Call for Book Chapters: "Mysteries and Dreams: the French in Oceania" (Deadline: September 1, 2022)

Oceania has been the source of mysteries and dreams to the outside world from the first contact with Europe onwards. Likewise, Indigenous Oceanians have fostered mysteries and dreams about outsiders. In the context of this volume, the outsiders under study will be French.

This is a call for further papers to complement projects that have already been accepted for a volume on the subject of "Mysteries and Dreams: the French in Oceania".

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 Loti, Segalen or Gary. These approaches, however, will necessarily also recenter focus onto Oceania, by investigating Oceanian responses to these particular mysteries and dreams. It therefore welcomes proposals of the same kind as Ian Fookes’s (already accepted), which examines the myth of Gauguin as constructed by European writers/filmaker Gauguin, Maugham, Segalen and Deluc, but also an Oceanian response to this myth: the “Paradise Camp” exhibition held at the 2022 Venice Biennale Arte by Indigenous artist Kihara. How do Oceanians, past or present, perceive the French who visit/ed or settle/d in, or dream/t and paint/ed or wri/ote about Oceania? How do they perceive foreigners who wri/ote, etc. about the French in Oceania? In that respect, innovative essays on Māohi or Kanaka writers or artists, etc., would be most welcome.

This volume also aims to explore other less prominent figures, narratives or events related to mysteries and dreams about the French and Oceania. Anna Paini’s and Lorenz Gonschor’s proposals (accepted) examine hitherto unexplored French Marist Montrouzier’s high expectations in South Pacific islands, and de Varigny and Marques’s visions of late nineteenth century Hawai‘i, with a strong focus on Oceanian agency. Likewise, Angela Giovanangeli’s innovate proposal (accepted) investigates the interplay on dreams and mysteries between photographs by Nething and Robin, both French photographers based in New Caledonia in the late 1800s, and twenty-first century visual representations by Indigenous artist Semu, born in Aotearoa/New Zealand of Samoan ancestry. More proposals of this kind will also be most welcome.

This volume seeks to redress the fact that too little has been said about the mysteries and dreams that Indigenous Oceanians may have constructed about the French. It encourages exploring the following questions: in their relations to outsiders, have Oceanians imagined any specificities regarding the French/things French? Have both Oceanians and French 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 about the French in Oceania?

Topics will 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 Oceania. They 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. Please also submit a biographical profile of 100 words. Each submitted paper will be double-blind peer-reviewed by Vernon Press.

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

Proposal deadline: September 1, 2022.

Full chapter submission deadline: March 1, 2023.

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

This proposal is due on September 1st 2022.

Page last updated on March 21st 2022. All information correct at the time, but subject to change.