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2015 — stories and fictions of terrorism

Call for papers

2015 — stories and fictions of terrorism

American University of Paris – New Sorbonne University

November 15-17, 2023

(English version below)

***

“Writing intersects with justice, and sometimes coincides with it”

(Yannick Haenel, our loneliness)

If the literary reaction of the USA to the terrorist attacks of September 11 has been amply analysed, making the attacks a fundamental milestone in contemporary American cultural history, it seems equally essential to consider the way in which French society was able to recapture, through stories (testimonies or works of fiction), the attacks of 2015. From Mathieu Riboulet to Emmanuel Carrère, from Karine Tuil to Philippe Lançon, from Yasmina Khadra to Adrien Genoudet, from Yannick Haenel to Virginie Despentes, the attacks are told, evoked, transposed , metaphorized, analyzed in multiple ways. From the trial of the 2015 Islamist attacks to the transdisciplinary research program 13-Novembre, hundreds of testimonies are also collected which tell the resolutely individual experience of the traumatic event. These collections of testimonies are part of another genealogy, one that has given a special place to the memory of the Second World War and the Holocaust in particular, the archives Fortunoff(Yale) to the Spielberg Foundation (University of South California) but which also finds a model, between history and literature, in Witnesses of Norton Cru after the First World War. In all cases, these words, these speeches, these writings contribute to the construction of an individual memory and a collective memory that are both evolving and interacting.

How culture, the very target of the attacks, was able, through the prism of the story – photographs, testimonies, documentaries, novels, comic strips, films and series – to be used to stage horror, incomprehension, but also the aftermath and the desire to make sense? In what time frame were these texts written, these images produced? What conceptual and critical categories should be mobilized to understand them? What literary or, on the contrary, deliberately non-literary means are deployed? Like September 11 in the United States, do the attacks of 2015 mark a scansion of literary history? When and under what conditions did recourse to fiction become possible? What do they tell us about the relationship of our societies to fiction and testimony? So what is the story doing in the aftermath, the wake of attacks as heartbreaking as January 7 and November 13, 2015, terrorist attacks whose historic trials we have followed in France? How is the memory of the witnesses said, adjusts that of the survivors? What ethical issues are survivors speaking up exposed to? Are reparations to be expected from putting-into-words, from putting-into-drawings? What accounts of survivors and trials have been produced? In what other genealogy does listening to and collecting the words of the witness fit, and how? What memories did the 2015 attacks revive? What about, moreover, the evolution of these memory modes, in particular when certain terrorist attacks do not find the same place there (thus that of Nice on July 14, 2016 whose trial opens )? How and why, for the same attack, the memories focus on one place to the detriment of the others – thus the Bataclan on November 13, 2015, to the point that, often, we speak of the “Bataclan attacks”, forgetting the Stade-de- France and the terraces? What place do trials hold in the construction of collective memory?

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Countries bruised in the XXIe century by terrorist attacks, the United States and France present parallels, but also differences in their reactions to the trauma of what can be considered as world events: can a comparison be made? How can we explain, for example, the striking contrast between the absence of a trial in the aftermath of September 11 in the United States and the centrality of police and judicial procedure in the aftermath of the 2015 attacks in France, and what are the consequences on literary writing, on the place given to the voice of the witness and on the reactions of society?

The symposium will take place on November 15-17, 2023 in Paris.

Hybrid sessions may possibly be organised. However, we would like the speakers to make their presentation and discuss in person.

Colloquium organized by Alexandre Gefen (CNRS), Caroline D. Laurent (The American University of Paris), Denis Peschanski (CNRSprogramme 13-November) and Anne-Marie Picard (AUP).

Scientific Committee :

  • Christine Armstrong (Denison University)
  • Joanne Brueton (University of London Institute in Paris)
  • Catherine Brun (New Sorbonne University)
  • Brian Schiff (The American University of Paris)
  • Russell Williams (The American University of Paris)

Proposals in French or English of 600-700 words and bio-bibliographic notice of 150 words to be sent to:

[email protected]

Submission deadline: 1is mars 2023.

Date of acceptance: early April 2023.

Call for papers

2015 – Narratives and Fictions of Terrorism

American University of Paris – New Sorbonne University

November 15-17, 2023

***

“Writing intersects with justice, and sometimes coincides with it”

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(Yannick Haenel, Our Loneliness)

If the literary reaction to the terrorist attacks of 9/11 has been extensively examined in the United States, making the attacks a fundamental milestone in contemporary American cultural History, it seems equally essential to consider the way in which French society has been able to recapture, through narratives (testimonies or works of fiction), the attacks of 2015. From Mathieu Riboulet to Emmanuel Carrère, from Karine Tuil to Philippe Lançon, from Yasmina Khadra to Adrien Genoudet, from Yannick Haenel to Virginie Despentes, the attacks are recounted, conjured up, transposed, metaphorized, and analyzed in many ways. From the trial of the Islamist attacks of 2015 to the transdisciplinary research program 13-November, hundreds of testimonies are also collected that tell the traumatic event resolutely as an individual one. These collections of testimonies are part of another genealogy, the one that has given a singular place to the memory of the Second World War and the Shoah in particular, from the Fortunoff archives (Yale) to the Spielberg foundation (University of South California), but which also finds a model, between history and literature, in Norton Cru’s Witnesses (Witnesses) in the aftermath of the First World War. In all cases, these words, speeches, and writings participate in the construction of a personal and a collective memory that both evolve and interact.

How has the very target of the attacks, culture, been able to stage the horror, the incomprehension, but also the aftermath and the desire to make sense through the prism of narrative – photographs, testimonies, documentaries, novels, comics, films, and series? In what temporality were these texts written and these images produced? What conceptual and critical categories must now be mobilized to understand them? What array of literary or purposely non-literary channels is deployed? Just as 9/11 did in America, will these events mark a shift in literary history? At what point and under what conditions did the use of fiction become possible? What do they tell us about our societies’ relationship to fiction and testimony? What does narrative do indeed in the aftermath, the wake of such heartbreaking attacks as January 7th and November 13th2015, terrorist attacks whose historical trials we have followed in France? How are witnesses’ memories articulated, that of survivors adjusted? To what ethical questions are the survivors exposed when they bear witness and speak out? Are reparations to be expected from the put-into-wordsfrom the put-into-drawings? What accounts of the survivors and of the trials have been produced? In what other genealogy are the act of listening and the collection of the witness’ words inscribed, and how? What memories have the attacks of 2015 revived? How do these memories evolve? How and why do certain terrorist attacks not occupy the same place in them – as in the case of the Nice attack on July 14, 2016, whose trial is about to start? How and why, for a single incident, does collective memory focus on a particular location to the detriment of others – such as the Bataclan on November 13, 2015, to the point that we often speak of the “Bataclan attacks,” forgetting the Stade-de-France and the cafés’ terraces? What role do trials play in the construction of collective memory?

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We see parallels in the United States and France as countries injured in the 21st Century by terrorist attacks. However, there are also divergences in their reactions to the trauma of what can be considered as world-eventsworld-changing events: can a comparison be made? How, for example, can the contrast between the absence of trials in the aftermath of 9/11 in the United States and the centrality of the police and judicial processes in the aftershock of the 2015 attacks in France be explained, and what are the consequences for literary writing, for the place given to the word of the witness, and for society’s upshots?

The colloquium will take place on November 15-17, 2023, in Paris.

Hybrid sessions may be organized. However, we would like the speakers to make their presentation and exchange in person.

Conference organized by:

Alexandre Gefen (CNRS), Caroline D. Laurent (The American University of Paris), Denis Peschanski (CNRS, 13-11 program), and Anne-Marie Picard (AUP).

Scientific Committee:

  • Christine Armstrong (Denison University)
  • Joanne Brueton (University of London Institute in Paris)
  • Catherine Brun (New Sorbonne University)
  • Brian Schiff (The American University of Paris)
  • Russell Williams (The American University of Paris)

Proposals in French or English of 600-700 words and a biobibliographical notice of 150 words to be sent to:

[email protected]

Deadline for submission: March 1, 2023.

Acceptance date: early April 2023.

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