Back Seminari amb Camille Lavoix: "Re(claiming) the lion’s share. In search of reality and diversity in the representation of lions"

Seminari amb Camille Lavoix: "Re(claiming) the lion’s share. In search of reality and diversity in the representation of lions"

L'UPF-CAE i el grup de recerca CritiCC us convidem al seminari amb Camille Lavoix, investigadora predoctoral de la Universitat de Würzburg (Alemanya), per donar-li feedback al seu treball.



Divendres 24 de novembre, 11h
Aula 52939
La sessió serà en castellà.

Abstract: How have lions been depicted in western and hegemonic audiovisual representations in the last 100 years? My main hypothesis is that it is still a (neo)colonial construct, far from the “reality” that lion bodies have been factually experiencing. After a deep dive in archives, documentary databanks, YouTube, etc., the homogenous results show a lack of diversity regarding lions’ representations. One of the findings is that real lions are very much affected by the stereotypical portrayal of fictional ones. To illustrate this point, I probe a media report by local Arizona TV in the safari-theme park Out of Africa, paying attention to the cuddling and hugging of lions, treated like pets. Indeed, such scenes are reminiscent of colonial images of Joy Adamson hugging Elsa, “her” adopted lion in the bestseller Born Free (1960) whose success was largely due to the dozens of photographs of Elsa and Joy. Elsa was orphaned after George Adamson killed her mother in “self-defense”, another topos observed in early representations of lions as constantly threatening humans. Finally, I turn to recent representations of lions in Sir David Attenborough’s landmark series asking what their ethical implications are. Taking cues from Brett Mills’s statement that “it is important to place a programme such as Planet Earth within the broadcasting system that produced and distributes it” (2015), I emphasize how lions have been and are consistently depicted by Anglophones, in particular English conservation celebrity Attenborough (Graham Huggan). Ultimately, such results call for more diverse representations of lions to emerge (Emma Marris), outside of “pastoral idylls” or “worlds in danger” (James Secord).

Bio: Camille Lavoix is a PhD candidate in Environmental Humanities, her project is entitled “Re-imagining the West Sudanian Savanna”. She teaches at the English department (Literature and Cultural Studies) of the University of Würzburg in Germany. Her research is at the intersection between African literatures and ecocriticism and seeks to “unsafari the savanna”. Camille was previously a journalist and contributed to various media such as Le Monde, Mediapart, El Pais, Arte, The Guardian and the BBC. She has conducted environmental investigations mainly from West Africa and South America where she also earned a master’s degree in Journalism in Buenos Aires (Argentina). She is the author of several books in French (stories, poems, non-fiction) about more-than-humans ranging from baobabs to ants, for children and adults. Following very positive experiences in Ramon Llull, Cordoba and Granada Universities, Camille is particularly eager to participate in projects located in Spain (research stays, guest lectures conferences, postdoc, etc.). 



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