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Faculty Fellow

Alison James

Professor of French Literature, and the College  University of Chicago


Photo by Erielle Bakkum

Alison James works on twentieth- and twenty-first-century French literature, with a particular focus on post–World War II experimental writing, representations of everyday life, chance and contingency in literature, and nonfiction narrative. What unites these interests is her enduring concern with literature’s varied modes of engagement with reality, and a fascination with the social and collective meanings of literary forms. James is the author of Constraining Chance: Georges Perec and the Oulipo (Northwestern University Press, 2009) and, most recently, The Documentary Imagination in Twentieth-Century French Literature (Oxford University Press, 2020).

To learn more about Alison James's research and publications, please see her profile page at the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures.

Featured Project

Fact and Fiction: Creation, Forms, Boundaries

2016 – 2017


Possible and Impossible Fictions

In René Magritte's "Golconda" (1953), men in suits rain down over the city.

Possible and Impossible Fictions

How does fiction model our understanding of what is possible, and how does our sense of what is possible constrain what is perceived to be possible or impossible in fictional worlds?

This project builds on the intellectual exchanges begun by the Neubauer Collegium project “Fact and Fiction” (2016–17), while orienting them toward...