ASMCF Annual Conference 2015: ‘Myth-Making’

Mason Norton (Edge Hill University) gives an excellent summary – accompanied by photographs – of the ASMCF Annual Conference recently held at the University of Hull this September. 

Delegates listening to Gisèle Sapiro’s Opening Keynote
Delegates listening to Gisèle Sapiro’s Opening Keynote

On 8 September 2015, the University of Hull welcomed UK-based and international delegates to enjoy 3 days of intellectual stimulation and Hull hospitality, based around the theme of ‘Myth-Making’, focusing on the field of Modern & Contemporary France. The conference started with Gisèle Sapiro’s keynote, which interrogated the influence of myth on political writing in a wide-ranging analysis.

Two parallel panel sessions then followed in the afternoon, before a series of ‘fringe’ sessions, on Women in French (chaired by Maggie Allison) and for Postgraduates, led by Stacie Allan, Ellen Crabtree and Mason Norton, on ‘Engaging with a Broader Audience’. This was then followed by a tour of the Old Town with guide Paul Schofield, and a meal at the Humber-front Minerva pub, before delegates returned to the Mercure Royal Hotel where they were accommodated.

Tony Chafer talks about ‘françafrique’ and France’s relations with Mali
Tony Chafer talks about ‘françafrique’

Wednesday started with another parallel paper session, looking at myths of women and colonial myths, before the second keynote, for which a special mention must go to Tony Chafer, who gave a brilliant critique of ‘françafrique’ at very short notice, which was followed after lunch by a session by Madeleine Markey, from Taylor & Francis, who along with journal editor Martin O’Shaughnessy, explained the mechanisms of publishing in journals.

The conference featured the work of a number of postgraduate students during the conference – both papers and posters – and this was showcased with the Postgraduate Poster Competition, which also included a session where postgraduates gave a mini-presentation of their posters, fielding questions from the audience.

James Illingworth presents his winning poster about Mythopoetics and George Sand.
James Illingworth presents his winning poster

Congratulations go to James Illingworth from QUB for his winning poster, receiving a prize sponsored by Peter Lang.

The afternoon concluded with another set of parallel paper sessions and the ASMCF AGM, followed by a wine reception sponsored by Taylor & Francis. Wednesday evening saw the gala dinner, and live music from the University Jazz Quartet at the Royal Hotel, as well as an after-dinner speech from Rosie Millard.

Barbara Lebrun & Chris Tinker discuss posthumous celebrity, legacy and fate in Coluche & Dalida
Barbara Lebrun & Chris Tinker discuss Coluche & Dalida

The final day of the conference saw two further parallel panel sessions, as well as the Peter Morris Memorial Lecture, delivered by Mike Kelly of Southampton, who aptly and topically problematised ‘la marche républicaine’ of January 11, which gave delegates much food for thought and animated discussion amongst the delegates over lunch, which was followed by a presentation of ‘The Conversation’ from Laura Hood , a news website featuring contributions from academics, and who inspired us all to consider a new and exciting destination for our work. The conference closed that afternoon.

Mike Kelly (right) delivers the Peter Morris Memorial Lecture
Mike Kelly delivers the Peter Morris Memorial Lecture

The organisers would formally like to thank Liz Neal of Visit Hull & East Yorkshire, and Jan Barker, Riccardo Orlandi and Adam Spencer in the School of Languages, Linguistics & Cultures at Hull for their efforts and assistance throughout the conference. Special thanks should also go to the organising committee, Helena Chadderton, Imogen Long and Rachel Haworth, of the University of Hull, for all their efforts and hard work towards making the conference a success, and to the staff of the Mercure Royal Hotel for looking after the delegates throughout their stay.

See you at Aston next year!


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