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Queer Theory in France

A three-year AHRC research project

France has long been an avid exporter of revolutionary ideas but what happens when a particular kind of 'French Theory' - queer theory - returns home to challenge the way people in France think about sex and sexuality?

The dual purpose of this AHRC-funded three-year project, commencing October 2012, is to analyse the appropriation of French thought by queer theorists working in Britain and the United States and to investigate why the body of work they developed has met with resistance in its attempts to return 'home' to France. The focus of the research is on comparable specific intellectual, institutional and activist contexts in France, Britain and the United States and on the historical, cultural and theoretical issues arising from the ‘translation’ of French thought into British and American contexts, as well a its subsequent re-introduction, as queer intellectual and activist ‘feedback’, into France.

The project is run jointly by Hector Kollias (PI, King's College London) and Oliver Davis (CI, Warwick University), assisted by two doctoral researchers who are also being funded by the AHRC to write theses of their own on topics broadly related to the themes of the project. Although housed in departments of French Studies, the project - like queer theory itself - is inherently interdisciplinary.

In each of the three years of the project there will be two one-day workshops (symposia), one at King's and one at Warwick. The project will conclude with a major international conference and a series of public panel debates in the final year.

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