Theme : The Imaginary

Centred on the Imaginary, whether this concept is understood as an interface between the subjective position and the world, as a register of thought or as the universe of images and signs, texts and objects of thought, this conference will explore the relationship between text and image in a transformative context that finds us more and more decisively crossing from a book-centred to a screen-centred culture.

In this context, the imaginary affirms itself as a way of interpreting the world; it is clearly inscribed at the heart of our relationships with art, literature and culture. The conference will enable us to explore this theme through theoretical inquiries that seek to define and conceptualize this notion, as well as through practices of analysis and interpretation of texts and images, in both historical and contemporary perspectives, at the intersection of visual and textual culture studies, through interdisciplinary and intermedial approaches.


Six thematic axes are proposed in order to elicit sessions organized around common areas of interest.

1-    Manufacturing the contemporary

This theme will enable us to analyse and question the productions and mechanisms that are at the heart of the contemporary Imaginary, accounting for its specificity and its capacity for innovation, whether in aesthetic, mediated, political or social terms.


4 - Digital Aesthetics (Bertrand Gervais)

7 - Imaginary Realm of Narration in Contemporary Mixed (Written Text and Fixed Image) Literary Output (Jean-Louis Tilleuil)

11 - Meta- and Inter-Images in Art (Carla Taban)

12 - Figures of the Contemporary Imaginary (Bénérice Maguière)

24 - Picturia et Poesis? Play on Image, Text and Ground Supports in Works of Art, 19th-21st Centuries (Sofiane Laghouati)

36 - Envisioning the Imaginary: Heuristic Challenges (Bertrand Gervais)

2-    The Imaginary of Theory

Theory is in itself an area of the Imaginary, engaging us in an act of imagination. Accordingly, this will be an opportunity to reflect on the links between, on the one hand,  theories of image and text and, on the other, representations of knowledge, action and subjectivity.

22 - New Theories and Methods for Screen-Centered Interfaces (Sheila Petty)

31 - Theoros and the Celebration of Thinking (Mirella Vadean and Mathilde Branthomme)

32 - Traces and Imprints, Fragments and Inscriptions: Screening the Imaginary (Laurence Petit, Liliane Louvel and Julie Leblanc)


3-    The Imaginary Remembered

We hope to elicit an exploration of the forms of the past and of memory. To think through the Imaginary is to examine, in their very density, the many modes of documentation, conservation, transmission, dissemination, emphasis and legitimation of cultural, artistic and literary productions.

1 - On the threshold of perception: secrets figures, unclassifiables figures (Émilie Granjon)

2 - Deconstructing the Rite: For a Story-Telling of a Cultural Imaginary in Arts (XIXth - XXIth Centuries) (Sophie Dumoulin and Sophie Ménard)

5 - Figurations of the Writer in Images (David Martens)

13 - Nineteenth-century Physiologies as an Imaginary (Lauren S. Weingarden)

14 - Imagined Past: Monuments and Memorials (Véronique Plesch)

17 - The Rise of the Imaginary (Jacques Gilbert)

26 - Re-Membering the Imaginary: Artists’ Engagement with Literary Sites (Christina-Maria Lerm Hayes)

27 - Shifts and Variations: Literary and Iconographic Representations of the Bible (Aurélia Hetzel)

28 - Ritualism in Art and Literature (Myriam Watthee-Delmotte and Laurent Déom)

30 - Text and Image in History and Society Museums (Marie-Sylvie Poli)

34 - Edges of the Book (Michèle Hannoosh)


4-    The Imaginary: A Symbolic Economy

This axis is more specifically concerned with relations between art and power, whether these are manifested in the areas of patronage (religious or civic institutions, the state and its prerogatives), or through the impact of market forces. In what ways have the Imaginary and our attitudes towards it been affected by the many forms that power has taken throughout history?

9 - I is (A) Another (Body). Differences and Repetitions in the Representations of Body in Cinema and in New Media (Benjamin Lesson)

15 - Imagining the Self: Materialization and Figurability of the Spiritual in the 17th Century (Muriel Clair and Emmanuelle Friant)

20 - The (Un)Imaginable — Aposiopesis in Words and Images (Massimo Leone)

25 - Let Darkness Be. Doomdsay Imaginary in Modern and Extreme Contemporary Literature and Cinema  (Morgane Leray)

33 - Imagined Cities, Imaginary Cities, How To Find One’s Way Again (Anne-Marie Broudehoux and Céline Poisson)


5-    Forms, Figures and Effigies

To speak of the Imaginary is to focus on the specific forms and figures through which its workings are made manifest. This axis will welcome an exploration of the images of the body and of the representations of self, from the earliest figurines and effigies to the most contemporary avatars and virtual characters. Always claiming its privileged position in art and literature, the body has  shown itself in the Imaginary through a ceaselessly renewed process of textual and visual representation and cultural construction.

3 - From Body’s Images to Subject’s Words: the Bodily Immersion in the Contemporary Imaginary (Bernard Andrieu and Alexandre Klein)

8 - Investment and Manipulation of Images: From Effigies to Videogames (Nathalie Roelens and Paolo Granata)


6-    The Imaginary and Popular Culture

The study of popular culture is a way of understanding the internal construction of the Imaginary. It is also a way of staging symbolic processes in their capacity to both make “the new” visible and to thereby influence behaviours. This axis will welcome studies of the imaginary constructions emerging from performance, rituals and public space, that will in turn foster an analysis of their textual, visual or oral expressions.

6 - Popular Musical Imagery:  Symbolic Processes and Social Meanings (Lise Bizzoni, Cécile Prévost-Thomas and Catherine Rudent)

16 - Thresholds to the Imaginary: Book Illustration and Image-Text Inquiry (Eric T. Haskell)

19 - Televisual Imaginary: Television Viewed through Contemporary French and Francophone Literature (Arcana Albright)

21 - New Directions and Realism Problematization in Contemporary Graphic Novel (Eric Bouchard and Gabriel Tremblay-Gaudette)

23 - Amateur Photography and Popular Imaging: Image’s New Collective Fictions (Vincent Lavoie)

29 - Graphic Satire, Caricature and the "Language in Which We Draw” (Annie Gérin, Dominic Hardy and Jean-Claude Gardes)