News and Events

News and Events

Mon utlime pri√®re: √Ē mon corps, fais de moi toujours un homme qui interroge!


Jan. 31: Lecture, Lionel Ruffel


Please join us Wednesday, January 31, 2018 for a lecture by Lionel Ruffel, professor of Comparative Literature and Creative Writing at Universit√© Paris 8. His talk is entitled “Brouhaha: An Archive of the Contemporary” (a description of the talk is provided below), and graduate student Patrick Lyons (UCB French) will responding.

The talk will begin at 5pm in the French Department Library (4229 Dwinelle Hall). Refreshments will be served.

‚ÄúAn Archive of the Contemporary‚ÄĚ

What is the contemporary?¬†For about fifteen years now, this question has kept coming up, across many cultures and languages. Never before has an interrogation on historical identity been so widely shared and so profoundly globalized, which means also that never before have real and potential controversies been so intense and politicized. The word ‚Äúbrouhaha‚ÄĚ tries to translate this turbulence, these mixtures, this cacophony that inform our understanding of the contemporary. Acknowledging this poses a difficulty for the essayist who wants to talk about it. How to account for the brouhaha without either restraining it or allowing it to overwhelm us? To do justice to the thesis, we will (virtually) survey the world and we will listen. We will listen to a multitude of actors, classifying and sorting as little as possible, not effacing them or their presence. This will not be a matter of name dropping but rather of a choral inquiry in which no one is reduced to an extra. We will try to reveal and make heard the world of the contemporary, or rather the worlds of the contemporary, as they are constituted in places, words, and actions that are often conflictual.

Lionel Ruffel is a literary scholar, publisher and¬†professor of Comparative Literature and Creative Writing at Universit√© Paris 8. Among his recent projects, he has convened (together with artist Kader Attia) ‚ÄúTheory Now‚ÄĚ in Paris, ‚ÄúThe Publishing Sphere‚ÄĚ at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin) and ‚ÄúRadio Brouhaha‚ÄĚ at Pompidou Center, Paris.¬†His last book¬†Brouhaha,¬†Worlds of the Contemporary¬†(‚ÄúA Univocal Book‚ÄĚ, University of Minnesota Press, 2018, translated from the French) is a global investigation (covering literary theory, cultural studies, contemporary arts and literatures) of what the word ‚Äúcontemporary‚ÄĚ means and the reasons for why the term imposed itself within the field of representations and practices. He‚Äôs currently writing a collection of stories on literary history.