”Postcolonial Literatures in Paris and London”

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Who this event is for

  • Everyone


Quai Branly Museum, Paris


Paris and London were once the world’s largest cities and they still remain metropolises of global reach. Following the decolonisation, the international citizenry of the former empires converged in both cities in a phenomenon called the “re-invasion of the centre”. As immigrants started to occupy the centre and thus changed its demographic and cultural constitution, Paris and London came to include a transnational ‘world’ which is today largely represented by contemporary literary production. In this talk,Christina Horvath explores the diverse ways in which multi-ethnic and peripheral areas of contemporary Paris and London are experienced and portrayed by exogenous writers from the 1980s until today. Adopting a comparative approach, the talk addresses the main trends of postcolonial urban imaginary in which Paris and London prominently feature.

Hosted by the Quai Branly Museum, the lecture is part of the Seminar Series „Practices and Poetics of Urban Space in Postcolonial Contexts”, run in collaboration by University Sorbonne Nouvelle-Paris, the CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique) and the MEL (Maison des Écrivains et de la Littérature). Sessions focus on the interaction between central and peripheral urban spaces in a postcolonial and transcontinental perspective. Displaying art collections from African, Asian, and American civilizations, the Quai Branly Museum has aimed, since its conception, to fully integrate research and higher teaching into its vocation. It has been greatly involved in high-level research and its diffusion and has rapidly become an iconic space where non-conventional approaches are explored and innovative ways of thinking are promoted. 

Christina Horvath is an expert in contemporary urban literature. In 2008 she published a monograph on the genre of urban novel and its development in contemporary French fiction. Informed by postcolonial theory, her current research addresses the impact of Paris on literary works produced by migrant writers as well as narrative representations of underprivileged peripheral areas known as “banlieues”. June 2009, she initiated an international conference entitled “Paris and London in Postcolonial Imagery” at the Institut Français, London. In collaboration with Dr Juliet Carpenter, she is currently directing “Banlieue Network”, an international and interdisciplinary research network which aims to bring together scholars, artists and stakeholders for participative action research in the greater Paris area.