• Research,

The “Marie Curie” Project

Published on January 17, 2022 Updated on February 8, 2022
The “Performing the archive: the everyday construction of ‘French’ identity in New Orleans” (PANO) project, part of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, will use archival experiments and site-specific performances to investigate the role of French culture in the everyday identity of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

More than 200 years after severing its colonial ties to France, New Orleans offers multiple traces of its complex cultural identity, constructed through the repetition of behaviours directly linked to the specificity of its history: a type of social performance, we could say, that intensified after Hurricane Katrina. The global changes brought about by mass immigration emphasise the need to critically analyse the construction of a multicultural identity linked to everyday life and postcolonial relations.
This project will observe the complex links between New Orleans and France to re-examine the question of identity, through a dialogue between the present and the past.

Drawing on data from a long-term research programme on francophone identities in New Orleans (led by Catherine Dessinges and Ross Louis), the Marie Curie project will include archival experiments at the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) in Lyon and at The Historic New Orleans Collection (THNOC) in New Orleans.

The project has four objectives:
  • To analyse current, everyday behaviours in New Orleans that are identified as “French”. This study will expand contemporary discourse on francophone identities by emphasising their performative aspects. These results will be reported in an article (“Mapping Francisation in daily New Orleans”), an international symposium (“In search of ‘French’ New Orleans”) and the publication of the proceedings.
  • To apply Georges Perec’s methodology of the infra-ordinary to create performative experiments that will interact with the data already collected and that will enrich the IOF and THNOC archives. The results of this work will be presented in an article (“Performing the infra-ordinary in the archive”) and a study day (“Performance in/of the archive”).
  • To set up experiments in the IOF and THNOC archives.
  • To construct a series of site-specific performances and a performance guide that will bring the IOF archive into conversation with the francophone identities of New Orleans.
Part of the Franco-Quebec call for projects in the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  • Project name: Performing the archive: the everyday construction of “French” identity in New Orleans (PANO)
  • Length: 2 years (2021-2022)
  • Thematic areas: HSS research and the transformation of societies and cultures in the context of globalisation
  • Key disciplines: Francophone literature, sociology of cultures
Scientific Committee
The consortium includes: MARGE (Lyon 3) and the Institut international pour la francophonie (2IF)
  • Ross Louis (Xavier University of Louisiana, USA)
  • Catherine Dessinges (Lyon 3).