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About the symposium

The year 2018 marks what would have been the 90th birthday of Édouard Glissant (1928-2011), the eminent thinker of Relation and the All-World (Tout-Monde) who taught for sixteen years at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center. Since Glissant's passing, the influence of his thought continues to grow as his works are now taught not only in Europe and the Americas but also in India and China. This symposium, organized by the Henri Peyre French Institute and co-sponsored with Americas Society, the Center for the Humanities and the Ph.D. Program in French at the Graduate Center, CUNY celebrates the transnational reach of Édouard Glissant's ideas and the continued sustenance they provide to activists, artists, scholars and writers world-wide. It underlines his call for all people to abrogate the walls, real or imaginary, that separate them for all communities to achieve equality and solidarity and embrace the "Poetics of Relation."

Édouard Glissant’s humanist project influenced and engaged colleagues and students alike during his years as Distinguished Professor of French at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (1995 to 2011), a city in which diverse ethnic and religious groups share a space that allows “Relation” to thrive, be reformulated and constantly rediscovered. The symposium includes academics whom Glissant mentored as well as those who have been inspired by reading him and have applied his thought to their own work and in teaching their own students.

The symposium brings to the fore scholars and artists who apply Édouard Glissant's theories to shed light on inter-communal relations, expose the power dynamics of the privileged versus the marginalized, advocate against boundaries while acknowledging difference, contest dominant hierarchies of race, ethnicity, and gender, and show how texts normalize some groups and make others “other.” The symposium celebrates the many perspectives of the Tout-Monde and brings the “periphery” back to the center of discourse, mindful of the powerful Glissant-inspired motto “Les Périphériques vous parlent!” (The Periphery is speaking to you!).

Free and open to the public, but to attend, please click here to RSVP.

Speakers include: Mohit Chandna, Nathalie Etoke, Emmanuel Bruno Jean-François, Jarrod Hayes, Sylvie Kandé, Cilas Kemedjio, Barbara Webb, Christopher Winks, Pedro Zylbersztajn and others.


12:50 PM (Elebash Recital Hall): Introductory remarks by Francesca Canadé Sautman

1:00 PM to 3:00 PM: Panel 1:

Barbara Webb, Hunter College & Graduate Center, CUNY, New York: “Politics and Poetics of Creolization in Caribbean Literatures”

Cilas Kemedjio, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York: “Only The Road Knows the Secret:” In Praise of Edouard Glissant’s Speculative Poetics

Sylvie Kandé, SUNY Old Westbury, Nassau County, New York: "Édouard Glissant & the Poetics of Hospitality"

Jarrod Hayes, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia: "Glissant's Queer Mangrove"

3:30 PM to 5:30 PM: Panel 2:

Christopher Winks, Queens College, CUNY, New York: "Positive Vibrations and Diasporic Tremors"

Nathalie Etoke, Connecticut College, Connecticut: "France and the Challenge of Creolization"

Emmanuel Bruno Jean-François; Pennsylvania State University, Pennsylvania: "De-insularization, Archipelagic Thinking, and Transoceanic Dialogue"

Mohit Chandna, The English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad, India: "Locating India: Glissant and Nationalism"

5:30 PM to 6:00 PM (Elebash Lobby): Performance by Pedro Zylbersztajn

6:00 PM: Reception in the James Gallery

6:30 PM (the James Gallery): Readings of Édouard Glissant's work by Mary Ann Caws (in both French and English from her own translation of Glissant's epic poem Le Sel Noir) and by Paul Fadoul.

This symposium coincides with the exhibition Lydia Cabrera and Édouard Glissant: Trembling Thinking at Americas Society.

This symposium is organized by the Center for the Humanities, the Henri Peyre French Institute, and Americas Society, and is co-sponsored by Advanced Research Collaborative (ARC), the Ph.D. Program in French at the Graduate Center, CUNY, and the Institute for Research on the African Diaspora in the Americas and the Caribbean (IRADAC).