Call for Book Chapters: “Mysteries and Dreams: the French in Aotearoa-New Zealand and the South Pacific”

Aotearoa-New Zealand and the South Pacific have been the sources of mysteries and dreams to the outside world from the first contact with Europe onwards. Likewise, New Zealand and South Pacific peoples have fostered mysteries and dreams about outsiders, too. In the context of this volume, the outsiders under study will be French.

The French nurtured paradisiacal fantasies about Tahiti and the South Seas as soon as Bougainville’s Voyage Autour du Monde was published in 1771. In contrast, they seem to have early construed Aotearoa-New Zealand as a place teeming with tattooed cannibals. This volume aims to offer new approaches to mysteries that have already been discussed, such as those surrounding Marion du Fresne or Lapérouse, or dreams that inspired the likes of Gauguin, Loti or Segalen. It will also explore other less prominent or more contemporary figures, narratives or events, related to mysteries and dreams about the French and Aotearoa-New Zealand and the South Pacific.

This volume also seeks to redress the fact that too little has been said about the mysteries and dreams that the autochthonous peoples may have constructed about the French who visited or settled in Aotearoa-New Zealand and the South Pacific. In their relations to outsiders, might the autochthonous peoples have imagined any specificities regarding things French? It also intends to offer new perspectives to topics already examined, like, for instance, the Kīngitanga’s appropriation of the mysteries of Pompallier’s Catholic message. This volume also aims to investigate whether, in our contemporary times, these autochthonous peoples invest in new kinds of constructions about the French.

And also: have both New Zealanders/Pacific peoples and French people reciprocally constructed mysteries and dreams from the mysteries and dreams they perceived were being constructed on themselves? Have new mysteries and dreams emerged in contemporary times between the French and the present-day peoples of Aotearoa-New Zealand and the South Pacific?

This is a call for papers to explore “Mysteries and Dreams” in changing approaches to French, Franco-Oceanian, Franco-British or Franco-American History, Literature, Arts, Environmental Humanities or other Humanities, in the Aotearoa-New Zealand/Australasian and Pacific region, from first contacts to the present. Topics may also include fantasies, incomplete memories or tentative speculations – individual or collective – about individuals or peoples, geographical or mythical areas, accounts from history or other kinds of narratives.

Submission Details

Proposals should be between 300-700 words and should clearly describe the author’s thesis and provide an overview of the proposed chapter’s structure. A biographical profile of 100 words should also be submitted.

Each submitted paper will be double-blind peer-reviewed.

Please email questions and submissions to the editor Sylvie Largeaud-Ortega at:

Proposal extended deadline: 1st December 2021.
Full chapter submission deadline: 1st July 2022.

An associate professor at the University of French Polynesia, Sylvie Largeaud-Ortega’s field of expertise is colonial discourse and postcolonial studies on literatures and societies in Oceania.

This proposal is due on December 31st 2021.

Page last updated on January 26th 2022. All information correct at the time, but subject to change.