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Sixteenth George Rudé Seminar in French History and Civilisation

9-11 July 2008
Brisbane, Australia


The University of Queensland is pleased to announce that the Sixteenth George Rudé Seminar in French History will be held in Brisbane, Australia, from 9 to 11 July 2008 hosted by the Centre for the History of European Discourses. The biennial Rudé Seminar continues a French history tradition that distinguished George Rudé's tenure in Australia. The Seminar for 2008 will accord a particular place to research in cultural history, but will welcome papers on all aspects of French history. The Rudé Seminar welcomes individual papers, which the organisers will arrange in sessions of two or three papers. Should you prefer to organise a panel, please let us know.


Keynote speakers for the conference are:

Colin Jones, who is Professor of History at Queen Mary, University of London. Colin Jones is the author of many important books on the cultural and social history of eighteenth-century France, including The Medical World of Early Modern France (1997, with Laurence Brockliss); The Great Nation: France from Louis XV to Napoleon, 1715-1799 (2002); Madame de Pompadour and her Image (2002); and Paris: Biography of a City (2004). He is currently working on a history of teeth and smiles in eighteenth-century Paris.

Christine Bard, who is Professeure des universités at the Université d'Angers. Her books include Les Filles de Marianne. Histoires des féminismes. 1914-1940 (1995); Les Garçonnes. Modes et fantasmes des Années folles (1998); Les Femmes dans la société française au XXe siècle (2001). Her most recent book, Une Histoire politique du pantalon, is due to appear in early 2008.

Fabrice Virgili, who is Directeur de recherche of the CNRS group IRICE (Identités, relations internationales et civilisations de l'Europe) at the Univerisité de Paris 1. He is author of La France "virile": Des femmes tondues à la liberation (2000), and co-author of Hommes et femmes dans la France en guerre, 1914-1945 (2003). He is currently working on a project about children born of Franco-German couples during World War Two.

Day three of the Seminar (Friday 11 July) is a special theme day: "Revising gender and sexuality in nation, race and identity". Here we invite scholars working on gender and sexuality history to contribute papers that address questions of how gendered and sexual meaning have been constructed in French sources that were not specifically conceived by their authors as texts about such matters, as well as those that were. How do visions of appropriate masculinity and femininity, about sexual desires and categories appear in hygienist, nationalist, racist, right and left-wing, colonial, medical, legal sources, as opposed to how they appear in sexological, erotic or other kinds of texts that proclaim their object to be sexuality or gender? How is meaning about sexuality and gender created, en passant, within the construction of other kinds of identities and ideologies? We particularly welcome papers that address the ways in which sexual, gender and bodily imagery, metaphors and discourses have been invoked about the past in retrospect as questions of historical memory. We also welcome papers on all forms of ideological struggle where identity and difference were constructed through visions of sex and gender. What too are the limits of sex and gender as historical categories? Can we explain the past in these terms without reiterating pathologising or sexualising myths, or without allowing presentist concerns to determine our categories of knowledge? What is at stake in the different style of historical approach (political, social, cultural, intellectual) in the writing of such histories? The seminar will feature a keynote address by Fabrice Virgili from Paris 1, who has received broad critical acclaim for his demonstration that the notion of the tondue as a sexual traitor was itself a sexualisation of female collaboration.

We hope that historians of France from abroad will take this opportunity to visit us and to see Australia. Brisbane is Australia's most northern capital on the Pacific Rim, and its third-largest city with a population of about 1.6 million. It is a cosmopolitan city with quality hotels, restaurants, cafés, night-life, and museums. The city centre sits within a tropical landscape and is built along the undulating Brisbane River. It is close to the coast, surrounded by hills and in close proximity to some stunning natural attractions including the World Heritage listed Fraser Island, the endless beaches of the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast, and the rich forests of Mt Tambourine, Glasshouse Mountains and Bunya national parks. The June-July period is generally warm, dry and sunny (day 20-25C, night 8-12C).



Please let us know if you are thinking of joining us for the conference, if you would like to be on our mailing list for this or future Rudé conferences, or if you need further information.







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