CfP – Femmes engagées : Women Intellectuals in France 1986 to present

Call for papers

Femmes engagées : Women Intellectuals in France 1986 to present

11-12 June 2009, IGRS (Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies), London

The fact that 2008 marks the centenary of Simone de Beauvoir’s birth allows
us to reflect on the place of women intellectuals in contemporary French
society. Even if the last twenty years haven’t seen the rise of a
Beauvoir-like figurehead who typifies the qualities of the intellectual,
nevertheless, women have become increasingly involved in many different
areas of intellectual life. Women have intervened in a range of domains:
politics, culture, journalism, art, literature in a context which shows the
growing interaction between the public and the private.

This conference seeks to establish a picture of the different types of
women’s interventions since Beauvoir’s death; it will also evaluate the
role of French and French speaking women intellectuals in France and
beyond. Throughout the course of this conference, we will look at the
reasons why women intervene in the public arena and by what methods, for
example, through the means of political/militant associations, academia as
well as more formal politics. We hope, through this conference, to
reappraise the link between engagement and women intellectuals and to
consider the role played, and indeed, the role still to be played by women
intellectuals in the sphere of culture, art, science, society and politics.

Though the focus of the conference will be mainly on the two decades since
Beauvoir’s death, papers that draw comparisons with historical exempla and
thus allow us to extend the historical and/or geographical parameters in
order to trace and compare the trajectories and characteristics of French
and French speaking women intellectuals throughout the ages will also be

Proposals may include, but are not limited to, the following themes:

-women and engagement
-the concept of the intellectual in France, the evolution of the definition
of the intellectual
-women intellectuals and the French speaking world
-women and the ‘death of French culture’
-journalism, new technologies and engagement
-literature and engagement
-philosophy and intellectual life
-feminism today in France
-the heritage of women intellectuals
-the impact of feminism on women today and the future of feminism
-women intellectuals and political parties
-the debates on parité and laïcité
-the role of associations in engagement (Chiennes de gardes, Ni putes ni
-engagement in art (plastic arts, cinema, music)
-French feminists and transnational links

Abstracts for papers (in English or in French) of 300 words approx should
be sent to the conference organisers: Elise Hugueny-Léger and Imogen Long,
before 30th June 2008.
We expect to publish the conference proceedings.

Elise Hugueny-Léger, St Andrews University (
Imogen Long, Leeds University (


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