UR Fabrique du littéraire - Fablitt (Research Unit: Literary Craftsmanship)

The UR Fabrique du littéraire (Fablitt; formerly EA 7322) focuses its research primarily on the material side of literary production and the various imaginings associated with different literary cultures.

Following in the footsteps of the Literature, Histories, Aesthetics team that came before it, this Research Unit also places a strong focus on literary research-creation.

Its members divide their research into three key thematic areas:

  • moving beyond traditional literary history to explore alternative narratives thus challenging the historical canon and pursuing decentred approaches. Theme: Archaeologies of the Contemporary;
  • extending the progress made within Paris 8 University’s Creative Writing master’s into the realm of research, both through the production of a creative writing theory and experimenting with the forms of research specific to creative writing. Theme: Creative practices and theory;
  • enhancing and renewing our team’s long-standing identity, deeply rooted in political analysis. Theme: Politics of literature.

In parallel to these three themes and in order to reflect the practices of several of its members (creative writing, production, editing, media), the Research Unit is introducing a cross-disciplinary and exploratory theme on literary curation.

Fablitt aims to be a leading centre for research-creation, experimentation and action research in the field of literary cultures, helping to bring new knowledge to light.

With 30 full and associated members, the Unit welcomes around 80 doctoral students. Attached to Doctoral School 31 (Practices and theories of meaning) and associated with the EUR ArTeC European Research School, it has a close working relationship with the Nouveau Collège d’études politiques (NCEP). The Unit is located at the Maison de la Recherche of Paris 8 University in Saint-Denis (rooms 118, 119, 120).

Research themes:

1) Archaeologies of the contemporary

This first theme aims to highlight the unique nature of our relationship with past works, examined not through a history of literature lens but through an archaeological approach working back from the present day. The unique concept of this theme is to bring together researchers of everything from ancient to contemporary literature in the same methodological and epistemological vision of the contemporary; the contemporary is no longer understood as merely a historical period. This addresses three key questions: the renewal of literary texts, their transmission and their circulation.

2) Creative practices and theories

This theme focuses on various approaches to literary creation explored by our team’s writers and theorists:

- “creative writing” or literary research-creation. Our team welcomed the first doctoral students in this emerging discipline by partnering with Paris 8 University’s Creative Writing master’s, the biggest course of its kind in France.

- philosophical reflection: the Philosophie, arts et littérature (Philosophy, Arts and Literature) seminar welcomes theorists from a variety of disciplines.

This theme builds on the tradition of applying the theoretical approaches invented and/or promoted by our team, including genetics, poetics and semiotics.

3) Politics of literature

This theme, which concerns the work of several of the Unit’s researchers, is split into two key areas:

- Research on extreme violence: this theme studies historical situations where a large number of people were executed or submitted to dehumanising treatment, either physically, psychologically or culturally. It studies the literary and artistic works resulting from these situations, as well as the new concepts and models required within this area of study.

The research in this area focuses both on mass murder — particularly genocides — and the many forms that psychological and cultural destruction can take on a collective level, particularly in the context of former colonies.

- Literary eco-politics: this theme builds on the research that has been underway for several years on the representation of relationships between non-humans (particularly animals) to promote a broader dynamic around eco-criticism. The Unit hopes to play a pioneering role in mobilising literary interpretations to help our societies understand what is at stake in our relationships with our various environments. This will take three main forms. Firstly, we will revisit texts of the past and present to seek, through the specific means of literary interpretation, intuitions, denunciations and wisdoms relating to the insertion of our lives into their ’natural’ environments, which of course implies contributing to long-term questioning of the very notion of ’nature’. Secondly, and more broadly speaking, it is a question of using literary resources to define our environmental sensitivities according to “The Three Ecologies” linking our biological environments with our socio-political and mental environments, a task of articulation within which literary attention seems to us to be able to play a role as a model. Finally, the aim is to actively participate, through academic research and literary creation, in the creation of new perspectives that try to confront the political challenges of the “anthropocene”, responding to the destructive events caused by the development of an ecocidal capitalism. These acts are accompanied by the belief that literary activity can play an important role in the necessary mental, social and political shifts in progress.

Cross-disciplinary theme: Literary Curation

Fablitt also pursues a cross-disciplinary project centred on three themes on the subject of literary curation. Literary curation is the very foundation of a literary tradition based on the rearrangement of the existing rather than creation ex-nihilo; it defines editorial practice (creation of catalogues, editorial lines, editorial control) and the history of the book — the condition of literature beyond books — requiring new activities and new professions (festival directors, literary directors, etc.). But, above all, it is the doctrine of this cross-disciplinary programme and a method of literary research, both in terms of its history and its contemporary realities.

UFR Textes et sociétés
ED 31 : Pratiques et Théories du Sens

2 rue de la Liberté
93526 SAINT-DENIS, France

Website: https://fablitt.univ-paris8.fr/