International Conference: The United States, a Divided Society

23rd-24th May at the Université Catholique de Lille (France)


Call for Papers

In 1991, James Davison Hunter, in his work entitled Culture Wars, explains that “America is in the midst of a culture war that has had and will continue to have reverberations not only within public policy but within the lives of ordinary Americans everywhere”.[4] Ever since, this phenomenon has reached all areas of American society. Parliamentary democracy, the founding principle of the country, has itself been concerned since the 6th January 2021 when protestors occupied Congress in the hope of changing the results of the presidential election, with the temporary consent of a very large minority of the electorate. Equally, on 24th June 2022, the Supreme Court decision to remove the constitutional right to abortion, enacted in Roe vs Wade (1973), has led to contrasted reactions, angry or elated, in the entire nation as the New York Times[5] makes clear. This has revealed a profound division in the country around a crucial matter for society and particularly for women. Yet, the United-States, from the very beginning, has sought to be a united, homogenous society, seeing itself as a melting pot rather than a mosaic, a place where American identity would triumph over every division linked to the origins of the population.

In his last novel published in June 2023, entitled Et c’est ainsi que nous vivrons (And That Is How We Shall Live), Douglas Kennedy depicts an America separated into two states.[6] Speculative novels, for better or worse, present one aspect of this subject, as well as reflections upon a past marked by the Civil War, which took place in the United States between 1861 and 1865 but continues to leave marks. More generally, we propose to study this American society and its divisions from all points of view: religious, political, social, cultural, ethnic, territorial, economic and technological.

We are looking for papers lasting 20 to 25 minutes, in English or in French. Proposals of 250 to 300 words accompanied by a short biography should be sent to and before 15th October 2023. All approaches to the subject are welcomed: historical, political, cultural (literary, artistic, cinematographic…), judicial, economic, and social, religious, ethnic, etc. We shall reply by January 1st 2024 at the latest. We welcome proposals from experienced researchers, doctoral and other graduate students.



Suzanne Bray, Loïc Laroche.


Academic committee:

Mokhtar Ben Barka (Université Polytechnique des Hauts de France), Suzanne Bray (Université Catholique de Lille), Raphaël Eppreh-Butet (Université de Lille), Loïc Laroche (Université Catholique de Lille).


Registration fees: 50€ (20€ for students). This includes two lunches and dinner on the 23rd.


[1] HUNTER, James Davison, Culture Wars: The Struggle to Define America. New York, Basic Books, 1991, p. 34.

[2] LIPTAK, Adam, « Roe overturned, In a 6-to-3 Ruling, Supreme Court Ends Nearly 50 Years of Abortion Rights », New York Times, 25 juin 2022, p. A1.

[3] KENNEDY, Douglas, Et c’est ainsi que nous vivrons, traduit de l’anglais par Chloé Royer. Paris, Belfond, 2023.

[4] HUNTER, James Davison, Culture Wars : The Struggle to Define America. New York, Basic Books, 1991, p.34.

[5] « Supreme Court Rules on Abortion », New York Times, June 24th 2022.

[6] KENNEDY, Douglas, Et c’est ainsi que nous vivrons, translated from the English by Chloé Royer. Paris, Belfond, 2023.