Appel à contributions : Reorienting Cultural Flows: Engagements between France and East/Southeast Asia

Reorienting Cultural Flows: Engagements between France and East/Southeast Asia

The Winthrop-King Institute for Contemporary French and Francophone Studies

Florida State University

26-28 February 2015

Since the Jesuit missionaries first came to China in the sixteenth-century, there has been ongoing exchange, both splendid and tumultuous, between France and North/South East Asia that has resulted in cultural exchanges for both. Reorienting Cultural Flows proposes to explore this dynamic cultural dialogue with the hope of arriving at a deeper understanding of a complex web of interchange, which has included the wielding of French military power and religious zeal to invade and colonize parts of Asia and more recently an Asian economic and cultural ascendance that is shaping contemporary France and the world as a whole.

Between France and the nations of Asia there have been at times bloody disputes and mutual recriminations, and misunderstandings and uneven relations in cultural exchange often result in academic biases as well. While there are numerous facets to France’s significance in Asia, its impact within Asia has often been reduced only to a narrative of power, overlooking the forms of creative adaptation that have emerged through these interactions as well as numerous other intellectual contributions. French-Vietnamese architecture, the singular role that French film criticism has played in Japan’s cinema history, and more recently the annual Festival Croisements artistic collaboration in China all speak to France’s vital presence in Asia.

The influence that Asia has had on cultural production in France is equally profound: from the transformative impact of Asian representational programs upon artists in late 19th century France to the so-called Asia waves in French popular culture and the rich literary output of Asian exiles in the contemporary period. Reorienting Cultural Flows seeks to redress many of these historical oversights, while better penetrating the central dynamics as we move into an age that can no longer be conceived of as having a clear center.


Indeed the notion of an “Asian century” provokes questions about the legacy of France as a cultural hub, and its future role in a shifting landscape, as it also foregrounds the search among Asian nations to define a new place for themselves in a time of flux.

If the world appears perhaps more than ever to be characterized by multidirectional flows that shape how people and nations construct their position in the global sphere, these streams that transport fragments of culture continue to cause both anxiety and celebration. At this critical juncture it is fruitful to investigate both the historical roots of these dynamic interchanges and the many ways in which this wealth of influence enables us to better understand the present moment.To this end we will consider proposals from a variety of disciplines that explore the complex literary, artistic, philosophical, culinary, religious, and other cultural exchanges that have occurred between Asia and France.


Possible topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • French missionaries in Asia
  • The Orient and the French Enlightenment
  • Asian diasporic and exile literature in France
  • The influence of Asian culinary practices on contemporary French cuisine
  • Contemporary France-boom in Japanese fashion and food (or French culinary arts in Asia)
  • K-Pop Wave in France
  • Paris By Night Vietnamese-language variety show
  • Asian painters in Paris
  • Reception of French arts in Asia
  • Interwar and Postwar modern/contemporary art circles in Japan (eg surrealism)
  • The image of Asians in French cinema
  • Early film culture in France and Asia
  • Paris Exhibition Universale
  • Neo-colonial architecture in Southeast Asia
  • “Indochinese Art” and “Indo-European” artists
  • Architectural Mimicry, such as Petite France resort in Korea
  • The idea of a “quartier chinois” in the contemporary French city
  • Manga and otaku culture in France

Deadline for proposals: 1 August 2014
To propose a paper or a panel please use the following link:
For further information, please contact the organizers:
Bill Cloonan (; Aaron Lan (; Laura Lee (; or Martin Munro (

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