Mémoires 2023

Retrouvez ici les résumés de quelques mémoires réalisés par les étudiant·es du master (M1 et M2) en 2023.

Louise Dolo (M2) “The varying experiments of Time”: adapting the past, transmitting the future in Middlemarch and Middlemarch, the series (supervised by Maria Tang)

Rebecca Shoptaw’s Middlemarch, the series adapts George Eliot’s Middlemarch in the 21st century. This daring rewriting represents the current diversity in its characters and is part of the digital humanities to question the modern aspects of the Victorian novel. This study reveals Middlemarch’s contemporaneity thanks to the web series which displays a community of young people taking charge of the narration and opens the field of creation to its audience through transmedia. The transmission of the narrative is both demonstrating Middlemarch’s meaningfulness in the present and inviting the audience to keep challenging it in the future.

Jordan Chandler (M1) “Causes and Effects of Case Loss and the Grammaticalization of the Free-standing Definite Article in English” (supervised by Manon Philippe)

English developed from a language that had a rather free word order and which used grammatical cases that indicated the function of a noun in a sentence into a language that has a fixed word order and that does not have grammatical cases. The collapse of the case system in English occurred during the Old English and early Middle English periods and this caused the definite article in English to develop and grammaticalize from its demonstrative root differently than the definite articles found in other Germanic languages such as Dutch, German, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Faroese and Icelandic. It is this development and grammaticalization of the Old English demonstrative into the Modern definite article the that I studied.

Three reasons contributed to case collapse in English:

  1. for the most part, Old English was mutually intelligible with Old Norse but the case systems found in both languages would often lead to instances of miscomprehension so, to facilitate communication a ‘koine’ (a simplified common language) was spoken instead,
  2. the case inflections that were suffixed to nouns became less pronounced and eventually underwent final vowel reduction, the process by which the final vowel was reduced to [ə], and
  3. the case system in English became redundant because it no longer helped in identifying the function of a noun.

The Old English demonstrative that could act akin to a definite article could be allocated to the left or the right of a noun like in Icelandic. However, case collapse in English promoted the development of the definite article se from the demonstrative which was then allocated to the left of a noun like in Dutch and German, as opposed to the right of a noun like in Danish, Norwegian, Swedish and Faroese. The development of this determiner slot which the definite article se occupied was due to analogy (if a certain word order is used enough, it becomes systematic in a language). Furthermore, when the English definite article se started to emerge, it phonologically differentiated itself from the demonstrative and this was what led to the position of the definite article becoming consolidated in English. Additionally, because case collapse in English occurred during a much earlier period of language development compared to the other Germanic languages, the definite article in English only developed a single free-standing morphological form that is not capable of developing from a ‘phonological clitic’ (an unstressed word that is phonologically bound to a word) into a ‘morphological clitic’ (an unstressed word that is phonologically and which can be morphologically bound to a word) or an affixed definite marker.       

Case collapse also affected the grammaticalization of the definite article in English. Indeed, the definite article in English is the least extensively used definite article among the Germanic languages. Therefore, Germanic languages that lost their case system at a later point in time than English or that have yet to lose their case system use their definite article in contexts that would be considered agrammatical in English.

Marie Renault (M1) “Irish nationalism and the Boer War (1899-1902)” (supervised by Maggy Hary)

In the late 19th century, two dynamics ran within Irish nationalism: on the one hand, some nationalists were strictly opposed to the Empire, in a firm resistance and total hostility to the British. On the other hand, some nationalists saw in imperialism an opportunity for the Irish to either escape from difficult conditions in Ireland, or to benefit from the Empire in terms of career. The position of Irish nationalists in the South African War (1899-1902), an imperial conflict which divided them, constitutes an interesting example of those dynamics. The South African War, or Second Anglo-Boer War, broke out in 1899 when the Boers (the descendants of Dutch settlers who had come to South Africa in the 17th century) attacked the Cape and Natal colonies (which had been British colonies since 1814 and 1843) after multiple tensions between Britain and the Boer Republics surrounding the status of Uitlander (British settlers in Boer states) in the Transvaal Republic and the Orange Free State. The South African War ended in 1902 with the Boer States becoming British colonies. The conflict sparked a true ‘Boer fever’ in Ireland, and further strengthened Irish nationalism. Indeed, the Boer War influenced Irish nationalism from a military, media, and political perspective.

The study of private papers and press archives reveals that:

  • strong military, diplomatic and ideological connexions developed between Irish nationalists and the Boers, whose memory of the conflict lived on,
  • the nationalist press and memoirs of the Boer War fed Irish nationalism in the early 20th century, and
  • the political impacts of the war on the Irish and British landscapes were mitigated, to the extent that new political movements sparked from organisations founded in support of the Boers, but also that the Irish Party suffered both wins and losses in the early 20th century.

The most striking element of connexion between Irish nationalism and Empire in the Boer War is the clear identification, by Irish nationalists, with the Boers. The Boer struggle for freedom became the potential Irish struggle for freedom, thus bringing about a change in the nationalist outlook on the Empire: the latter was no more a supra-national entity almighty and unchallengeable. On the contrary, the hopes and dreams of a revolution, initiated by the Irish cultural revolution of the late 19th century, became more and more tangible from a political and military perspective. In that sense, Irish nationalism drew inspiration from the Boers, and the South African War fed nationalist circles, media, and political parties for the two decades following the 1902 Peace Treaty. Prominent figures of Irish nationalism, who were later elected in Sinn Féin and Dáil Éireann, and who marked 20th-century Irish political landscape were mostly anti-imperialist, despite the opposition faced in their own ranks. Nationalists found support in South Africa during the War of Independence. Boer heroes, Irish heroes, literary and cultural key figures, political leaders, all participated in the promotion of a new, more radical nationalism in Ireland that also influenced relationships with Britain.

Coline Préclin (M1) “The new generation of US Conservative Talk-Radio Shows Hosts Facing Gender” (supervised by Anaïs Le Fèvre-Berthelot)

Analyzing the discourse of conservative talk radio shows (CTRS) hosts on the many issues surrounding gender makes it possible to understand the reactions of the conservative media and political actors to the marginalization of gender minorities, or to feminist activism, which is working to obtain new rights or is positioning itself as an ally in an intersectional context of the struggles waged by LGBTQIA+ activists. The genre of CTRS, which emerged in the United States in the 1980’s produced reactions like those of a besieged fortress: the attacks led by CTRS hosts towards activists, scholars and scientists fuel backlashes and the moral panics that accompany them. They feed into discourses that employ identifiable rhetorical devices that act on the one hand as tools for politicization and radicalization, sparking political mobilization within the Republican party and civil society by inducing a new conservative front in which neo-traditionalists, white supremacists or trans-exclusionary radical feminists coalesce and that aim to marginalize, demonize and dehumanize a whole fringe of the US population. Using the example of a CTRS host –Ben Shapiro– and analyzing samples from his show published between 2016 and 2022, the aim of this paper is to identify the issues at stake in the conservative media mobilization that fuels attacks against the rights of gender minorities – particularly transgender and gender-non-conforming people – and to identify their consequences, as well as to deconstruct discourses that are essentially based on untruths, outrage and conspiracy-like arguments.

Morgane Heyraud (M1) “It Is a Game and a Dance. Then It Is a Fight” (73): Questioning the Use of Language in Binyavanga Wainaina’s One Day I Will Write About This Place(supervised by Françoise Rémond)

The question of the language(s) of African literature was central in the second half of the 19th century. Widely debated during the 1962 Makerere Conference and by authors such as Chinua Achebe and Ngugi wa Thiong’o in the same period, the conversation around the use of English in African literature seems to have settled today. But the absence of a public, spirited discussion does not necessarily indicate that the issue has been resolved. Indeed, the study of Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainaina’s memoir, One Day I Will Write About This Place, proves fruitful in this respect. The author uses language “as a seduction and as a weapon” to explore all the possibilities and ambiguities it offers. This paper seeks to highlight and examine the way Wainaina uses various elements such as sounds, music, and bodies to both create and carry meaning. Through a detailed study of the showing and telling of language in narration and in direct speech, I argue that language is the fabric around which the memoir is woven: it is both linguistic and metalinguistic at once, dissecting words into abstract entities while also shaping them into concrete objects, things and bodies that have agency and power in the material world.

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