Nationalisme sans frontières I: The National Francophone Text(Panel)
Antoinette Williams-Tutt (Graduate Center, CUNY)
Can there be a national francophone text? Thinking beyond territorial markers of belonging and difference, are there experiences via French-language expression that resonate throughout the francophone world? Can the individualist act of writing resonate with a larger collective identity?
Despite the global controversy surrounding the littérature monde manifesto of 2007 that sought to decenter hexagonal, metropolitan French literature by eliminating the term for its peripheral foil, Francophone literature, the prevalence and accessibility of this literature of French expression outside of metropolitan France, whatever it will be called, continues to grow in as many rich and diverse forms as speakers of its language. Because the vast majority of the over 220 million French speakers worldwide are polylingual and often identify with multiple cultures, the idea of a national text within one set of geographic borders invites myriad complexities that may also echo within neighboring or even cross-hemispheric borders. Can French language expression in literature act as a connective pulse throughout the Caribbean, North America, Southeast Asia and North, West and Sub-Saharan Africa where there are as many vastly different personal and cultural histories as French language speakers?
This panel welcomes papers in English or French seeking to investigate issues of 20th- and 21st-century nationalism and/or national identities in Francophone literature with an emphasis on larger connective implications, if any, particularly in the digital age that further breaks down borders and skews toward globalization.