Projet Anglistique: towards a genealogy and for an evolution of English Studies

On 11 March 2020, a workshop was held by the LERMA, gathering researchers and different actors from the scientific world around the issue of English Studies (Anglistique) [1]. In France, English Studies are conducted by a community of more than 2000 researchers, experts of anglophone cultures around the world. A significant part of the discussion revolved around the difficulty to link English Studies, as a research field rooted in interpretation, to current societal issues and to highlight the benefits of cultural studies.

The premise of the discussions that day was the necessity of establishing a bedrock to English Studies [2], as a consensual understanding of their emergence and development is prerequisite to decide their evolution as a discipline in touch with the present and turned towards the future. Moreover, a comprehensive knowledge of the epistemologies of English studies would promote interdisciplinary partnerships. With this aim in mind, the different parties proposed to apply a “cultural heritage program” (“programme de patrimonialisation”), conducted nationally and internationally, to the genealogy of English Studies.

This program would be conducted through the implementation of a national digital platform providing information on the structural, conceptual, and testimonial history of English Studies. The development of partnerships with various entities such as library and archives will be necessary to bring such a platform to fruition. The use and conservation of archives is incidentally a point on which special emphasis was made; this matter would go hand in hand with the development of digital media. Furthermore, the redaction of an encyclopedic dictionary of English Studies is also planned, as etymologies in the field need to be revised in order to better situate English Studies and their researchers in the scientific landscape.

Several milestones in the redefinition and consolidation of English Studies have been accomplished these last few years by researchers at AMU’s Laboratoire d’Études et de Recherche sur le Monde Anglophone. For instance, Prs. Anne Page and Grégoire Lacaze’s classification work on the archives of the Maison Française d’Oxford (MFO) is mentioned on a research blog on hypotheses.org, dedicated to the LERMA’s objectives and achievements within the field of English Studies. [3] The awareness of the existence of a scientific heritage, and the necessity to continue building it, are matters the LERMA researchers currently aim to impart to the students following the ECMA Master so that the next generations of academicians in English Studies can in turn consider themselves as the “latest link in a chain of scholars” [4].

 

[1] The recent development of the Wikipedia page “Anglistique” is one of the several steps made towards the definition of English Studies.

[2] The Livre Blanc de la recherche en études anglophones (2016), coordinated by Pr. Anne Page, offers an overview of the position and direction of English Studies in France these last few years.

[3] This research blog, entitled Anglistique, gives access, for instance, to interviews with researchers pondering on how their work has contributed to shape how English Studies were conducted in France. It also contains an inventory of the archives of Marc Chénetier, a specialist in American literature

[4] This turn of phrase is borrowed from Daniel Mendelsohn’s An Odyssey. 2017. William Collins, 2018, p. 277.