Call for Papers: Edited Volume, “Pour le sport: Physical Culture in French and Francophone Literature.”

quebec-sportsPioneered by scholars such as Eugen Weber and Richard Holt, the study of sports in French-speaking cultures has dramatically expanded in the last few decades. While much research into physical culture focuses on the Anglophone world and has been led by social scientists and historians, increasing numbers of literary critics and theorists have investigated representations of sports and physical culture in the French-speaking world. We seek to continue and grow this trend, since French and Francophone authors have often written about athletic activities, finding in them the inspiration for new forms of poetics, as well as a metaphor for writing itself, both as a mental and physical endeavor.

In this edited volume, we propose to gather together studies examining any aspect of physical culture–including exercise, leisure and sports–in literature written in French from Europe and/or the Francophone world. We welcome interdisciplinary approaches, as well as essays on texts from all periods (medieval to the present) and of any genre (short stories, novels, essays, poetry).

Possible questions to examine might include:

    • Does the genre “sports literature” exist in French and if so, what are its characteristics?
    • How do governments or other political entities mobilize sports literature?
    • What narratives are constructed about sports that affirm or contradict conventional wisdom?
    • What role(s) is physical culture made to play in literature about colonization, de-colonization, and/or colonialism?
    • How do narratives about physical culture contribute to local, regional, and/or national identities?

Possible topics include:

    • Sports and postcolonialism
    • Rugby in French literature
    • Immigration in France and soccer culture
    • Roland Barthes and the Tour de France
    • Hockey in Canadian literature
    • Traditional wrestling in Senegalese literature
    • Representations of the Olympic Games
    • Athletics in Henri de Montherlant
    • The Holocaust and Sports (e.g. Perec’s W ou le Souvenir d’enfance)
    • Representations of athletic bodies
    • Romanticism and mountain-climbing

Please send a 300-400 word abstract and CV by October 1st to and After notification of acceptance, we will request full essays to be completed by April 2015.

Roxanna Curto
573 Phillips Hall
University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA 52242

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