Back to Facts?

Tuesday, April 4
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society
5701 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60637

In this conversation, sponsored by the Fact and Fiction research project at the Neubauer Collegium, Visiting Fellow Françoise Lavocat (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle - Paris 3) and Alexandre Gefen (CNRS/Université Paris-Sorbonne) will consider two complementary movements: first, literary theory’s return to facts via the critique of postmodernist conceptions of fiction and via the contributions of psychology and cognitive science; second, the new realism and documentary passion prevalent in contemporary literary creation.

About the Participants:

Alexandre Gefen is a research professor (Chargé de recherche) at the Centre d'Étude de la Langue et de la Littérature Française at the CNRS and the Université Paris-Sorbonne. He is the author of La Mimèsis, Inventer une vie, La Fabrique littéraire l’individu, and Réparer le monde. La littérature française face au XXIe siècle (forthcoming in 2017), and he has also edited numerous collective volumes. His research concerns questions of literary theory applied to contemporary French literature: mimetic theory, the theory of emotions, the epistemological status of possible worlds, the functions and effects of fiction considered as a thought experiment. Engaging theoretical tools in the analysis of current developments in literature, his work examines the profound aesthetic changes occasioned by our current post-formalist situation and the revised place of “literature” in the contemporary world. As founder and director of the website, an international platform for the dissemination of research in literature, and of the center for digital publishing CEPM at Université Paris-Sorbonne, he has developed parallel research interests in the development of digital humanities and literary studies.

Françoise Lavocat is a professor and the chair of comparative literature at the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle - Paris 3. She has taught undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral seminars since 1993. Professor Lavocat has held visiting professorships at John’s Hopkins University, Tel Aviv University, and the University of Chicago, and was a Visiting Scholar at the Wissenschaftskolleg. She has a PhD and a Masters in Comparative Literature from University Paris 7-Denis Diderot, and has published extensively, including five books. While on campus as a Neubauer Collegium Visiting Fellow she will complete and revise the English version of her book Fact and Fiction: In Defense of a Border.