University of Calgary

Francophones in Greece

UToday HomeMay 18, 2012

By Caitlyn Spencer

Eileen Lohka, associate professor of French, is heading the Conseil International d’Études Francophones conference for the third year running. This year’s convention will be held in June in Thessaloniki, Greece, around the theme of the French word passage. This will be CIÉF’s 26th conference.

While many academic conferences have smaller, more specific foci binding panelists together, CIÉF covers Francophone topics at the broadest level, hosting papers on literature, pedagogy, linguistics, cultural studies, and other disciplines.

In previous years, the conference has explored topics of colonialism, representations of violence and madness in literature, the challenges of translation, and identity construction in Francophone education.

This year’s conference will include presentations on pedagogy in French multiethnic communities, art as a medium for Francophone dialogue, and transnationalism in Europe, among many others.

Though going through up to 500 proposals to select panelists for the conference is taxing, Lohka says the hard work is well worth it.

“Last year at a dinner, we were in Aix-en-Provence with a Prix Goncourt, a Prix Renoaudot and Daniel Picouly, a very popular writer and television literary show host, and we were eating duck pate made by the daughter of one of the great French authors of the 20th century, Jean Giono. Where else could we be in those kinds of settings with those types of people, talking about literature and culture?”

Next year, the conference is slated to take place in Mauritius, marking the first time CIÉF will go to the Southern Hemisphere. “Academics from the South have to make huge sacrifices to come to our conferences with limited resources, it’s past time we went to them,” Lohka, herself a native of the island, says.

The 26th annual CIÉF conference takes place from June 10-17, 2012. More information on the conference.