Chercheur en accueil

MEEDOM_photoChercheur en accueil


Doctorant en accueil au CRAL-Animots : janvier-juin 2016

Institutions de rattachement : Université d’Oslo (Norvège) et Université de Copenhague (Danemark)
Institution secondaire : EHESS
Laboratoires de rattachement : Insitutt for litteratur ; de janvier à juin 2016 : CRAL

Coordonnées professionnelles :

Statut : Doctorant en lettres à l’Université d’Oslo, en cotutelle avec l’Université de Copenhague
Sujet de thèse : Vulnerable Creatures : Life, the Living, and the Zoopolitics of Modernist Fiction Around 1930
Directeurs de thèse : Michael Lundblad (Oslo) et Frederik Tygstrup (Copenhague)


Vulnerable Creatures: Life, the Living, and the Zoopolitics of Modernist Fiction Around 1930 (Working Title)


Vulnerable Creatures is a study of the place and function of the tension between biopolitical norms and the vulnerability of individual living bodies at the levels of language, the body and politics in the works of six modernist authors: Virginia Woolf, Djuna Barnes, Jean Giono, Alfred Döblin, Louis-Ferdinand Céline and Hans Henny Jahnn. The dissertation proposes to read a selection of novels from around 1930 insisting on existence as ‘nothing but’ a living body, yet a body always created by outside forces both political and natural, or more precisely, the ‘natural’ is eminently political. After the Great War the traumatic experience of humans and other animals as expendable material entailed a fundamental reckoning with civilization, reason, and the value and meaning of violence. The ensuing political and ideological turbulence saw feverish discourses of organic wholeness and re-birth, but also an aesthetical focus on the living body as fundamentally mortal and vulnerable. The dissertation claims that modernist fiction acts zoopolitically in its re-configuration of experience after the Great War when writing living bodies—humans and mostly domesticated animals such as cows, pigs, horses, and dogs—as sites of political formation and formal invention.

In recent years scholars have probed the complex relationship between humans and other animals focusing on the construction and deconstruction of the human-animal divide, in turn describing a fundamental thought figure in Western philosophy and politics. However, the ‘alive’ part, the animation, or the conceptual bind of life and the living has hitherto escaped literary criticism precluding a more fully fledged understanding of the interwar modernist novel attuned to its historic entanglements in a cultural moment obsessed with the normative properties of life. To speak of a zoopolitics of fiction serves to create a new axis in modernist studies allowing for the analysis of a consistent repertoire of images, narratives and focalizing techniques which the texts display, and for how they are animated by and obstruct interwar biopolitical discourses. The political valence of living bodies cannot be separated from the forms of violence. Enchantment names the tendency to see in violence some kind of transformative power where living bodies can be sacrificed for a higher purpose. Conversely, disenchantment denotes a form of active stripping away of the individual body as expendable, an insistence that the violated body is not a site of regeneration. I propose the term creatures to name the forms of living bodies that stress disenchantment and vulnerability. The creaturely grasps how the living is figured as de-autonomized dependent beings without necessarily fitting the categories of the human as opposed to the animal. The creaturely denotes a state of exposure to other living bodies and biopolitical norms but also desire towards other living bodies—sometimes across species lines. The creaturely acts as a mode of zoopolitics that most fundamentally exposes the difficulties of positing living bodies as the site of politics and formal invention. With the introduction of a zoopolitical perspective on modernist fiction, the dissertation marks the first comparative study of life and the living in the modernist novel around 1930.


Cursus Universitaire :

2014-2017 : PhD scholarship, Comparative Literature, University of Oslo
2015 : Visiting graduate student, The New School, Department of Liberal Studies
2015 : Visiting scholar, Würzburg University, Cultural and Literary Animal Studies, Department of German Studies
2013-2014 : Assistant curator, History of Psychiatry, Medical Museion, Museum of Medical History, University of Copenhagen
2012 : MA, with distinction, Modern Culture Studies, University of Copenhagen
2011 : Semestre d’échange, Lettres, Université de Paris VII
2009 : BA, History of Ideas, University of Aarhus


Honorine Tellier

Rédaction et aide à la conception du carnet

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