Houellebecq Seminar 2022-2023 (Paris-Nanterre & on-line)

Thirty years ago, 1991, the essay HP Lovecraft. Against the world, against lifethe poetry collection The pursuit of happiness, and a manifest entitled Stay alive. method. With these first three works Michel Houellebecq entered the literature; Thirty years later and after eight novels, four volumes of poetry and several series of essays, he has become one of the most celebrated contemporary French authors abroad and undoubtedly one of those who best make us think about the aporias, changes and crises of today’s world – evidenced by the great Diversity of researchers of all nationalities who are now interested in his work: literary scholars, philosophers, historians, political scientists, art historians, architects, economists, lawyers, natural scientists … The Houellebecq seminar aims to offer these researchers the opportunity to meet, to discuss and to make their thoughts and works known.

The meetings will take place both in person at the University of Paris Nanterre and via video conference. from a link distributed for each session. To subscribe to the seminar mailing list, simply write to this address: agathe.novak-lechevalier(at)

The Houellebecq seminar this year will focus on the question of liberalism in Houellebecq’s work. Four sessions are planned. Attention, please note that due to the imperatives of the various speakers, this year the sessions will take place sometimes on Thursdays, sometimes on Wednesdays; Also, they don’t all take place in the same room: pay close attention to the location information below.

Thursday, November 24, 2022 (4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.)

Location: Amphitheater of the Continuing Education Building

Jean-Denis Culié, Vincent Meyer and Xavier Philippe: “The collaborators of Houellebecquian, elementary particles of neoliberalism”

Jean-Denis Culié is Professor of Human Resources Management, Vincent Meyer Professor of Organizational Theory and Xavier Philippe Professor of Sociology of Work at the Normandy School of Management. All three have signed several articles dedicated to the business world at Michel Houellebecq: Filing in liquid organizations. The paradoxes of the clerk by Houellebecquian, Revue Française de Gestion, n. 303, 2022; Hear the call of boredom at work. A Heideggerian journey into the novels of Michel Houellebecq. Organization, Vol. 29, No. 5, 2022; and soon “Crafts like here and now. Join the supremacy of entrepreneurship. News from the work of Michel Houellebecq”.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023 (4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.)

Location: Weber building amphitheater, University of Paris Nanterre

Christian Authier: “Broadening the domain of anti-liberalism”

Yann Raison du Cleuziou: “The apology of Catholicism, the flip side of the critique of liberalism”

Christian Authier is a journalist, essayist and novelist. He has long been interested in the work of Michel Houellebecq, since conducting one of the interviews published in Interventions for L’Opinion Indépendante. He has published The New Sexual Order (Bartillat, 2002), in which a whole chapter is devoted to Michel Houellebecq; and last year he published Houellebecq’s political essay, Flammarion, “Champs”.

Yann Raison du Cleuziou is an accredited Lecturer in Political Science at the University of Bordeaux. He is the author of several books on the Catholic world (Who are Catholics today? Sociology of a divided world, Desclée de Brouwer, 2014; From contemplation to debate. The politicization of the Dominicans of the province of France years 1940-1970 , Belin, 2016; A Catholic Counter-Revolution: The Origins of the Manif pour tous, Seuil, 2019); he also worked on the volume Poverty of Man Without God. Houellebecq and the question of faith in 2021 (“An impossible conversion? Michel Houellebecq, the sacramentality of women and the obsolescence of Catholicism”).

Wednesday, March 15, 2023 (4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.)

Location: Weber building amphitheater, University of Paris Nanterre

Erik Leborgne: “Dreams of ‘happy consumers’: Choses de Perec à la Carte and the Territory of Houellebecq”.

Jack Abecassis: “Houellebecq, or the Cogs of Reality”

Érik Leborgne is Lecturer in Research Leadership at Sorbonne Nouvelle University. A specialist in 18th-century romantic fiction, he is the author of Figures of the Imaginary in Cleveland by Prévost (Desjonquères, 2006) and L’Humour noir des Lumières (Classiques Garnier, 2018). He edited around twenty editions of classical texts, in particular works by Rousseau, Prévost, Marivaux, Tencin, Charrière, Courtilz and Casanova.

Jack Abecassis, who teaches at Pomona College in California, published the first scholarly article in English on Michel Houellebecq, “The Eclipse of Desire” (September 2000, Johns Hopkins). He is a sixteenth-century specialist and a specialist in Montaigne. But over the years and parallel to his articles on Montaigne, he has written on various and contemporary topics: a book on Albert Cohen, Dissonant Voices (Johns Hopkins UP, 2004), and essays and articles on Luis Buñuel, Michel Houellebecq , Clément Rosset , Michel Meyer, Gillian Flynn, Christian Delacampagne, Philip Roth and Paul Auster.

Thursday, May 11, 2023 (4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.)

Location: Room S2 of the Weber building, University of Paris Nanterre

Jean-Baptiste Juillard and Jean Chuilon-Croll: “Michel Houellebecq, a paradoxical freedom of expression”

Jean-Baptiste Juillard is a PhD student and ATER in the Faculty of Philosophy at the Sorbonne University; Jean-Chuilon Croll is a PhD student at the Paris Institute of Criminology, affiliated with Panthéon-Assas University.

Thursday, June 1, 2023 (4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.)

Place: meeting room in the University of Paris Nanterre building

Session outside the theme of liberalism: new avenues of Houellebecquian research

PhD students or young doctors working on the work of Michel Houellebecq will come to present their research areas. This year :

Laurent Padovanisupervised by Philippe Zard (University of Paris Nanterre), talks about his current work on a dissertation entitled: “Reporting the World: Novel Authority and the Crisis of Contemporary Western Civilization in the Novels of Milan Kundera, Philip Roth, Martin Amis, Michel Houellebecq and Bret Easton Ellis”.

Huan Liudirected by Bruno Clément (University Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint-Denis), will intervene in a video from China to tell us about his recently defended thesis “Houellebecq, writing between disorder and faith”.

Victor Danieldirected by Christian Doumet (Sorbonne University), The Contemporary Transgressive Novel will evoke the works of Houellebecq, Despentes and Djian.

Clemens Lemaitre finally, directed by Yves Baudelle (University of Lille), his work will be discussed, dedicated to the central issue of humor in Michel Houellebecq’s work.

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