top of page

Pacific “Celts"? Diasporas, cross-cultural dialogue and revitalized identity - Call for papers

The international symposium, to be held on October 23 and 24, 2024 is supported by the research units of the University of New Caledonia (TROCA), the University of Savoie Mont Blanc (LLSETI, EA 3706) and the University of Toulon (Babel, EA 2649). The event, endorsed by the CRECIB (French Centre for British Studies) and the SOFEIR (French Society for Irish Studies), is co-organized by Noémie Beck, Senior Lecturer in British and Irish history, and in Irish mythology and folklore, the University of Savoie Mont Blanc, Visiting Lecturer at the University of New Caledonia since February 2021, and Frédéric Armao, Associate Professor at the University of Toulon.


Research proves that so-called "Celtic" cultures, whether original, reinvented or revitalized, are present in the Pacific – however controversial and protean the term "Celtic" may be. In Australia and New Zealand, certain diasporas (Welsh or Cornish, for example) have maintained their traditions, languages, beliefs and religions while adapting to their new geographical, cultural and political environment. Others have revived, revitalized and even recreated their "Celtic" identity in the tropics, in order to differentiate themselves from the British English colonialists, like their fellow Celtic nations in the British Isles (Celtic Revival, Celtic Nationalism or Pan-Celtism from the second half of the 19th century onwards). In New Caledonia, 371 Breton families chose exile over poverty, settling there in the second half of the 19th century. The same was true for a number of Irish, Scottish and Welsh immigrants, for whom New Caledonia was a second or even third stop after Australia or New Zealand.


This interdisciplinary and diachronic symposium aims to bring together historians, geographers, anthropologists, sociologists, linguists, literary scholars, historians of religion, ethnomusicologists, mythologists and folklorists, etc., to discuss themes such as migration, connections, cultural and ethnic blending, languages, religions, continuity, creation and revitalization of identities and cultures, customs, festivals, Neopaganism, memory(-ies), oral literature, and oral history, etc. This symposium will analyze the diversity and the historical, cultural, linguistic and identity-related richness of these so-called "Celtic" diasporas, and question "Celtic" identities in the Pacific. It will also highlight the cultural and ethnic blending between these diasporic communities and indigenous peoples, such as the Irish-Australian Aborigines, or in New Caledonia, where certain tribes may have mixed Kanak and Irish origins.


Proposals (French or English) should include an abstract of up to 300 words accompanied by a brief bibliography, and a biography of up to 100 words. They should be sent before March 15, 2024 to the following two addresses: Noémie Beck (noemie.beck@unc.nc) and Frédéric Armao (armao@univtln.fr).

Papers will be of 20 minutes’ duration followed by 10 minutes’ question time. It is intended that a subsequent publication will include a number of papers from the symposium.

Conference venue: The University of New Caledonia, Avenue James Cook, Nouméa, New Caledonia.

Please note: meals (coffee breaks and lunches) are provided by TROCA, LLSETI and Babel research units. Accommodation and travel expenses are the responsibility of your research unit or university. Even though priority will be given to face-to-face sessions, online sessions will take place in the early evening Nouméa time, to facilitate international participation, and will be projected in the Conference room for those attending in person.




bottom of page