I earned my Bachelor and Masters degrees in English literature and Film studies from the University of Lausanne. I have also held visiting studentships at the Sorbonne Nouvelle (French literature) and the University of York (English and Related literature). I have had the pleasure of teaching film and gender studies at the humanities college of the EPFL in the second year of my Masters, followed by a class on the limits of the human in literature and film upon graduating. Both modules allowed me to take the humanities beyond its disciplinary boundaries, an intellectual endeavor that I find vitalizing and important.
My DPhil dissertation in English literature, “Latent Leviathans: Contemporary Fictions of Political Sovereignty”, is supervised by Professor David Dwan at the University of Oxford. Drawing on recent scholarship in political theory, the thesis examines the concept of “political sovereignty” as it finds literary expression in novels by Margaret Atwood, J.M. Coetzee, and George Orwell. My claim is that dystopian fictions elaborated during the second half of the twentieth-century – which draw on the totalitarian states that appeared during and after the Second World War – rework the archaic form of power that sovereignty is. The resurgence of sovereignty as a fiction of power is especially potent when the state is defined by perpetual war in the novels under consideration. I therefore pay heed to the representation of sovereignty in literature, questioning a form of state violence often instated in response to terrorism and often overshadowed by the spectacular dimensions of totalitarianism.
I am extremely grateful for the generous support of the Bakala Foundation and thrilled to be part of the culture of passionate scholarship they foster.