AXE 2 : Common places


Françoise Besson et Nathalie Cochoy (2015-2016)
Françoise Besson et Isabelle Keller-Privat (2016-2018)
Catherine Delyfer et Isabelle Keller-Privat (2018-2020)

Representatives : 

For Poéthiques : Nathalie Cochoy


This interdisciplinary research group focuses on the notion of the commonplace, both in its literal meaning denoting a common territory and in its metaphorical meaning referring to the cliché, to the trivial, the banal. We are interested in the relationships to space, particularly in spaces both inhabited and uninhabited by man and which he has appropriated through diverse means, whether violent or respectful. The commonplace is envisaged through the social, cultural, mnemonic, linguistic and even digital relationships: common places are ordinary places that have been reconfigured and regenerated by the arts and literature. As such they act as a crucible where everyday memories and myths, linguistic utterances and social rituals are paradoxically reborn. Thus investigating the multiple facets of the commonplace enables us to break new ground and consider, beyond the dead end of the stereotype, the intensely poetic momentum which the commonplace brings to the prosaic.

This research group is composed of four research themes:

1-Poethics: Inhabiting the World

“Poethics” explores how the representations of the commonplace lead to a reinvention of formal, aesthetic and generic models. Aware of their own limits, writers and artists do not isolate their words or images from the world but on the contrary incorporate them into renewed forms of poetic and ethical inhabitation of this world: they create a “poethics” of space. Current projects focus on the city, the suburbs, places at war and nature in town. 

2-Let’s See

This second section investigates the various modes of seeing by renewing our perspective on the places that have influenced artists, on the cliché—both as photographic plate and as the reproduction of banality—, on pictorial eco-systems, on the performing arts, as well as on temporary and digital works. 

3-Places of Passage / Places of Speech

Assuming that literature and the arts are intimately linked to their place(s) of production and reception, this section deals with literary and artistic geographies and seeks to understand the specific strategies and consequences of the discourse on the commonplace. Within any particular work of art such a discourse builds up a unique and a collective common ground that is both shifting and polyphonic. One of our current projects centres on the mappings of cosmopolitanism.

4-Land(s) and Liberty/-ies

This last section focuses on the relationships between the land (understood as planet, territory and soil) and the questions of liberty and liberties. It enquires into the bonds between the earth and its peoples. Questions of appropriation and dispossession, rootedness and uprootedness, subjugation and freedom, reconstruction and preservation are at the core of our research. 

Lastly, Lunch Seminars that offer an epistemological and theoretical reflection upon the themes studied by our research group are held regularly on Tuesdays, at lunch time. Researchers, doctoral students, as well as Professors and artists from abroad discuss a critical work or present their personal researches that are directly linked to the conferences of "Poethics" or any other scientific event organised by our research group. A complete calendar of these Lunch Seminars is made available every September.

Lunch Seminars 2020-2021
Lunch Seminars 2019-2020
Lunch Seminars 2018-2019
Lunch Seminars 2017-2018
Lunch Seminars 2016-2017
Lunch Seminars 2015-2016