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Oana Panaïté, Necropoetics, African Spaces, and ‘le grantécrivain noir’
November 13, 2020 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Co-sponsored by European Studies and the Department of French & Italian.
Inspired by death and its traumatic effects that can sometimes reverberate throughout entire generations, narratives of the aftermath struggle to put into words the unsayable and unthinkable, to convey the shock of a senseless loss and the need to make sense of it. I argue that erecting narrative tombs is the gesture through which contemporary literature in French gathers in a single commemorative place the remains of H/history and its own story. In the manner of its Early Modern avatar, “le tombeau littéraire,” the contemporary genre seeks to address memory lapses and to correct historical injustices while asserting the creative authority of its writer. By examining the ways in which necropoetics both reflects and resists what Achille Mbembe has called “necropolitics,” I will also delve into the contentious yet intimate relationship between singular models of literary remembrance and the “scripting” power of institutional narratives.
Oana Panaïté is Ruth N. Halls Professor of French/Francophone Studies and Chair of the Department of French and Italian at Indiana University – Bloomington, also serving as President of the Conseil International of Études Francophones (CIÉF). Her publications include the monographs Des littératuresmondes en français. Écritures singulières, poétiques transfrontalières dans la prose contemporaine (2012) and The Colonial Fortune in Contemporary Fiction in French (2017). Having recently completed a book entitled Necrofiction: Literary Memory in the Age of Necropolitics, she is currently working on a “critical dialogue” between Édouard Glissant and Jacques Derrida.
Conducted via Zoom.