André Pettman

André Pettman

“All Things Commune: The Communal Imaginary in 21st Century French Fiction & Poetry” (Dissertation Committee: Aubrey Gabel, dissertation chair; Bernard Harcourt; Madeleine Dobie)

My dissertation is guided by a fundamental question: what does it mean to be in common? While much scholarship on this period of French literature highlights its conservative “décliniste” or “degenerative realist” trends, my dissertation uncovers a Leftist countercurrent that challenges the assumption that literature is no longer a site of radical political commitment. I bring together a diverse set of authors, including Virginie Despentes, Lydie Salvayre, Jean Rouaud, Philippe Vasset, Yanick Haenel, Jean- Marie Gleize, and Alain Damasio, and place their work in conversation with collectives such as Tiqqun and the Invisible Committee and critical theorists such as Giorgio Agamben, Jean-Luc Nancy, and Marielle Macé. The works I investigate progress from forays into the historical past, to reflections on the immediate present, to anticipations of the not-so-distant future. Throughout, I ground my analysis in specific historical circumstances: the Paris Commune of 1871 and the anarchist communes of the Spanish Civil War, the Tarnac affair, post-recession French labor reforms, Nuit debout, and the Zone à défendre (ZAD) at Notre-Dame-des-Landes. My dissertation reveals a politics that is markedly anticapitalist, anarchist, and communist, one with a drive towards autonomy and community unbound from the tangled web of capitalism and state governance.

Research Interests
20th- and 21st-century French and Francophone literature & film; critical theory; anarchism; communism; autonomism; destituent power/potential; ecocriticism; postcolonial studies; gender studies; memory studies; digital humanities; literature and technology

“Académies,” co-written with Soraya Limare, entry in Dictionnaire Assia Djebar, Eds. Maya Boutaghou & Anne Donadey (Paris: Honoré Champion). Forthcoming.

“Logging Off: The Micropolitics of Distraction and Disengagement in Jean-Philippe Toussaint’s La Clé USB.” Nottingham French Studies. Forthcoming.

“Vivre Sans: Deserting Capitalism, Governance, and Identity in Les Renards pâles by Yannick Haenel.” Contemporary French and Francophone Studies: SITES. Forthcoming.

“Communal Conjuration: The Politics of Disappearance in Philippe Vasset’s La conjuration.” French Studies Bulletin. Forthcoming.

“Get Hard or Die Trying: Impotence and the Displacement of the White Male in Michel Houellebecq’s Sérotonine.” French Forum 46, no. 1, 2021, pp. 37-51.

Dorlin, Elsa. “Me, You, Us: I, Tituba and the Ontology of the Trace.” Yale French Studies 140, 2022, pp. 74-86.

Bazin, Hugues. “The Body Politic of Hip-Hop Dance.” Hip Hop en français: An Exploration of Hip-Hop Culture in the Francophone World, edited by Alain-Philippe Durand. Landham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2020, pp. 123-135. 

Jacono, Jean-Marie. “Rap Music in Cities in Crisis: The Case of Marseille.” Hip Hop en français: An Exploration of Hip-Hop Culture in the Francophone World, edited by Alain-Philippe Durand. Landham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2020, pp. 17-28.

Courses Taught
Elementary French I (Fall 2019; Fall 2021)
Intermediate French I (Spring 2020)
Intermediate French II (Fall 2020)
Introduction to French Literary Studies II (Spring 2021)
Third-Year Grammar & Composition (Spring 2022)