The UCSB brown-bag forum on spatial thinking presents

The unanimist geographies of Jules Romains and Virginia Woolf

Elisabeth Skou Pedersen

PhD Candidate in Comparative Literature at the University of Aarhus, Denmark

12:00 p.m. Tuesday, April 21, 2015 | Phelps Hall 3512 (map)

Jules_Romains-cropAbstract. The French author Jules Romains (1885-1972) founded the philosophical and literary movement of unanimism. Like many of his contemporaries, he was concerned with notions of communical consciousness and social life in the cities, but in his work these ideas take on a distinct literary shape. This talk will introduce Romains’ oeuvre and trace the influence of unanimist spatial thinking on the writings of Virginia Woolf. In the work of both Romains and Woolf, affective transgressions of the body through social space are used as metaphors to describe communication, perception and relations across geographical distance. These motifs and literary techniques provide an illustration of the early stages of globalization, in which the relation between nearness and distance is renegotiated. From a contemporary point of view, I will argue that the geographical writings of Romains and Woolf suggest productive ways in which to rethink the local-global relation that are perhaps more topical now than ever.

Elisabeth Skou Pedersen, MA, is a PhD Candidate in Comparative Literature at the University of Aarhus, Denmark, and a Visiting Scholar at the UCSB Department of French and Italian Studies. She does research in the interdisciplinary field of Literary Geography, and was a Visiting Scholar in Geography at the University of Ottawa in 2012.

The objectives of the ThinkSpatial brown-bag presentations are to exchange ideas about spatial perspectives in research and teaching, to broaden communication and cooperation across disciplines among faculty and graduate students, and to encourage the sharing of tools and concepts.
Please contact Andrea Ballatore (893-5267, to review and schedule possible discussion topics or presentations that share your disciplinary interest in spatial thinking.

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ThinkSpatial: Elisabeth Skou Pedersen