Symposium October 2017, Tulane University

October 19-20, 2017, Tulane University

Program PARIFA October 2017

Poster PARIFA October 2017

Our goal is to develop new projects and methods for approaching the history of performance in the Francophone Circum-Atlantic world. We understand performance in the broadest sense, and our partners study the full range from traditional theatrical performance to social and street dancing, Mardi Gras masking and parading, and performances of race and gender in everyday life, in New Orleans and French/Francophone, Metropolitan and colonial contexts. As historians of theater and dance, of culture and carnival (from late 17th-mid-19th century), relying on texts of law, notarial records, police archives, as well as theater and museum collections, participants seek to share their knowledge of the kinds of archives available in New Orleans as well as abroad that can help us apprehend such performances. In 2017, Professor Balides will bring her archival work on the reform movement in turn of the century New Orleans (in cinema, urban planning and social justice) into conversation with that of historians of earlier periods.


 Thursday, October 19

Evening Session: 6:30-8:30pm, NH207

Opening session: New Orleans as archive.

Opening remarks

Felicia McCarren, Professor, Department of French and Italian, Tulane University

Professor McCarren is a performance historian and cultural theorist. In her work, McCarren has focused on how performances—and especially female performers–with their tremendous cultural power in certain historical contexts, created the conditions of possibility for new ways of understanding bodies and the modern medical, visual and industrial technologies that have shaped them.

Lecture by Professor Constance Balides: “Intertext, Performance, Space: Children Who Labor and the National Child Labor Conference in New Orleans, 1914”

Constance Balides is Associate Professor of Communication,
Director of Film Studies, and Suzanne and Stephen Weiss
Presidential Fellow, Tulane University. She has recently published
on the archive, intermediality, and contemporary cinema in
“Intertext as Archive: Méliès, Hugo, and New Silent Cinema,”
which appeared in New Silent Cinema (Routledge, 2016), and on
women, archives, and silent cinema in “Sociological Film,
Reform Publicity, and the Secular Spectator: Social Problems in
the Transitional Era” in Feminist Media Histories (October 2017).
In 2010, she received Tulane University’s teaching award for
undergraduate education, the Suzanne and Stephen Weiss
Presidential Fellows Award. In 2013, she received the Pedagogy
Award, Society for Cinema and Media Studies.

Friday, October 20

Workshop 1: Performances of Difference in the Early
Modern French Atlantic Archive (9:00-10:30am)

Ellen Welch, Associate Professor, Department of Romance Studies, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill: “Performing Race, Diplomacy, and Empire in the
Early Modern French Atlantic”

Ellen Welch is Associate Professor in the Department of
Romance Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill. Her research focuses on
the relationship between literature and France’s early modern
global engagements as manifested in theater and performance,
diplomacy, translation, travel, trade and early imperialism. She is
the author of A Taste for the Foreign: Worldly Knowledge and Literary Pleasure in Early Modern French Fiction (Delaware, 2011) and A Theater of Diplomacy: International Relations and the Performing Arts in Early Modern France (UPenn, 2017), as well as numerous articles in The Journal of Early Modern Cultural Studies, Littératures classiques, Republics of Letters, French Studies, the collective work French Renaissance and Baroque Drama: Text, Performance, Theory, and other venues.

Toby Wikström, Assistant Professor, Department of French and Italian, Tulane University: “Spectacles of
Cross-Cultural Religious Conversion in the
Seventeenth-Century French Atlantic World”

Toby Wikström, Assistant Professor in the Department of
French and Italian at Tulane, works on sixteenth- and
seventeenth-century literature and culture, with a particular
emphasis on globalization, cross-cultural encounters, literature
and law, performance, and post-colonial theory. In his book
project Staging and Erasing the Global in Early Modern France, he
traces the theater’s subversive engagement with globalization in
the 1600s and the gradual elimination of cross-cultural
encounters from the dramatic stage during the reign of Louis
XIV. Wikström has published on the early modern French
global theater and the development of European identity in
L’Esprit créateur and the edited volumes Les Nouveaux Mondes
juridiques – Du Moyen Âge au XVIIe siècle and The Dialectics of
Orientalism in Early Modern Europe.


Ashley Williard, Assistant Professor, Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, University of South Carolina-Columbia: “Performances of Race and Gender in the Early French Caribbean Archive”

Ashley Williard is Assistant Professor of French Cultural Studies
in the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at the
University of South Carolina-Columbia. Her interdisciplinary
research examines representations of difference in the early
modern French Atlantic world. In her current book project
Engendering Islands, Williard analyzes the ways missionaries,
officials, adventurers, and travelers deployed and transformed
metropolitan tropes of femininity and masculinity in the
seventeenth-century Caribbean. In close textual readings of
archival and narrative sources, she shows the ways in which
gender played a central role in defining colonial others, male and
female, and contributed to emerging notions of racial difference
that justified slavery and colonial domination, thus setting the
stage for centuries of French imperialism. Her work has also
appeared in Biblio 17 and The French Review.

Coffee Break (10:30-10:45)


Round table questions and discussion with the panel

Lunch Break (12:00-2:00pm)

Workshop 2: Circum-Atlantic Performance and
Resistance in the 18th-Century Archive (2:00-3:00pm)

Emily Clark, Tulane University: “The Ceremonial
Public Sphere: The New Orleans Free Black Militia,


Professor Clark’s research focuses on Early America and the
Atlantic World, particularly the Francophone Atlantic. She uses
the history of places like Louisiana and the French Antilles to
bring a new outlook on the development of racial, ethnic, and
national identities in the wider Atlantic world and in other parts
of colonial and early national America. Her most recent book,
published in 2013 by the University of North Carolina Press, The
Strange History of the American Quadroon, historicizes the figures of the quadroon and the “tragic mulatta,” their links with Haiti and
New Orleans, and the role they have played in shaping national
American memory and identity. Her presentation will focus on
the various ways that members of the colonial free black militia
“performed” their roles as military leaders and men of honor in
public space in New Orleans.

Coffee Break

Workshop 3: Archives and Theory in the Postcolonial
Atlantic (3:15-4:00pm)
Michael Wiedorn, Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts,
Georgia Institute of Technology: “How Vitalism and
Spiritualism Found Their Home in the French Atlantic
World: Triangulating the New Orleans Spiritualists,
Glissant, and Deleuze”

Michael Wiedorn is Associate Professor of French in the School
of Modern Languages at the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts,
within the Georgia Institute of Technology. Previously he served
as an Assistant Professor at St. Edward’s University and as a
Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Tulane University, after receiving
his Ph.D. from the Program in Comparative Literature and
Literary Theory at the University of Pennsylvania. His book,
Think Like an Archipelago: Paradox in the Work of Edouard
Glissant, is forthcoming from SUNY Press. Other publications
have appeared in The International Journal of Francophone
Studies, Callaloo, the annual publication of the Society for
Francophone Postcolonial Studies, and The Encyclopedia of the
Novel, as well as in edited volumes in English and French.

Workshop 4: Performing Archives (4:00-5:00pm)

Felicia McCarren, Tulane University
Round table Discussion: researchers at different stages
of their projects will talk about an archival source.
Open to graduate students and participating faculty,
with invited guests.

Felicia McCarren, Tulane University: Closing remarks