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This is a hybrid event, held online and in person

Speaker: Saskia Huc-Hepher (University of Westminster)

En(tre les) ligne(s): Reading between the lines, modes and materialities of the London French “diasberspace”

From Sartre’s existential contemplations on a pebble (1938) and Ponge’s ‘plaisirs de la porte’ (1942: 44) to Robbe-Grillet’s fixations with a tomato (1953) and Delerm’s Première Gorgée de bière (1997), not forgetting the objects of Barthes’ Mythologies (1957) and Perec’s Les Choses (1965), everyday materialities have featured prominently in France’s literary and philosophical tradition, giving insights into the people(s) and places connected with these quotidian artefacts. Fast-forward to 21st-century London, where French residents constitute a significant component of the city’s diasporic minorities and where, through the rise of the World Wide Web, the authority of the published literature of a few has been challenged by the authorship of the many, this paper explores the material lifeworlds of London’s French residents as (re)presented online. How are the everyday textures of the transnational, translingual and transcultural experience materialised in the London French “diasberspace”? And what can a close ethnosemiotic reading of London French digital artefacts preserved in the UK Web Archive reveal about identity, belonging and home? Building on her monograph, French London: A blended ethnography of a migrant city (2021), in this talk Huc-Hepher will explore the ethnographically rich and conceptually fluid spaces between modes, languages and cultures. Her trans-modal analytical lens will reveal the meaning-making potential of in-betweenness and deconstruct binaries such as online/offline, here/there, past/present, visual/written, public/private and national/local, thereby transcending geographical and disciplinary dividing lines.

All are welcome to attend this free event which will be held in person and online via zoom. Please register to attend the event by clicking Book Now at the top of the page. If you wish to attend online, the zoom link will be sent out in the confirmation email when you register. The event should be recorded and available to view afterwards.