- Editor’s Note
Should there be concern that interest in Occitan is waning, events in 2019 and 2020 speak to the contrary. Among the various activities that demonstrate the continuing life of Occitan studies, let me note first the creation of a group of jeunes chercheurs in Europe, the Joves Cercaires en Domeni Occitan or JCDO, created by graduate students at mostly French universities to promote Occitan and to encourage students to enter the discipline. One of the goals of the JCDO is to provide moral support for younger scholars who might be fearful (their word), for example, of giving a conference presentation. The Association internationale d’études occitanes (AIEO) has taken this group under its wing and is moving actively to increase the participation of younger scholars in its governing structures.
The first activity organized by the JCDO was an event entitled “Trans-mission: Creacion e ibridacion dins lo domeni d’òc.” I would call it a conference; they called it a journée d’études, as it lasted all of one day. Organized by graduate students, with support from their respective universities and from the AIEO board, the day’s activities included graduate-student research papers and lots of time to chat with colleagues young and old. In general, the quality of the research presented was high—not a surprise to this North American participant, but much remarked on by her European colleagues. Included in this issue is an article by Fabio Barberini, one of the relatively young scholars who presented in Toulouse (his academic career is already well underway).
The day’s activities concluded with a Round Table, where three senior researchers and three younger scholars offered perspectives on what could follow from the day. Giuseppe Noto’s remarks were particularly eloquent, and I took the liberty of asking him to write them up for publication here. His view of possible future paths of research in Occitan studies struck me as especially rich. His essay concludes with an invitation, “di studiare le modalità della ri-codificazione sul piano diatopico e sul piano diacronico (ma [End Page v] anche diastratico e diafasico e finanche diamesico” (100), urging scholars to study the modalities of recodification across a changing space, across time, across social groups, across language registers, and in both the written and the spoken language.
Because it may seem that Noto’s view is very Italian, I invited several other scholars to offer their views, creating a set of opinion pieces for this issue and launching a Tenso section that will continue into the future. I think of these as “op-eds,”
... a hybrid of the words opposite and editorial, because traditionally, op-eds run on the page next to the editorial page. ...Op-eds are essays or commentaries that present the opinion or perspective of someone with insight on the news. Op-eds explore new ideas and present issues and insights by writers and thinkers ...”(Palan A17).
With this principle in mind, in addition to Giuseppe Noto’s remarks, we are pleased to publish three additional op-eds. William (Bill) Paden, dean of Occitan studies in North America, offers his view of the future. Fritz Peter Kirsch, author of the recent Frankreich, Okzitanien und die Frankophonien: Kultur-und literaturgeschichtliche Streifzüge, presents another angle of his vision of the Occitan past, which has been too subservient to French norms and traditions. He invites us to evaluate Occitan and other “minority” literatures on their own terms, without forcing these works and their authors into a Procrustean bed. Rosa María Medina Granda, president of the AIEO, speaks of the importance of networks and networking using Gilles Deleuze’s term, “rhizome”; she evokes the JCDO and its activities along with the AIEO as augurs of a bright future.
Obviously, other scholars, from other countries and other disciplines within Occitan studies, will have still differing perspectives on the many tasks that lie ahead for Occitan scholars, and Tenso will publish additional op-eds in coming issues.
I noted that 2020 would be auspicious, because the AIEO will hold its fourteenth triennial congress in Cuneo (Coni), Italy in early July. The site was chosen because the...