Modern Languages

Call for papers on Victor Segalen

9 December 2015

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Mathilde Poizat-Amar, lecturer in French from the Department of Modern Languages, has received a funding award from the Association Victor Segalen and the Society of French Studies for a conference on Victor Segalen. The conference will take place at the University of Kent on 22 April 2016.

Victor Segalen (1878-1919) is a French writer, poet, doctor and archaeologist who wrote extensively on his travels to French Polynesia and China and contributed to shift the understanding of exoticism and the Otherness at the beginning of the 20th century.

Since Victor Segalen's premature death in 1919, literary critics and theorists acknowledged the importance of his work within the field of travel writing, modernity and exoticism, despite a lack of recognition from a wider audience – his texts (be they essays, novel or poems) are indeed, compared to these days, often considered as difficult to define, obscure, or unfinished by the francophone readership. In the last 30 years however, Segalen's work became more and more important within the field of modern French studies, as reflected by the forthcoming publication of his Complete Works (Paris: Champion), and the recovery of the critical Cahiers Victor Segalen since 2013. Beyond the field of literary studies, Segalen's work has shown to be central to the examination of alterity and exoticism in philosophy, anthropology and more recently, in post-colonial studies.

This one-day conference aims at inviting established scholars and early-career scholars to question and think about the relevance of segalenian studies almost 100 years after he died. How do we read, how do we think with Segalen in 2016? The communications will deepen knowledge and explore new ways of thinking about Segalen's work, and thinking with his work. They will focus on the following aspects of his writing:

  • Legacy of Victor Segalen
  • Distance, heterogeneity and exoticism
  • The Other, the Elsewhere and the Self
  • Reality and Imagination
  • The Body
  • Text and critical theory
  • Origins and destinations
  • Poetics of the text

Please send a 300-word abstract (in English or French) with a short biography by the 15th January 2016 to this address: Communications should not exceed 20 minutes.

Further details and the full call for papers is available at:



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Last Updated: 13/05/2015