This panel invites explorations of the theme of surplus through literary activity taking place outside the book in francophone literatures. What exceeds the bound pages of the book in community building around reading and literature, through (physical or virtual) spaces like book clubs and community groups in libraries, community centers, or bookshops? What spaces in the francosphere create structures for exchange, community, activism, or simply shared enthusiasm? Who curates these spaces and what are their aims?
These community spaces may be resistant to or aligned with for-profit models of publishing, as Madhu Krishnan and Kate Wallis have contrasted entrepreneurial vs. “literary activist” models for small publishers on the African continent. What are the affordances of each model–for readers, for authors, for other stakeholders? Of particular interest are papers that engage with affect theory to take into account how participants respond to/in these communities and spaces. What is the emotional dimension to an act that is, in the 21st century (though not necessarily historically) a solitary activity–reading?
In its investigation into where literature is happening today, and who is doing it, this panel aims to be expansive in its conception of spaces, and may include inquiries into what we may conceive of as more “traditional” book club and academic spaces, but also BookTok networks, virtual reading groups, etc. While this panel takes as its point of departure more recent trends in contemporary literature, papers that ground these relatively new phenomena in earlier models and practices in French/francophone literatures are welcome.
With particular interest in community responses organized by/for marginalized groups, this panel is also invested in how communities of readers can be potential hubs of resistance against recent moves to curtail speech and efforts to regulate the bodies of women, trans and nonbinary folks, and people of color.
Abstracts are due 30 September 2023 via NeMLA’s online submission platform. For questions, contact Kristen_Stern [at] uml [dot] edu.