The Department of French at NYU announces its annual Graduate Student Conference: … but is it art?
March 8th and 9th, 2013

The Department of French at NYU is pleased to invite papers that explore how art is defined, institutionalized and practiced in the Francophone world. We are interested in how boundaries are established and shift between the spheres of art and non-art, and will welcome submissions that deal with all artistic genres and media, spanning all historical periods. Papers are welcome to focus on individual authors or works, or to approach the topic more theoretically. Interdisciplinary approaches are also encouraged.

Some questions we wish to examine in the conference are:
How do particular writers/filmmakers insert themselves into an artistic landscape? Do all writers situate themselves with regard to a concept of art? Why are certain creative works classified as ‘art’, while others are not, and what are the consequences of this? Can these works ever be said to exist in their own autonomous domain, separate from other fields of knowledge and from reality? What happens when works of ‘art’ are interpreted from a non-artistic perspective? How does the institutionalization of art affect our understanding of it? How have definitions of art evolved?
Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
 High vs. low culture
 Art critics/art criticism
 Committed literature and/vs. propaganda
 Obscenity trials or public outcry with ‘art’ as defense
 Literary hoaxes
 The difference between art and craft: which cultural practices count as ‘art’
 Art as ritual, rite, ceremony, transgression
 Cultural specificity of art/life boundaries: is ‘art’ a European-derived concept?
 Avant-garde movements
 Art and/vs. social sciences (history, anthropology, sociology, ethnography, philosophy)
 Aesthetics
 Autobiography/autofiction: when recollection becomes ‘art’
 Canon creation; the role of the academy in influencing ‘great’ literature
 Where art is created: literary circles, salons etc.

Papers may be given in either English or French and should be 8-10 pages in length. Participants may either choose to read their papers, in the manner of a traditional conference, or to have them pre-circulated for discussion, in a format like that of a workshop or colloquium. Submissions should be sent to by January 15th, 2013. Abstracts should be no more than 250 words and should include the presenter’s name, affiliation, and email address. Please specify which presentation format you would prefer in your email.