Australian Society for French Studies Conference 2017: Truth and Representation
The Australian National University, 13-15 December
Confirmed keynote speakers:
Professor Nicki Hitchcott, University of St Andrews
Dr Chris Watkin, Monash University
What is truth and how do we represent it? For centuries philosophers, artists, theologians, and political thinkers have reflected on the nature of truth, each exploring the various rhetorical and visual strategies with which we might render its universality and its relativity. When we talk about truth, we call upon objectivity, authenticity, and verifiability. But we also inevitably evoke subjectivity, artifice, and mendacity. Indeed, to talk about truth is to recognise its intimate connection to lies.
In our current political climate, terms such as ‘post-truth’ and ‘fake news’ have become ubiquitous. In the wake of Brexit and the American presidential election, and leading up to the 2017 French election, politicians and the media continually call the status of truth and representation into question. How are we to determine what truth is when facts are manipulated to reflect and reinforce the opinions we already hold? How are we to retain our grasp on reality when we see our world increasingly through the mediation of the screen? Such questions bring to mind a much broader problematic surrounding our understanding of social, cultural, and political reality in the light of myriad and ever-evolving ideologies and theoretical orientations.
This conference seeks to reflect on these questions within French and Francophone Studies. What role can our interdisciplinary research play in negotiating the problems of truth and representation in the 21st century, from cultural studies and politics to literature and film? Our aim is to address these problems from a multiplicity of methodological approaches and areas of focus.
We invite proposals for individual papers (20 minutes) and for panels (3-4 papers of 20 minutes each) related to the theme of truth and representation. We will also consider proposals that do not conform directly to this theme. Possible topics for discussion may include, but are not limited to:
- Philosophical, theoretical, and historical/historiographical understandings of truth-making
- Representations of Otherness
- Reflections on language and the shaping of political discourse
- The role of truth in education, including plagiarism and academic dishonesty in the language classroom
- Film and the fluid boundaries of audio-visual representation
- Embodied truths, psychic truths, lived realities
- National myths and the politics of migration
- Life-writing/ Representing the truth of the self
- Truth and religious pluralism
- Postmodernism and post-truth
- Representation in (applied) linguistics and second language acquisition
- Imagination, or the truth of fiction
Organising committee: Leslie Barnes, Ashok Collins, Solène Inceoglu, and Gemma King, ANU.