CFP: Fulgurances: The Fleeting Nature of the Short Form – Angers 18-20 April

(NOTE: the deadline for proposals has been extended to the 21st of January)

This event is the latest in a series of workshops and symposiums that have been organized in 2016 and 2017 by the University of Angers and the University of Nantes for the FOBrALC project, and indicates a growing interest for short forms research in the newly formed conglomerate of Loire Valley and Brittany Universities, France.

The concept of brevity is, of course, not necessarily synonymous with shortness, and the question of the relationship between short forms and time deserves more critical attention.

In the concept of fleetingness, time is seemingly unhinged. Between the unchangeable time of the maxim, the immediateness of the aphorism, the instantaneity of the fleeting image that, once retransmitted, “erases the trace of time”, the ephemeral time of performances (land-art, photos posted on Instagram, news briefs, news flashes…), precise time that shrinks, and/or extends into duration (diaries, Facebook posts, tweets, poetry collections), the fragmented time of television series proposing a story through a series of “micro-narratives” or the repetitive temporality of story loops, the concept of fleetingness creates a new dynamic in the short form. We propose to examine the poetics of fleetingness or even its ethics. We could consider, for example, photographic shots stolen by paparazzi or taken during natural catastrophes, or even demonstration banners or websites that overflow with maxims for our modern times. The diversity of these practices leads us to examine the strengths as well as the weaknesses of short forms: their effectiveness and moral relevance as well as the question of sustainability or long term conservation.

Perhaps the idea of fleetingness might also reveal the danger inherent to short forms, that of the unfinished, the risk of irrelevance or nonsense, or even of incomplete reception. It might also generate in short forms the force of shock, as laconic, lapidary bursts could serve as proof of semantic and semiotic effectiveness, and also as a promise of sustainability and conservation.


The notions of brevity and fleetingness could also be studied in association with the following:

  1. Interconnected concepts:
  • The immediate, instantaneous, ephemeral
  • Intensity, violence: explosion, shock, impact
  • Tone and style: laconic, lapidary, dry, brusque, aggressive; changes in style brought about by changes in form (email, twitter…)
  • Mysticism: revelation; myths and the sacred
  • Creation and its energies: dazzling, overflowing
  • Fragmentation, the relationship between the complete and the incomplete, the inexpressible
  • Possible contradictions: finesse vs. coarseness, concentration vs. reduction, density vs lightness, the ephemeral vs. the sustainable

2. Artistic Forms

  •  Performances, land-art, street-art, bandes dessinées, comic strips, flashmobs, photography…
  •   Literary short forms: Flash-fiction, nano-fiction, embedded stories, anecdotes, poetry…
  •   Scenic and audiovisual short forms: theatre, cliff-hangers, television micro-narratives

3. Practices, receptions and uses: zapping, “teasers,” concentration/selection (abstracts, extracts, summaries), stylisation, synthesis, modes of knowledge and comprehension of the world, culture, of reality through short forms (pedagogical, therapeutic, and scientific uses), caricature, stereotype, etc.

4. Forms of expression, of communication and information : manifestoes, slogans, posters, news briefs, media reports, promotional speeches, trailers …

In order to better understand the complex and multiform concept of the “short form” through the prism of temporality, we hope to have a wide-ranging interdisciplinary approach in areas as varied as literature, history, philosophy, information sciences, linguistics, didactics, sociology, medicine, psychology, the arts, performance, the economics of creative practice, etc.

Proposals for papers in English or in French (350-500 words) should be sent to Karima Thomas ( and Cécile Meynard (, along with a brief CV by 7 January 2018. The scientific committee will examine proposals and send notice of acceptance by 25 January at the latest.


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