On 29 May at 16:15, the University of Tartu Professor in Romance Studies delivers her inaugural lecture “Inhabiting the Contemporary World: The Novels of Jean Echenoz” in the university assembly hall.
As we move from fantasies of a global village to an actual global world and from environmental warnings to ecological disasters, we have come to realise that our planet is finite. The changing inhabitation patterns of the planet can be noticed, for example, in the increased mobility of humans and in questions about the relationship between humans and their habitat, such as those raised by transhumanism. Literary works provide insights into the inhabitation processes by insisting on the representation and imagination essential to any “practice of space”. There is no such thing as objective space, despite the Moderns’ attempts to produce one. The novels of contemporary French writer Jean Echenoz (b. 1947), which he himself defines as “geographical”, are particularly helpful in reflecting on inhabitation and its meaning today. This lecture presents a literary analysis of his novel Nous trois (We Three) (1992) to show what happens to the occupation of space and place when the Earth becomes involved in a love triangle.
Professor Sara Bédard-Goulet received her PhD in French Language Literature from the University of Toulouse (France) in 2012. She continued her research there and was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) in 2015. She spent two years at the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM), working on a project on contemporary inhabitation in the novels of Jean Echenoz. In 2016, she received another grant from the SSHRC and led a research project entitled “Contemporary Bodies and Lived Spaces” until this spring. As a postdoctoral researcher at UQAM, she collaborated on a project on the performative relationship of literature and cinema before her appointment as an ASTRA Professor of Romance Studies at the University of Tartu.
Professor Bédard-Goulet’s work in Tartu is supported by the University of Tartu ASTRA project PER ASPERA, which is financed by the European Regional Development Fund.