‘The work of memory’? Historical thinking and education in France

The Australian Centre for Public History presents

SEMINAR: ‘The work of memory’? Historical thinking and education in France

Tuesday 12th June 4.30-6pm UTS, Sydney
Building 10, Level 14, Rm 201

Alexandre Dessingué (Stavanger University Norway)

Through his notion about ‘the work of memory’, Paul Ricoeur expresses the desire to make our relationship to the past an active, even a problematic one, and not to be the passive spectator that many commemorations encourage. The problem is not simply to regret that middle school or high school students are entirely absent from ceremonies commemorating May 8 or November 11. The real question is the one of the meaning to be given to past events. How can the past be perceived as a resource for the present and the future? What is the purpose of history and history teaching?

The city of Dunkirk and its inhabitants in Northern France have always been at the crossroads of Europe and for this reason were hard hit by both World Wars. In this presentation, we will have a closer look at firsthand accounts of city nursing home residents and ask with them how memories work, what they tell us about our relation we make with the past and why we should consider individual and collective memories as an important part of a critical and active work on/with history?

Alexandre Dessingué is Professor of Literacy Studies and History Education at the University of Stavanger, Norway. His research interests focus on cultural and collective memory, cultural representations of WW1, WW2, the Holocaust and of the colonial period, literary and memory theory, critical literacy/awareness and history education. He has published several articles, books and book chapters in the field of cultural memory studies and cultural history. His last publications include a co-edited volume with Jay Winter Beyond Memory: Silence and the Aesthetics of Remembrance (2016) and the book chapters “Paul Ricoeur: Understanding the Past and Writing the Future” (Routledge, 2017) and “The Ethics of Memory” in My Heart of Darkness” (Verlag, 2017).


Author Talk: Pierre Bayard & Caroline Julliot

How to Investigate Books Like You’ve Never Read Them Before

With Pierre Bayard & Caroline Julliot



Saturday, 23 June 2018 – 2pm to 3pm

State Library of New South Wales

This presentation aims to promote public awareness of a significant trend in literary theory — detective criticism. We challenge the idea that writers can flawlessly master the fiction they create, especially when it comes to crime stories. Sometimes authors make fatal errors of judgement and vilify innocent characters, leaving the actual criminals unpunished. These secret villains can be unmasked by using detective criticism, which includes a rigorous investigational approach backed by sound supporting evidence. Additional insights also emerge when the detective criticism approach is applied; these provide an opportunity to re-evaluate some literary classics, including potentially changing our whole vision of these texts. A key idea behind these talks is that the time has come for fiction detectives all around the world to join forces so that justice may prevail.

Pierre Bayard is a psychoanalyst and Professor of French Literature at Paris 8 University. He is the author of numerous essays, including Who killed Roger Ackroyd ?, How to Talk about Books You Haven’t Read and Aurais-je été résistant ou bourreau ? (Would I Have Been in the Resistance or a Torturer?). His latest book, L’Énigme Tolstoïevski (The Tolstoievski Enigma), was published by Éditions de Minuit in 2017.

Caroline Julliot is a senior lecturer in French Literature at Le Mans University. In addition to her work on the writing of history and the links between politics, religion and literature, she is co-leader, with Pierre Bayard, of the InterCriPol research network (ICCPO, International Criminal Criticism Police Organization).

This event is sponsored by The University of Newcastle.

AJFS 55.1 on Mobility and Migration, now available

The latest volume of the Australian Journal of French Studies is a “deuxième volet” of articles emanating from the 2016 ASFS conference in Adelaide. Congratulations to the editors and contributors who are members of ASFS.


Australian Journal of French Studies 55:1 (2018)

Mobility and Migration

Table of Contents

Natalie Edwards, Christopher Hogarth and Ben McCann, “Mobility and Migration in France and the Francophone World”

Natalie Edwards, “Virginie Despentes’s Mobile Women in Apocalypse Bébé

Kathryn Kleppinger, “Mobilities, Migrations, and Mysteries in Maurice Gouiran’s Marseille Polars

Clara Sitbon, “Fluctuations auctoriales au sein du hoax littéraire”

Bénédicte André, “‘Il y a toujours l’Autre’: Towards a Photomosaic Reading of Otherness in Island Short Story Collections”

Catherine Gilbert,Mobilising Memory: Rwandan Women Genocide Survivors in the Diaspora”

Alexandra Kurmann, “Aller-retour-détour. Transdiasporic Nomadism and Navigating Literary Prescription in the Work of Kim Thúy and Thanh-Van Tran-Nhut”

Sonia Wilson, “A Room of One’s Own? Gender and the voyage immobile in Leïla Sebbar’sVoyage en Algéries autour de ma chambre

Charles Forsdick, Afterword

Book Reviews (3)

Lecturer in French, ANU

Lecturer in French Studies

Australian National University

Application deadline: June 8 2018


Classification:  Academic Level B

Salary package: $96,087.00 – $109,181.00 + 17% Superannuation

Terms: Full time, Fixed term (3 years)

Job no: 522225
Location: Canberra / ACT

The School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics at the ANU seeks to appoint a scholar to broaden and further strengthen the teaching and research profile of French Studies. The appointee will be expected to bring expertise and intellectual distinction to our program, and have an active research agenda in one or more of the following areas: modern literature, theatre, and/or cultural studies in France; francophone postcolonial studies; Pacific literatures and cultures; or translation studies. S/he will have a demonstrated capacity to teach core language courses as well as advanced thematic courses in his/her area of specialisation at all levels (Undergraduate, and Postgraduate), and will participate in the recruitment and supervision of Honours, MA and PhD students.  The appointee will be active in professional service within ANU, nationally and internationally in his/her relevant disciplines, and in the broader community.

The ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS) is the largest single College of seven Colleges at ANU. The College, which is structured into two main research schools, offers degrees in more than 20 discipline areas and excels in research across the creative arts, humanities and social sciences. The College has a substantial international research presence and is a major source of national policy advice. Our academic staff are internationally recognised for their research, and 57 are members of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, the Academy of the Social Sciences of Australia, or both. We also host 13 Australian Research Council Future Fellows and two ARC Laureates. A hub of vibrant activity, we host more than 270 lectures, concerts and exhibitions each year, most of which are open to the public. Our students, staff and graduates come from more than 60 nations, bringing a diversity of perspective to campus life.

For more information, please contact Dr Kate Mitchell T: 02 6125 9517 E: hos.slll@anu.edu.au. 

The University actively encourages applications from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. For more information on employment opportunities, contact our Indigenous Employment Consultant on indigenous.employment@anu.edu.au.

ANU values diversity and inclusion and is committed to providing equal employment opportunities to those of all backgrounds and identities. For more information about staff equity at ANU, visit https://services.anu.edu.au/human-resources/respect-inclusion.

French Ambassador H.E. Mr Christophe Penot to speak in Adelaide, 17 May





France and Australia are bound by common values including the support of multilateralism and the rule of law, human rights and democracy and a shared vision for a secure and more prosperous future. Guided by these shared values, France and Australia work together to enhance their long-standing strategic partnership.

In this lecture, the audience will have the opportunity to hear from the Ambassador of France to Australia, H.E. Mr Christophe Penot, as he reveals his vision for the French-Australia agenda.


CFP: ISFAR “French Contributions to Australian Life”

ISFAR logoSecond Conference of the Institute for the Study of French Australian Relations

“French Contributions to Australian Life”

University of Adelaide

Thursday 27 September 2018

Call for Papers

Following a successful first conference in Adelaide in December 2016, the Institute for the Study of French Australian Relations is pleased to announce that its second conference will be held on 27 September 2018, also in Adelaide. It will feature a keynote address by Emeritus Professor Colin Nettelbeck (University of Melbourne), on the topic “France and the French in Australia’s growth to nationhood: 1914-1945”.

The theme for the conference is to be taken in its broadest sense, encompassing fields such as the cultural, historical, social, economic, educational and political contributions that French people, groups and institutions have made to Australian life. The notion of “contribution” can also be taken in a critical sense, to refer to the part played by a person, group, institution or idea in bringing about an advance or change, in positive terms or not. Possible topics include:

  • people
  • organisations (eg the French-Australian Chamber of Commerce)
  • family history
  • literature and the arts
  • fashion
  • business
  • pedagogical ideas and practices

Paper proposals of around 200 words are now invited and should be sent to John West-Sooby (john.westsooby@adelaide.edu.au) by 29 June 2018. Note that, following the conference, presenters will be invited to submit written versions of their papers, in scholarly article form, for publication in ISFAR’s journal, The French Australian Review, subject to peer review.

There will be no charge for the conference but presenters and others wishing to attend are asked to register for catering purposes by clicking here.

The conference is organised by the Department of French Studies at the University of Adelaide, which is celebrating its centenary in 2018. See here for the full programme of its French Centenary events.

Note: The keynote address, by Emeritus Professor Colin Nettelbeck, will be scheduled for the end of the day, from 6.00 to 7.00 pm, and will double as a public lecture in the French Centenary series. It will be preceded by a cocktail reception aimed at celebrating the French Department’s alumni, who will be particularly encouraged to attend, and of whom Colin Nettelbeck is one of our most distinguished.