9-11 March 2022

Paris (BNF, BULAC)

« Paris, Polyphonic Metropolis: The Foreign-Language Press in the French Capital (19th-21st Centuries) »

Paris, like most European and international megalopolises-metropolises, was built over time through a series of migration waves both from within France and from abroad. Republic of the Arts and Letters, place of exile, creation, and legitimization, known as the « Babel of modern times», the City of Lights has been, since the early 19th century, a privileged destination for various population movements.

Under the July Monarchy, the Second Empire and up to the Third Republic, students and artists of all origins settled in Paris next to political refugees, workers but also visitors and wealthy residents. People came to Paris, to run away from repression or political persecution, escape financial or sexual scandals (Oscar Wilde), take advantage of the scientific and artistic stimuli offered by the city or simply to earn a living. Since the Second World War, the Cold War, decolonization, the proliferation of civil wars or regional conflicts since the 1990s, victims of authoritarian or totalitarian regimes and military conflicts have moved to Paris, together with artists attracted by the French capital’s cultural creativity, while political dissidents and exiles have joined migrants looking for a better future. People of various geographical horizons have helped to shape Parisian society and have contributed to the fabric of a polyphonic and cosmopolitan metropolis.

Within this cultural mosaic and this patchwork of languages, a series of newspapers and periodicals have been published to address the needs and interests of people whose mastery of the French language was limited or inexistant. Our conference aims to highlight the contribution of the foreign-language press published in Paris and its outskirts – of which many titles remain to be discovered – to a better understanding of the topography, polyphony, and sociology of the city. It will also look at how this press influenced the evolution of the Parisian sociocultural landscape and facilitated a better integration of its readers to the host country.

The study of newspapers and periodicals, founded for and by various linguistic communities, should allow us to shed light on a relatively unknown aspect of the history of the Parisian press and help us lay the groundwork for a polyphonic history of the press published in Paris and its surrounding suburbs.

Our aim is to discover the sites connected to the production and circulation of these periodicals, identify the persons who initiated and developed them, list their languages and discuss their style as well as the working of their editorial teams. These periodicals were produced in print shops and circulated through distribution networks; they introduced or reproduced editorial patterns and reached a particular readership; they also stimulated a specific cultural and economic life, thanks notably to advertisements for businesses or associations which reflected the activities of various linguistic communities.

This conference aims to bring together researchers specializing in the history of the press, migration studies, the history of exile, expatriation and tourism or the history of Paris, as well as librarians working on the indexing, conservation, and valorisation of these holdings.

Papers are invited on the following topics (the list is not exhaustive):

  • panoramic approaches by language or publication period
  • cross-cutting themes or comparative approaches
  • constitution of a corpus and identification of holdings in order to draw a cartography of the Parisian libraries’ landscape
  • prosopographical studies of the protagonists (editors, journalists, printers etc…)
  • analysis of the content of these periodicals in connection to the Parisian socio-political, economic and cultural life
  • exploration of the networks through which people, ideas and media models
  • circulated cultural transfers between foreign-language periodicals and through their interactions
    with periodicals published in French or abroad
  • reception of these periodicals within the Parisian mediatic space
  • political and cultural impact of the foreign-language press on the native countries of editors and readers

Submission guidelines

Scholars interested in participating in this research meeting to be held in Paris on March 9th -11th 2022, should send their proposal to the following address:


DEADLINE: 15 July 2021


 – Title and a 250-word abstract in French or English;

 – AND a short bio-bibliographical note and their e-mail

Notifications will be sent by the end of September 2021. The workshop languages are English and French.

Selected papers will be published in a collective volume. Practical arrangements – in-person meeting or zoom conference, or a mix of both – will depend on the evolution of the COVID-19 crisis and will be specified at a later date.

Organiser Committe

Transfopress Network
Coordinator (on behalf of Transfopress Network): Nicolas Pitsos


Centre d’Histoire Culturelle des Sociétés Contemporaines (Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines/ Université Paris-Saclay)
CREE (Inalco)
ICT (Université de Paris)
LARCA UMR 8225 (Université de Paris, CNRS)
Partners : BULAC, La contemporaine
Organisation committee : Diana Cooper-Richet, Bénédicte Deschamps, Stéphanie Prévost, Isabelle Richet\

Scientific committee

 AZIZI Asmaa, LabSIC/Université Sorbonne Paris Nord
 COLLIGAN Colette, Simon Fraser University
 COEURÉ Sophie, ICT/Université de Paris
 COOPER-RICHET Diana, CHCSC/Université Paris-Saclay, coordinatrice du réseau
 DESCHAMPS Bénédicte, LARCA UMR 8225/Université de Paris, CNRS
 DOS SANTOS Graça, CRILUS/Université Paris Nanterre
 DREYFUS-ARMAND Geneviève, CERMI, FRAMESPA/Université de Toulouse-
Jean Jaurès
 GUIMARÃES Valéria dos Santos, UNESP – Universidade Estadual Paulista, Brésil
 HOREL Catherine, CETOBaC/Ehess, CNRS
 LEBRE Céline, La contemporaine
 LE PAPE Isabelle, BNF
 LOPEZ ROMERO Laura, Université de Malaga
 LÜSEBRINCK Hans-Jürgen, Université de la Sarre
 MERMIER Franck, Laboratoire d’Anthropologie Urbanités Mondialisations/CNRS
 PITSOS Nicolas, BULAC, CREE/Inalco
 PREVOST Stéphanie, LARCA UMR 8225/Université de Paris, CNRS
 PROVATA Despina, Université nationale et capodistrienne d'Athènes
 RICHET Isabelle, Université de Paris
 SANTIAGO GOMEZ Arnulfo Uriel de, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Mexique
 SERVANT Catherine, CREE/Inalco
 TÜRESAY Özgür, Proclac/EPHE-PSL
 YON Jean-Claude, École Pratique des Hautes Études/PSL
 YU Loïc Min, BULAC