Scholarly conferences

Our department holds conferences, workshops, and symposia on topics of significance to our areas of study. We host visitors from other institutions and draw on the expertise of faculty and graduate students to unpack important research in the field. We also organize and host a bi-annual interdisciplinary graduate student conference.

Upcoming conferences

French Art Song

With Guest Artist-Scholar Francois Le Roux

January 17, 18, 19, & 20, 2023

Four interdisciplinary, interactive workshops on the musical, literary, professional, and creative synergies that shaped one of the most adventurous artforms of the belle époque. Featuring guest artist-scholar François Le Roux, in dialogue with IU professors Jean-Louis Haguenauer, Nicolas Valazza, Alison Calhoun, and Allan Armstrong. Each session will include a conversation between François Le Roux and an IU professor, general discussion and questions, and a masterclass with JSoM voice and piano students. Sessions will focus on the French music and poetry Le Roux analyses in his book Le Chant Intime (Oxford, 2021).  

January 17, 2023
Music Addition (MA) 004

January 18, 2023
Musical Arts Center (MC) 301

January 19, 2023
Music Addition (MA) 004

January 20, 2023
Musical Arts Center (MC) Lobby

Sponsored by the Center of Excellence of the French Embassy in the US, and the Departments of French and Italian, Piano, and Collaborative Piano

Email Alison Calhoun ( with any questions or for more details

Hosted by the Department of French and Italian (FRIT)

March 31 - April 1, 2023

EMMANUEL BOUJU, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle
MICHAEL DOW, Université de Montréal
ROCCO RUBINI, University of Chicago

The 2023 Graduate Students’ Conference hosted by the French & Italian department at Indiana University in Bloomington invites MA and PhD students, as well as recent graduates, to address the topic of Patterns and Singularities. We welcome various perspectives and fields of study and encourage interdisciplinary and cross-cultural works that engage with Francophone and Italian cultures. Many scholars are developing new paradigms and methods of inquiry to approach research on language and literature. Literature has successively been the object of different approaches. Structuralist methods of analysis first systematized the idea of patterns. Next, poststructuralism, a philosophical and literary-based approach, emphasized heterogeneity, singularities, and the lack of core structures. Intersectional approaches now aim to develop new lenses by drawing from many disciplines (sociology, gender studies, ethnology, queer studies, medical studies) to get a more specific look at literary works. As a prime example, the current ethnological and literary concept of the ‘transnational novel’ gathers contributions from a variety of disciplines addressing the production of a discourse on identity in a globalized and diasporic world. In linguistics, scholars use new quantitative and qualitative research tools to more precisely and globally describe and explain language structures and environments. This might take the form of more in-depth and detailed analysis of a sound, word, sentence, or community, or of how the human brain conceptualizes and processes languages. It also permits the analysis of large amounts of data to provide a better idea of what human languages have in common.

Why do we need patterns? Why do we need to ceaselessly order, organize, and create frames and schemes to seek a better understanding? And what is a singularity? What is its nature, its function? Is it just an exception, a “flaw rotted in the net” that sets us free, as Eugenio Montale claims? Or is it only a fortuitous case, that is, a random alchemy of possibilities? Approaches to language and literature are keen to isolate and extrapolate key features and singularities meant to provide a renewed and broader understanding of literary and linguistic processes. Subsequently, linguistic and literature studies seem fascinated by attaching written and oral production to external (historical, economic, social) and internal (biographical, political) dynamics. In the myriad of lenses applied to this kind of approach, it appears that the tension between a holistic point of view (quantitative research, literature anthologies) and a micro reading of phenomena are intertwined and feed each other. On what basis is a phenomenon singular? Can we think beyond the idea of a pattern? Is literary and linguistic production always organized according to a structure?

Possible topics for the conference include but are not limited to: analysis of literature and language, linguistics, philosophy, comics, cinema, television, games, new media, visual and performative arts, art history, music, theater arts, political science, religious studies, second language acquisition, pedagogy, disability studies, and gender studies.

The 2023 Graduate Conference will take place in person on the Indiana University Bloomington campus. All presentations are scheduled for Friday, March 31st, while the three keynote addresses (French Studies, French Linguistics, and Italian Studies) will take place on Saturday, April 1. Each keynote address will be followed by a Q&A session and a closing reception including the keynote speakers, graduate students from the IU Department of French and Italian, and other presenters at the conference. We accept submissions from current graduate students as well as those who have recently graduated (including all contingent faculty). Independent scholars at an early stage in their career are also encouraged to apply. Preference will be given to abstracts and presentations in English. Presentations should not exceed 20 minutes.

Please submit an abstract (maximum 250 words), title of presentation, a short bio (maximum 70 words), name, email address, degree level, and institutional affiliation (if any) to by January 31st, 2023 at 11:59pm, EST. Final decisions will be made by early February.

Browse past conferences