Friday, April 28 – Literature and Politics – FLT and Paris Diderot LARCA invite George Shulman and Juliette Utard

 

FLT/A19 and LARCA (Research Laboratory in Anglophone Culture, Paris Diderot) invite George Shulman (Gallatin School, NYU) and Juliette Utard (Paris Sorbonne, VALE, LARCA-CNRS) on Friday, April 28, 2017.

The seminar will take place at 2 pm, at Université Paris Diderot, Bât. Olympe de Gouges, room 163.

George Shulman (Gallatin School of NYU): « Postmortem Effects: Impasse and Genre in American Politics and Literature »

« At a moment of historical impasse and national division, George Shulman claims that profound insight is found not in the texts typically canonized as « American Political Thought, » but in the fictions and poetry of literary artists from Melville and Whitman to Faulkner, Ellison, and Morrison. To explore what is unspeakable in American politics, its unsaid axioms and disavowed conditions of possibility, the literature repeatedly forgoes a realist aesthetic; instead, literary artists use genres of fabulation to dramatize how national romances of self-making and more perfect union generate tragedy, ghosts, horror, and farce. Representing the return of what is repressed by prevailing political languages of liberalism, nationalism, and individualism, such fictions at once probe and embody the meaning of the political by dramatizing the fictionality at its core. »

George Shulman teaches Political Theory and American Studies at The Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University. He received his PhD in Political Science and American Studies from University of California, Berkeley, in 1982. The American Political Science Association awarded his second book, American Prophecy: Race and Redemption in American Politics (2008, Minnesota) the David Eastman Prize for « best book in political theory. » He has published essays relating political theory and literary studies, as well as Political Theology and Critical Race Theory.

Juliette Utard (Paris-Sorbonne, VALE, LARCA-CNRS): The American Poetry Collection and the Trials of Federal Democracy: “Necro Citizenship” in Spoon River Anthology (1915) by Edgar Lee Masters
Looking at American poetry from the vantage point of the US model of federal democracy, this talk undertakes a (political) reading of Edgar Lee Masters’ striking collection of epitaph-poems Spoon River Anthology (1915, 1916) a hundred years after it was first published. Not quite the nostalgic, agrarian myth of rural Midwest it has come to embody, Spoon River Anthology uncovers a vast necropolis where the (dis)united dead of America lie side by side as “necro citizens.” “[T]he only democracy—the graveyard” then, as one of the poems suggests? Russ Castronovo reminds us that “Not all subjects lie still in democracy’s graveyard.” In fact a hundred years on, Spoon River Anthology reads as a critical laboratory of democracy that repeatedly challenges the US political model, investigating modes of poetic assemblage together with new forms of political assembly.

Juliette Utard teaches American literature at the University of Paris-Sorbonne and is currently on leave at LARCA. She is the author of Wallace Stevens : Une poétique du fini (forthcoming, Honoré Champion) and co-editor of Wallace Stevens, Poetry and France (forthcoming, “Actes de la Recherche,” Éditions rue d’Ulm). Her current research focuses on the American poetry book and its editorial, critical and political issues in the digital age.


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