In the face of repressive regimes from Indochina to Vichy France, from Haiti to Cameroon, dissidents could face severe, or even lethal, punishment. How does the fear of denunciation give rise to coded writings that criticize and subvert the status quo? In and beyond these contexts, how does fear cloud reason or induce clarity? Can it also have positive, not simply negative, effects? When is fear “natural” and when is it not? Who plays a role in shaping these perceptions? How and by whom is it incited and manipulated, diverted and channeled, coped with, suppressed and overcome? To what end? The 21st Annual Graduate Student Conference of the UCLA Department of French and Francophone Studies, seeks to explore the reverberations of fear in French and Francophone literatures, languages, arts, cultures, and histories across time periods and disciplines. We understand fear to include empirical and conceptual engagements with the notions of terror, horror, panic, and phobia. We are interested in how these may be connected to creative endeavor, literary and artistic movements, political and economic gain, and aesthetic and cultural transformations. Our aim is to address concerns of importance to scholars in literature, history, film and media studies, art history, sociology, anthropology, gender studies, and philosophy.
Keynote speaker: Tracy D. Sharpling-Whiting, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Distinguished Professor of Humanities (African American Diaspora Studies and French), Vanderbilt University
Sharpley-Whiting has published 14 scholarly books; her most recent, Bricktop’s Paris: African American Women in Paris Between the Two World Wars and The Autobiography of Ada “Bricktop” Smith, or Miss Baker Regrets (SUNY Press, February 2015), consists of two-parts, a nonfiction multi-life history followed by a noirmystery. The book was an American Library in Paris Book Award Long List selection and a Choice 2015 Outstanding Academic Title. She is currently at-work on a scholarly volume, A Quartet in Four French Movements: A Voodoo Queen, A French Romantic, a Poet, and an African Ethnologist, as well as a family history. She is on the Executive Council of the Modern Language Association (2014-2018) and is the editor of Palimpsest: A Journal on Women, Gender, and the Black International.