The Publishing Sphere: Ecosystems of Contemporary Literatures

“The traditional idea of the solitary author in direct contact with his editor, and speaking in absentia to an anonymous public is obsolete. In recent years an abundance of literary practices – performances, public readings, sound and visual work and new public spaces– have emerged, forming a vibrant artistic and political “publishing sphere.” If it is true that the imaginary of modern literature is constitutive of the fantasy of a “good” public sphere of democracy then we must find what kind of societies are emerging from the publishing sphere we are faced with today.”

Lionel Ruffel is at it again with another project at the Haus de Kulturen der Welt in Berlin! Learn more about the project I helped organize & translate for here. 


Theory Now – Réengager la pensée

New project in Paris: I am fortunate this semester to assist Professor Lionel Ruffel (Université Paris 8) in his latest project, a four-day event called “Theory Now – Réengager la pensée.” This is in part a manifestation of his larger research concerning ideas of the contemporary.
“Theory Now” is an invitation not only to intellectuals and academics, but to the general public to rethink how theory can occur and be conceptualized outside of academic contexts, namely traditional forms of publishing, writing, conferences, etc. Taking place at La Colonie, a space that is itself hybrid in nature, part café, part bar, part workshop, this four-day event will include performances, discussions, workshops, exchange and encounters.

You can learn more about the event on: …and by checking back here occasionally as I will also be posting updates.

Reading archives in Aix-en-Provence

Aix-en-Provence: Think impressionist Paul Cézanne, Southern California weather, fountains and spouts at each corner.

Archives Nationales d’Outre Mer: Imagine perforated ceilings, spontaneous connections with other researchers, laughs and gasps out loud.

Archival research itself is a tedious process that requires an impressive amount of self-discipline and patience – my saying this is not an indicator of any experience or mastery, on the contrary, I think it actually demonstrates how green I am in this method of learning. Only when you know exactly what you’re looking for, or have figured out a certain kind of momentum that gets you going, does the research sail less on your conscious effort but on a rhythm of its own. But, as one should be, I am very excited that my interests have brought me to this part of the world and to this kind of library.

I came to Aix looking for two things, one specific and one less so: a François Piétri discourse given at a Congrès de la Fédération des Anciens Coloniaux for a paper I wrote on Pham Quynh, and information on Vietnamese expatriates in France in the early 20th century. But the things you look for are never easily found, and when you’re only passively looking, there are too many things to be looked at. I’m not sure the Piétri discourse actually exists, and the closest thing to verifying that it does is a bulletin of the Fédération that is unfortunately infested with a bacterial fungi that makes it inaccessible indefinitely. I also realized, clearly very tardily, that the SLOTFOM, the fonds that holds materials on some of these expatriates are a multi-numbered series, with lots of miscellaneous information. In any case, it’s only been my third day at the archives; my feet are definitely wet.

My little quest looking for Pham Quynh, filed under Q and not Ph!