Call for Papers: ASMCF–SSFH Postgraduate Study Day 2020

Call for papers

7 March 2020 – The Graduate School, Queen’s University, Belfast

Keynote: Dr Hannah Grayson, University of Stirling

« Chaque parole a des retentissements. Chaque silence aussi. »

Jean-Paul Sartre, ‘Présentation des Temps modernes’, in Situation II (1948)

Where dominant groups form in societies and start to define their own coherent narrative, this may become the rule by which the past, present and future should be written, remembered and represented. This multi-causal and multidirectional process inevitably leads to the construction, circulation and legitimisation of a ‘master narrative’ that, once institutionalised, limits opportunity for further/different/alternative interpretations to be expressed publicly. But beneath and around these loud voices exist many others which are often neglected, ignored, or actively suppressed and silenced. Crucially, many scholars working in and across the myriad of disciplines that constitute French Studies and French History, are giving parole to these peripheral narratives and allowing marginalised voices to be heard in and beyond France.

This Study Day seeks to bring together postgraduates ready to aim their cobble stones and break the silences that persist in all areas of French Studies, focusing on the period 1789 to the present. We invite proposals for ​20-minute papers in English or French​​ that include, but are not limited to, French and francophone history and society, literature, politics, linguistics, film and visual cultures, philosophy, critical theory, and other disciplines, as well as interdisciplinary approaches. We particularly welcome contributions from postgraduates overseas and those from under-represented groups.

Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Voice and Silence
  • Ordinary and extraordinary ways of breaking silence
  • Museums and archives
  • Acts of memory/le devoir de mémoire
  • Historiographical silences
  • Trauma, neurodivergence, bodily otherness
  • Death, silence, taboos
  • Pain and illness narratives/doctors and patients
  • Hard of hearing/disability
  • The visual and the observed
  • Exile(s) and refugees
  • Institutions, spaces and places
  • Buildings, objects and sites
  • Gender and Sexuality
  • Footnotes to history
  • Power and revolution/ war zones
  • Language and discourse(s) of silence
  • La Francophonie/beyond the Hexagone
  • (Post)colonialism, (de)colonialism, race
  • Rhetoric of silence
  • Forgotten histories and disconnected pasts
  • Competitive/ irreconcilable narratives
  • Periphery vs Centre
  • Myths and ‘reality’
  • Grassroot activism/Elite policy
  • Transitionary voice/liminality
  • Academic silence(s)
  • Symbolic violence

Abstracts of no more than 250 words, in either English or in French, should be sent to ​Submissions should be received by 9:00 AM UK time on Monday 13 January 2020.

Call for Flash Presentations

Share your own voice! We welcome proposals from MA and first year PhD students ​​to explain their own research in three minutes, limited to one PowerPoint slide OR one creative method of their choice. Research topics can be related to any subject connected to France.  

Please email ​ to express your interest.

The Study Day will include professional development panels and an opportunity to engage with senior academics from other institutions. It is generously funded by the Association for the Study of Modern and Contemporary France ​(​ASMCF​) and the Society for the Study of French History ​(SSFH)​​ and is supported logistically this year by our hosts at Queen’s University, Belfast. Attendance is free but all attendees are kindly requested to become members of one of the two societies before or on the day. Travel reimbursement and accommodation will be made available for speakers. All conference venues are fully accessible and we are very happy to discuss particular needs that participants might have and how we can best accommodate these.

Organising Committee​: Daniel Baker (Cardiff, SSFH), Megan Ison (Portsmouth, ASMCF) and Helen McKelvey (QUB, ASMCF)

CANCELLED-Talk: Gendered and racialised citizenship in Algeria: between colonialism and nationalism

Update 29.01.2019:

Cancelled. Will be reorganised later in the year.

Gendered and racialised citizenship in Algeria: between colonialism and nationalism

Natalya Vince, University of Portsmouth

30 January 2018 Milldam LE0.06,  2.00 – 3.30 pm



In 1951, Marie-Hélène Lefaucheux, former member of the French resistance and one of the founders of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, pointedly highlighted the incongruity of France not extending the right to vote to Muslim women in Algeria when many members of the Arab League were in the process of granting women’s suffrage. France was notoriously late in giving women the vote: women in France voted for the first time in 1945. This right was extended to French women of European origin living in Algeria – which at this point was an integral part of French territory and not ‘just’ a colony – but not ‘French Muslim’ (i.e. Algerian) women. This was supposedly out of respect for ‘tradition’ and the purported resistance of conservative Muslim men to ‘their’ women’s enfranchisement. In fact, since the second half of the nineteenth century, stereotypical representations of the Muslim woman as oppressed and backwards had been used by the French state as a justification for excluding Muslim men from full citizenship, presented as proof that they were not yet culturally ready to benefit from political rights. Whilst more Muslim men gained more voting rights in the first half of the twentieth century (albeit in truncated ways), Muslim women in Algeria were not granted the vote until 1958, in the middle of the one of the bloodiest anti-colonial conflicts of the twentieth century, the Algerian War of Independence (1954-62). By 1958, enfranchising Muslim women was part of a last ditch attempt by the French state to ‘win hearts and minds’ and sustain ‘French Algeria’. The National Liberation Front (FLN) called on Algerian women not to vote. In many cases, they were rounded up by the French army and forced to exercise their new ‘right’. This paper will outline the ways in which suffrage in colonial Algeria was gendered, racialised and instrumentalised, and reflect upon the impact of this on women’s citizenship in the post-independence period.