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  • Forum Jean Bessière

2-3 décembre 2016: colloque "Center(s) and Periphery(ies): Literatures and Literary Issues"




En collaboration avec Amaury Dehoux, Jean Bessière organise à l'Université catholique de Louvain (Belgique) le colloque intitulé "Center(s) and Periphery (ies): Literatures and Literary Issues". Il y présentera la communication intitulée "Les variables du centre et de la périphérie, considérées à partir de la théorie des systèmes de Luhmann". Vous pouvez lire l'argumentaire ci-dessous.


Both notions Center and Periphery are flexible and command relativistic approaches. Whatever field of activity is considered, there are many centers and peripheries in the world, depending upon various countries’ and regions’ inter-connections; one country can be deemed central in regard to specific countries, and peripheral in regard to others.


In literature, the history of this duality Center/Periphery is long. The colloquium/seminar will focus upon today central or peripheral situations of literatures—the latter are to be defined according to national and/or cultural and/or linguistic identities.


In order to frame the presentations and discussions, we suggest to highlight the following typology of situations, which should authorize to define specific approaches:

1. Literatures written in minor languages—their situations within and connections to broader cultural, political, international environments.

2. Literatures written in a language widely used (for example English, Spanish, French, Arabic) and peripheral from a geographical point of view (for example, Spanish South American Literatures and Western Literatures) and/or from a cultural point of view (for example, Uruguayan literature within South American Literatures).

3. Situations of Francophone literatures – European francophone literatures and French Literature; Francophone Literatures defined as a “dispersed” whole or according to the specific situations of each them, in regard to other literatures (either francophone or not francophone). (Examples: Francophone literatures in Africa).

4. Literatures which can be qualified peripheral and pertain to wide cultural wholes (Example: Literatures of the Pacific islands).

5. Peripheral literatures which pertain to linguistic or cultural networks (Examples: literatures in Arabic, literatures of Islamic countries).

6. Identifications or re-identifications and definitions or redefinitions of central literatures today (Paris/London, New York/Tokyo, etc.).

7. Literatures being globalized and their centrality (Example: China).

8. Regional wholes and connections/centrality/periphery of their literatures (Examples: Mediterranean area, Caraibes, South East Asia).


Within this typology, which is only indicative, the Center/Periphery issue can be addressed in many ways (status of literary works, book trade, translations, writers’ points of view, impacts on literary creation, etc.).

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