Writing through the Visual/Virtual (CFP)

Writing through the Visual/Virtual: Inscribing Language, Literature, and Culture in Francophone Africa and the Caribbean

Center for African Studies 2013 Conference
March 7‐9 2013

CFP deadline: 100 to 200‐word abstract and panel proposal by November 1, 2012

This two‐day conference at Rutgers University (New Brunswick) is designed to foster trans‐disciplinary understanding of the complex interplay between language/literature/arts and the visual and virtual domains of expressive culture in Francophone Africa and the Caribbean. It will explore the varied patterns of cultural, and especially writing, formations and practices arising from contemporary and historical forces that have impacted on the cultures and peoples of this trans‐Atlantic region that includes countries such as Algeria, Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Comoro Islands, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (DR), Dominica, Guadeloupe, Guiana, Haiti, Louisiana (USA), Mali, Martinique, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Senegal, Seychelles. Special attention will be paid to how scripts, though appearing to be merely decorative in function, are often used by artists and performers in the production of material and non‐material culture to tell “stories” of great significance, co‐mingling words and images in a way that leads to a creative synthesis that links the local and the global, the “classical” and the “popular” in new ways.  Possible topics for the conference include (but are not limited) to the following:

A. Graphic symbols and collective memory
B. Politics of fashion/political pagnes/proverbs on pagnes
C. Gendered spaces of writing (on walls, cooking pots, the ground, taps‐taps)
D. Comics/bandes dessinées, books, film and literacy
E. Body art (tattooing, scarification) using henna, ink
F. Reading relief, surface scripts, vèvè et vaudou
G. Inscribing orality: history, Hip‐Hop, and rap
H. Scripts: Bagam, calligraphy, graffiti, ideograms
I. Creation, publication, consumption, consumerism
J. Langue vernaculaire/langue véhiculaire : Kreyòl, Wolof, Lingala/French, Arabic
K. Intracultural/Intercultural communication and new technologies : blogs, Facebook, Twitter
L. Languages in contact: creolization, translation, and transnational dynamics

Proposals are invited from all disciplines. Proposals will be accepted for individual papers or for panels. Paper proposals must include the author’s name, the paper title, an abstract, and the author’s brief biography. Panel proposals must include a chair, list of no more than 4 presenters, a one‐page summary of the session theme, short bio and abstracts for all papers. In addition to papers, we also invite artists to submit their work for display. The conference will also include film screenings, art exhibitions, fashion shows.

Please submit electronically a 100 to 200‐word abstract and panel proposal by November 1, 2012 to the following address:

For more information, please visit the Rutgers University Center for African Studies website.