January 2020 - September 2020
Imaginative Encounters: Irène Némirovsky and Charlotte Salomon in the Twenty-First Century
My project aims to contribute to the exploration of the ethical potential of memory and imagination within storytelling practices. In order to do so, I bring together writer Irène Némirovsky (1903–1942), artist Charlotte Salomon (1917–1943), and recent adaptations of their lives and works made for screen, theatre, and cultural institutions. The project is rooted in an interdisciplinary approach that draws on literary theory, narrative studies, adaptation studies, performance studies and cultural memory studies, and that also includes (auto)ethnographic methods. What are the ethical challenges of engaging with these works in the present moment? What effects (and affects) do the adaptations have on contemporary audiences? How could we rethink the connections between memory and imagination from the perspective of ‘imaginative encounters’? How do cultural practices perform and make sense of the past in the present? The project seeks to respond to these concerns by addressing these heterogenous works that: (a) access the past in a culturally situated (individual and collective) present; (b) create a ‘stratified cultural memory’ engaged in narrative processes of meaning-making; (c) allow encounters where memory and imagination interweave with diverse social and historical experiences. By contributing to the exploration of the role that art and literature play in making sense of our past, engaging in the present, and shaping an ethical future, the project reflects on the cultural making of our societies and on their future challenges.
Marta-Laura Cenedese received her PhD in French and Comparative Literature from the University of Cambridge and is now a postdoctoral researcher at the Turku Institute for Advanced Studies (TIAS), University of Turku, Finland. She works in the fields of Comparative Literature, Cultural Memory Studies and Narrative Studies. Marta’s research explores twentieth- and twenty-first century postcolonial literatures, multimodal storytelling practices, the intersections of literature, history and politics, film, and life writing.