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Literature and media innovation: the question of genre transformations (LMI) (DWTC281)

Domain "Genre" is one of the oldest distinguished and most basic features of literature; whether the latter is understood as fiction or non-fiction, high or low brow, innovative or traditional writing, as the printed text or performed text, literary genres are everywhere. Countless publications for that reason conceptualize, study or use the notion of genre.
Older discussions treat the taxonomy of genres as well as the nature of literary genres. For some, genres correspond to specific (yet essential) ways of using human discourse, while for others they can only be examined from a functionalist (i.e. relativist) perspective. Recently, the digital revolution has led to fundamental changes in literature. This in turn has led to a growing awareness of the importance of mediatization and the materialization of writing, publishing, and reading literature, which is now challenging scholars to rethink thoroughly the theory and practice of genre.

Objectives and Research Questions
At the forefront of recent developments in genre theory, the proposed research takes into account material, cultural, contextual and historical aspects of [late 19th- , 20th- and 21st century] literature, posing a series of new questions to explore the relation between genre formation and changes in media technology: 1) How are genres modified by the appearance of new media technologies and, conversely, how do changes in media technologies help produce new genres? 2) What role does literature play in the institutionalization of new media technologies (which often only "survive" if they prove capable of producing new and specific content)? 3) How does this new approach to genre transform our ideas and, more importantly, our ways of practicing (writing, reading, publishing, sharing) literature, and how does it affect and transform key aspects of the literary experience, such as the idea of fiction? 4) What is the status of the notion of literary genre in practices that are deeply shaped and influenced by media changes? 5) How should we revitalize the traditional notion of genre, not as a set of formal and thematic constraints but as a cultural practice that involves new relationships between production and reception in a media context strongly marked by a culture of hybridization?

More generally speaking, the research focuses on three types of questions:

1. genre and change: study of the principle of genre transformations;
2. genre and literature: study of the borders of literature (documentary versus literary, fictional versus non fictional, real versus fake, unmediated versus mediated, print versus non-print) and the impact on genre features, genre systems and genre theory;
3. genre and society: study of the cultural and social impact of the transformations (theories of author and reader, literary community, the teaching of literature, registers of value, feedback on the medium, blurring of boundaries between text and context, work and non-work)
Date:1 Oct 2012 →  30 Sep 2017
Keywords:linguistique et littérature, Linguistics and literature
Disciplines:Linguistics, Language studies