April 21-22, 2017 | Brown University | Providence, Rhode Island
Keynote: Odile Cazenave
Professor of French, Boston University
Memory is a deceptively simple concept, seemingly universal in its experiential familiarity,
yet handled in a diverse variety of ways by writers and theorists across literary,
philosophical, psychological, and historical fields. We are at once aware of memory’s
essential role in perception and identity, and of its glaring instabilities, gaps, and
(mis)appropriations—its often violent ruptures. Equinoxes 2017 aims to highlight and
explore the notion of memory as it plays out in French and Francophone contexts and
corresponding cultural productions.
From Lumières theories of selfhood as a continuity of consciousness, to more modern
questions of psychoanalysis, repression, and trauma theory, the modes and mechanisms
of remembering—or failing to remember—are critical to individual identity construction.
At the same time, memory is collective as well as individual: historical narratives, national
identities, and traditional cultural practices are all constitutive of, and predicated upon,
acts of remembrance (as well as national acts of conscious and unconscious forgetting).
How do personal and public memory intersect, and what is the interplay between their
respective lacunae? How can art and language recreate lived personal or historical
moments? How do commemoration, narration, and canonization affect the ways that we
remember, and the gaps in those memories? What is at stake in the interaction between
dominant and subaltern modes of memorialization? And how do public discourses of
memory appropriate and complicate individual relationships to events?
As an interdisciplinary conference, Equinoxes encourages submissions from a variety of
fields including but not limited to history, ethnography, anthropology, literature, media
studies, sociology, art history, and political science, provided that the presentation relate
to French or Francophone spheres.
Possible topics of discussion might include:
o Childhood/childhood narratives
o Psychoanalysis/repression/the Unconscious
o Pathology: amnesia, Alzheimer’s, insanity, etc.
o National/historical Identities
o Postcolonial legacies
o (Film) Adaptation/retellings
o Lieux de mémoire
o Subject Formation
o Survivor Narratives
o Cultural inheritances/heritage
o Material history/relics/artifacts
Graduate students who wish to participate in the conference should submit an abstract
of no more than 250 words. Abstracts must be sent, as attachments, to
brown.equinoxes[at]gmail.com before January 15, 2017. Emails should include the
author’s name, institutional affiliation, and contact information. Presentations, whether
in English or in French, should not exceed 20 minutes.