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Spirituality of the French Classical Period through the Prism of the 19th Century

The Collectif d’Anthropologie et d’Histoire du Spirituel et des Affects invites proposals for its upcoming series of online workshops, which will serve as seminars building toward its conference on the theme “Spirituality of the
French Classical Period through the Prism of the 19 th Century” in Chicago in fall 2021. These workshops, described in more detail below, will enable participants to develop their work through a three-stage process of dialogue and exchange.
In relation to the “traditional” conference planned for fall 2021, this experimental format aims to support the entire research process that the writing of a conference paper implies, from the choice of a corpus of texts to the articulation of a central problem or question. Each workshop will likewise foster scholarly inquiry and discussion among researchers interested in the historical, anthropological, and literary stakes of the religious texts and iconography of the French classical period. Our hope is that participants will be able to contribute to all three workshops so as to generate a coherent conversation that builds from session to session. Participation in the 2021 conference is not required, although desirable, as our vision is that the small groups that will work together over the course of the three workshops might develop into panels at the conference. Although we are planning for an in-
person conference in 2021, it will be possible to give papers using a platform such as Zoom,if necessary.

The date of the 2021 conference is yet to be determined but will be chosen according to the new dates for the Society for Interdisciplinary French Seventeenth-Century Studies (SE17), so that CAHSA’s conference will take place either the day before or after SE17.

I. Conference Theme

Our online workshop series and the conference toward which they build will explore the way writers, thinkers, artists, and religious practitioners of the 19th century adopted, preserved, or transformed the spirituality of 17th and 18th century France and its colonies. We invite participants to interrogate transformations and continuities in the religious practices inherited by the 19th century from the early modern period as evidenced in the reedition of
spiritual texts or the architectural and material evolution of religious spaces and devotional objects. Inquiries may also consider the historical context (from the Concordat to the period after 1870) and its influence on the re-actualization and/or ideological recuperation of religious texts and practices, taking into account histories of the Church, the book, and of ideas. Writers who made the spirituality of the French classical age a touchstone for their work merit special attention (Chateaubriand, Lamartine, Constant, etc.), as does the way these works leverage the religious heritage of the early modern period (whether in a mode of admiration or rejection) to express individual or collective sensibilities. Papers may likewise evaluate the relationship between authors and publics, examining the way factors such as religious beliefs and doctrines, the demographics of different readerships, or taste and affect influenced the production and reproduction in the 19th century of spiritually inflected texts and objects from the 17th and 18th centuries.

Suggested areas of focus include but are not limited to:
. The history of the book, especially that which is reedited from the Grand Siècle, the various editions, their readers, the choice of texts, and their possible modification or censorship, both for the period of the Concordat and the Restoration as well as for after 1870.
. The history and evolution of the doctrine, theology, and liturgy of the French classical period in the 19th century, including questions related to the adaptation of language, dogma, and modes of theatrical or visual representation from one century to another.
. The devotional literature of the 17th and 18th centuries republished or readapted in the 19th century according to new expectations, whether these derive from editors or their publics.
. The question of censorship in relation to spiritualities perceived as dissident or judged too close to religious movements deemed dangerous or heretical, such as quietism, theism, and the development of new political religiosities with Romanticism.
. Political, ideological, and historical reasons for the re-adaptation of texts and practices from the French classical period in the 19th century, such as the containment of anti-revolutionary sentiment, the dynamics of colonial expansion, or a Marxist critique of religion as the opium for the people.
. The ways in which missionary goals and projects of the 19th century built on models established during the early modern period.
. The cases of 19th-century beatification or canonization of figures from the 17th and 18th centuries, as well as the reasons for their success or failure.
. The 19th-century reimagination, recreation, or restoration of the religious iconography or architecture of the 17th and 18th centuries. 

II. Program for Each Workshop Session
The dates of the workshops in April and July will be chosen in consultation with the participants.

Workshop 1 (23 January 2021) – After a general introduction of the goals and format of the workshops, during this first session participants will present (in English or French) the corpus of documents they plan to study in relation to the conference’s theme. Participants will be organized into small groups according to the type of
corpus with which they plan to work so as to foster discussion about the specific questions and problems raised by different types of primary materials. At the end of the session, the larger group will reconvene to share key findings from the small group discussions with the goal of arriving at a tentative overview of the traces and vitality of early modern spirituality in the 19th century, whether these traces suggest continuities, transformations or ruptures.

Workshop 2 (April 2021) – In the second session, participants will be asked to define a central question or thesis in relation to their chosen corpus. They will articulate this question or thesis in a short draft (3-5 pages), which they will pre-circulate to their small group one week before the session. The goal of the session will be to discuss the drafts, in the same small groups from the first workshop, so as to help each participant develop their main ideas based on feedback and bibliographic suggestions from colleagues.

Workshop 3 (July 2021) – Based on the exchanges of the first two workshops, the goal of our third session will be to encourage participants, working again in their small groups, to identify points of contact between their central questions and theses and to think comparatively about the themes and stakes common to their corpora.
These discussions will serve to generate guiding theoretical or epistemological frameworks, which can then be shared by each small group at the conference in 2021, for example as an introduction to a panel, so as to situate the panel’s individual papers and illuminate the nature of their contributions to a larger area of inquiry.

III. Format of the Workshops

Each online workshop will last approximately two hours and will follow more or less the following schedule:
30 minutes – Welcome, introduction, and presentation of the session’s goals
60 minutes – Work in small groups (4-5 people) using the Zoom Breakout Rooms function
30 minutes – Synthesis and sharing with all the participants together

IV. How to Enroll

We invite proposals in English or French. The proposal should take the form of a brief description (maximum 1 page, A4) of your corpus and the central questions or problems you plan to explore. Proposals should be sent by 25 November 2020 to: and
Workshop participants will be asked to become members of CAHSA in advance of the first working session. Membership costs $15 CAD/year, payable using PayPal 
via our webpage.

Organizing Committee:
Joy Palacios, University of Calgary
Arnaud Wydler, University of Fribourg
Richard Reinhardt, University of Michigan
Marc Court, independent scholar
Marion Robinaud, LabEx HASTEC (EPHE/PSL/EHESS/CNRS/Césor)

Scientific Committee:
Anne Régent-Susini, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris 3
Emmanuelle Friant, Université de Montréal
Corinne Bayerl, University of Orego

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