CFP – Michel Tournier and Otherness. Literature, Myth, Photography

Call for papers

Michel Tournier and Otherness.

Literature, Myth, Photography


International Conference

University of Tallinn, May 18-19, 2012

Deadline for receiving abstracts: April 20, 2012

How can Otherness be conceived? How can we define our relationship with our distant and near Others? We could simply say that Otherness is conceived of as a process through which the Other acquires a connotation of the Unknown and the Foreign. We could equally affirm that Otherness is defined by the culturally established opposition between Oneself and Another. In this conference, rather than ask these questions in an abstract and general manner, we intend to resort to the medium of literature and closely interrogate all of the possible ways through which a writer inscribes, reformulates and reorganizes the notion of Otherness in his work. For this purpose, we want to focus on the author Michel Tournier who had constantly explored the multiple dimensions of Otherness and took a fresh anthropological look at the Other through literature, photography and (the rewriting of) myth. Tournier himself has often explained that his method is based on the selection of a subject and its rewriting (the most famous example is Robinson Crusoe), in order to wear out its narrative potential and to reverse its mythical power. In this perspective, be it a travel book (Le Vagabond immobile), a novel on the vicissitudes of a foreigner in France (La Goutte d’or), or a book of photography with Boubat (Vues de dos), any work by Tournier is representative of his tendency to reconfigure Otherness through literature, photography and myth. Furthermore, what has to be pointed out is that Tournier’s work of rewriting and reinventing begs the equally important question of translation. For Tournier, are his ways of reconfiguring and transforming stereotyped forms of myth equivalent to a real and true process of recodification, comparable to the work of a translator who, by translating, receives some features and refuses some others from the original text? Similarly, can we affirm that the rewriting by Tournier of an original myth and text corresponds to some kind of philosophical deconstruction and/or anthropological reversal of cultural values? Ultimately, this conference on Michel Tournier is meant to be a favourable occasion to reflect on the different theoretical and methodological perspectives concerning the ways literary texts, myths and cultures can be constructed and studied. In this light, interdisciplinary viewpoints and applications of different theoretical perspectives are particularly welcome to discuss the cultural features and epistemological foundations of methodologies, rewritings and analyses.

Scientific Committee:

Larbi Djeradi, Stefano Montes, Ülar Ploom, Licia Taverna


Institute of Romance and German Languages and Culture of the Tallinn University in collaboration with the University of Palermo.

Practical Information:

Deadline for submitting abstracts: April 20, 2012.

Abstract: 250-300 words.

Working languages of the conference: English and French.

Communications: 30 minutes.

Participation is free.

Travel costs, accommodation expenses and meals are covered by participants or their institutions.

A book publication is planned.

Send proposals to:

Licia Taverna ( and Stefano Montes (

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *