Call for Papers

10th International and Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference

in French and Francophone Studies

Department of French and Italian & Department of Philosophy

University of California, Santa Barbara

May 14-15, 2010


Chance and Destiny

Someone said that Providence is the Christian name of Chance,
Some devout person might say that Chance is a familiar name of Providence

Chamfort, Maximes et pensées

A tile on a roof withstands harsh weather conditions, such as rain, frost, hail, or wind. As a result, it may break or even become  dislodged and slide down off the roof, perhaps even falling onto the head of an unsuspecting passerby. We often explain away such occurrence as unfortunate destiny or bad luck, perhaps attributing it to a higher order, to some mystical intention or to fortuitous contingency.

This colloquium will explore the immense field of study that is simultaneously epistemological, metaphysical, historic, and aesthetical concerning the tension between chance and destiny. We will focus our interests, in particular, on literature as well as other artistic expressions contemplating the central questions of this colloquium. Priority will be given to French and Francophone Studies, but we welcome approaches from other disciplines as well.

Suggested topics include, but are not limited to : 

Picaresque Novels, Coming-of-Age Novels ("Bildungsroman")
Heroic Destiny
Divine Law and Natural Law
Providence and Free-Will
Individual Destiny and Collective Destiny
Chance Encounters
Moment, Opportunity, Circumstances
Journalism and Diverse Incidents
Objective Chance, Psychological Chance
Metaphors and motifs : Labyrinth, Games of Chance, Wheel of Fortune
Social, Hereditary, Divine Determinism
Fatality, Tragic and Deus Ex-Machina
Situational Comedy ("comique de situation")
Chance and creativity
Random, Hazard, Contingency, Necessity
Sign Interpretation, Rituals of divination, Clairvoyance,  Occult Sciences, Predestination

Possibility, Probability, Certainty and Uncertainty

We invite those interested in theme of this colloquium to submit an abstract of 250 words or less, as well as a short bio, no later than January 15th, 2010, to the following address :

Steering Committee :

Julien Guillemet,  Michelle Kendall,

Vasilis Tsompanidis, & Karen Turman

(Translated by Michelle Kendall)