International conference - Montpellier - 7-8 April 2022

Conference "Rethinking disciplines with Television series. An epistemological perspective" 7-8 April 2022 - Montpellier

In their reflection or refraction of the world, television series seem to affect the perceptions of those who watch them, whether they represent ultra-contemporary ripped-from-the-headline events or historical events, either opening up closed social worlds or offering dystopian scripts in uchronic or alternate worlds as in the real world, political and environmental crises loom large. In their activation of the collective imaginary, these fictions can in turn influence reality, in particular when spectator-citizens translate their viewing into real-life socio-political and cultural movements (for instance, demonstrators dressing up in costumes taken from the series The Handmaid's Tale [Hulu, 2017-] during the Women's Marches in the USA or within the #MeToo movement globally).

It is this agency of series taken as an object that we intend to question from an epistemological perspective by reversing our disciplinary lens. Indeed, numerous researchers in literature, the arts, humanities and social sciences have seen in television series new fields to explore, and they have brought the methodological perspective and the conceptual tools of their respective disciplines to them. This conference intends to question researchers on a possible “return effect” of the object on the discipline, i.e., to ask if this new field of study allows to rethink somewhat each discipline itself. Have series catalyzed new concepts, opened up new horizons, allowed analysis that would have been more difficult to envision, or that might even be unthinkable without them?

It is ultimately the reciprocal influence between object and disciplines that this conference will focus on, in order to measure the impact of this increasingly ubiquitous cultural object on the scientific approaches of researchers in the Humanities. In its multimodality which combines text, language, camera, musical soundtrack, actors’ performance and a viewer’s gaze over the course of entire seasons and years of real-life context, does not the very object “series” invite us to redraw disciplinary boundaries?

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Conference Venue: Université Paul-Valéry - Site Saint Charles

Dates: 7-8 April 2022


Monica Michlin & Sandrine Sorlin (EMMA), Claire Cornillon & Sarah Hatchuel (RIRRA 21)


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