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From “screen writings” to post-Internet expressions. A French perspective on digital textualities

Recorded on 15 December 2022

A public keynote address given on 15 December 2022 as part of the On the Margins Conference

To which extent can we conceptualise digital artifacts through the lenses of the Humanities? As present-day digital humanists and Internet researchers, what is the amount of attention that we devote to contextualising contemporary technologies within the frame of a larger cultural history? 

Are these questions symptomatic of how we may feel indebted to a particular intellectual tradition? With such reflections in mind, this conference aims at acquainting English-speaking scholars with a localised French perspective on digital textualities. Drawing upon the seminal works of Emmanuël Souchier and Yves Jeanneret, in the framework of what has been called a “screen writing” theory (théorie des écrits d’écran), we will see how a Sorbonne-based literary heritage ended up developing an original set of concepts for analysing digital objects as diverse as software programs, cd-roms, websites, blogs, social media platforms and apps. By discussing their “socio-semiotic” approach throughout a testimonial research journey (1999-2022), we will reflect upon the cultural value of a series of globalised post-Internet expressions (neologisms, buzzwords, Internet jargon) which may challenge our views as digital humanists with a shared interest for screen-intensive practices and contemporary literacies.

Gustavo Gomez-Mejia is associate professor in Information and Communication Sciences at the University of Tours (PRIM research team) and adjunct editor-in-chief for Communication & langages. Most of his research works deal with the study of digital cultures, media industries and the semiotics of screen textualities. He is the author of Les Fabriques de Soi? Identité et industrie sur le web (MkF, 2016 ) and Le Numérique comme écriture (in collaboration with E. Souchier, E. Candel & V. Jeanne-Perrier, A. Colin, 2019).