Speaker: Beth Kearney, French Discipline, School of Languages and Cultures

Title: Disrupting Norms of Exposure and Concealment in Photo-texts by Annie Ernaux and Catherine Millet

Abstract: The exposure of sexual and corporeal experience is a dominant trope in the respective literary œuvres of Annie Ernaux and Catherine Millet. Both authors have indeed published works that expose aspects of their sexual life in explicit, or at least brazen, detail. Additionally, they have incorporated photographs into their sexual narratives. Photography has a very particular relationship with representing sexual experience, and is quite often used to exert an indirect form of scopic power over women's bodies. And yet, in this paper, Beth demonstrates that Ernaux and Millet harness specific features of photography and the written word to reclaim control over the ways that their bodies are exposed and concealed. In doing so, both authors disrupt the gendered power relations that typically emerge in photographic portrayals of women's sexual experience.

Content warning: some images included in the Powerpoint are polemic and may be described as erotic or pornographic.

The seminar will be held in-person in room 32-401 however there is also the option to login via Zoom, ID number 83579432569.

About Studies in Culture Seminar Series

Through the scholarly analysis of many different kinds of cultural products, texts and phenomena, Studies in Culture brings together researchers who seek to understand how the world is understood differently by people coming from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Researchers in this cluster work on literature, film, music, theatre, the visual arts, intangible heritage, testimonies and historical narratives.

Research in Studies in Culture within the School centres around four broad sub-themes of Heritage, memory and trauma studies; Intellectual and cultural history; Literature; and Film and visual cultures.

To view more on the research and interests of the Studies in Culture cluster, please click here.


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