Michèle A. Schaal: Symposium Grant for the 10th Women in French (WIF) biennial conference “Margins: Voices and Pathways”


Michèle A. Schaal (World Languages & Cultures): Symposium Grant, “Margins: Voices and Pathways”

Dr. Michèle A. Schaal (World Languages & Cultures) was awarded one of the 2020 CEAH Symposium Grants for the 10th Women in French (WIF) biennial conference “Margins: Voices and Pathways” that, due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, was postponed from May 14-16, 2020, to May 12-14, 2022. The funds proved most beneficial to the success of the WIF 2022 conference as it covered all necessary fees and allowed for free registration for all participants. The WIF 2020/2022 conference constituted a unique event at the national and international levels since it was the first academic venue in French and Francophone Studies to consider various forms of marginalizations holistically. Topics discussed in panels included, among other subjects, disabilities, aging, women of color or LGBTIQPA+ artists and intellectuals, and underrepresented Francophone regions such as Asia or the Pacific Islands. Keynote presenters included Tahitian poet Flora Aurima Devatine, French novelist, filmmaker, and Professor of Creative Writing Claire Legendre (Université de Montréal), and Professor Anne Donadey (San Diego State University). Dean Beate Schmittmann (LAS) also provided the opening remarks. This conference was co-organized with Dr. Arline Cravens (Saint Louis University).

Due to the many budget constraints triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, the WIF 2022 conference was moved online to ensure maximum participation, geographical, and financial accessibility. This transition online generated an even greater interest in the event, as we witnessed a 13% increase in individual proposal submissions and a 130% increase in full panel submissions. The final program featured 146 (a 47% increase from 2020) scholars, artists, graduate, and undergraduate students from all five continents who presented scholarship virtually at ISU. The total attendance number was also higher than anticipated and reached 230 participants, a 155% increase from 2020, and a record number of registrations since the WIF biennial conference’s inception in 2000. On average, past in-person WIF conferences hosted 60 to 90 participants. The WIF 2022 conference was also one of the most international WIF conferences to date: 55.27% of the participants came from the USA, 10.55%, from Canada, 10.55% from France, 8.04% from the United Kingdom, 3.51% from Australia, and 12.07% from other countries, including but not limited to Eswatini, India, New Zealand, Sweden, Tahiti, and Turkey. Beyond the event itself, a peer-reviewed selection of WIF 2022 conference papers will be published by the top-tier journal Women in French Studies (2023) and, in the land-grant spirit, be accessible via the Parks Library Digital Repository.