). 


Deadline for application: February 15, 2020. The symposium organizers will
respond to all applicants by March 15, 2020.


Professors Françoise Coste, Ronan Ludot-Vlasak, Hélène Quanquin and Anne



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