a test of self-analysis in the experience of a researcher in an eccentric literary field. Conf. J.-P. Orban (IMEC Paris)

The first session of the Francophone Manuscripts team workshop 2022-2023 will be held on January 18th, from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM, in the magnificent building of IMEC at 6 rue Dubois (75006) in Paris.

After an introduction by IMEC’s ​​Literary Director, Albert Dichy, Jean-Pierre Orban spoke about “Smugglers of African literature. »

The panelist for this session will be Maëline Le Lay.

“Smugglers of African Literature, followed by ‘Blind Spots and Ghosts’: An Experiment in Self-Analysis in the Experience of a Researcher in an Out-of-Center Literary Field. By Jean-Pierre Orban

Starting with the presentation given at the opening ceremony of the Department of African Literature and Art (Royal Academy of Morocco) in Rabat, on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean and not far from the Mediterranean Sea, based on its meaning and functions, “The Smuggler”, I first began to explore the influence of African literature, especially sub-Saharan European (but equally I will try to paint an incomplete, impressionistic panorama of what might have been African) smugglers, from settler to current academic. to the publication, and then to the dubbing of prominent personalities (leaving aside the work of the editor, who is considered more of a carrier here). I will then focus on highlighting the possible ambiguities and ambiguities of the ‘transitional’ role in the word itself, as well as in its synonyms and parallels: ‘sponsor’, ‘intercessor’, ‘mediator’ or ‘between’. , the circulation of cultures and a concept that has been increasingly studied in recent years across the sciences (Simon Schaffer, Lissa Roberts, Kapil Raj and James Delbourgo (eds.), The Brokered World: Go-Betweens and Global Intelligence, 2009). ; K. Raj, Go-Betweens, Travelers and Cultural Translators, A Companion to the History of Science, Bernard Lightman ed., 2016).

However, the concept of a link or mediator presupposes the place of a third element (the “third party”, K. Raj) that is relatively neutral for these cultural smugglers (idem). However, it seems to me that this notion should be questioned when the focus is on the translation of unfinished cultural objects (such as manuscripts, theatrical or musical projects, etc.) from a field preserved and still ongoing by “transmitters”. relations of dominance between the creators of these objects or paradoxical power relations today (editorial, financial, logistical), sometimes unknown nostalgic relation to distant lands (creating a sustainable living condition) for this past ownership or habitation (creating a sustainable living condition) ( editorial, financial, logistical) even full of exoticism), a sense of guilt and a desire to restore (which we adopt, nurture and enjoy). In this configuration, the lens tends to blur or serve the deeper motivations of the unconscious or repressed passerby, who loses his neutral third position to find himself face to face with the object and its source. , with their own delusions, prejudices and blind spots, if they admit it.

Apart from the cultural actor who sometimes becomes a co-producer of final products (re-author of manuscripts, imaginary speaker of works), I would like to ask myself about biases and blind spots in literary research, including genetics. criticism, by laying the foundation for a self-analysis that can conceptualize these concepts in a second step.

Unlike anthropology (M. Godelier, Ch. Gassarian, JPOlivier de Sardan and others), sociology (already Weber) or recently history (the application of the concept of “ego-history”), literary research, with rare exceptions (thus, when it comes to theater studies , M. Le Lay, among others, emphasizes the transition of the research object from researcher to co-constructor, “From Dwarf to Anthropologist”, Continents manuscripts: https://journals.openedition .org/coma/4288), little thought about his work. I will try to start the process by taking from the social or psychological sciences concepts that may be useful to us in the literary field (blind spots – A. Vermylen –, biases, transferences and countertransferences, etc.). In particular, I will try to focus on the possible genetic approach in parallel with archeology to avoid personal prejudices thanks to the objects, materials, excluding the “dead” and also the violations on both sides of the biography. more author than researcher. I will examine the approach of the Manuscrits francophones team, starting with the choice of its name, and the knots and sometimes impasses it has faced since its inception. Is our approach neutral? At what point (corpus selection, axis identification, analysis, recovery) does the staff invest in the object and translate its meaning with its camouflaged goals and repressed motives at the risk of betraying it? Finally, without getting lost in the drifts that the current ethical turn movement (including Didier Fassin) sometimes suffers, can we draw the ethics of our approach in the first sense of the term: inquiry and behavioral proposal. instead of a coast-to-coast ferry activity, we are looking at our ‘facilities’, working towards a new ‘interaction’ with our lands.

Naturally, starting with myself and finding legitimacy in the recently published text of Pierre Bourdieu (Sketch for Auto-Analysis, 2004), I will attempt to trace my biases through a brief biography, framing self-analysis properly. that would explain them. – Jean-Pierre Orbán

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