Category Archives: Publications

Past into future: the “rewriting” of Angoulême’s identity

My article, entitled “Past into future: the ‘rewriting’ of Angoulême’s identity,” appeared in Contemporary French Civilization, vol. 43, no. 2, on July 10th, 2018.

First page of Carl Cornell’s 2018 article in Contemporary French CivilizationIn this article, I examine the multiple ways in which Angoulême has reworked its identity following deindustrialization with a view to attaining a desirable and lasting quality of life for its residents. In weaving together temporal, spatial, and semiotic threads of analysis, I show that this Charentaise city is “rewriting,” in a Lyotardian sense, its once-prosperous paper industry as the basis for its cultural, social, and economic transformation. The Festival de la bande dessinée provides a fresh take on local industrial identity yet also conveys the city’s ambition to pursue national and international recognition. The Musée de la bande dessinée and its umbrella institution, the Cité internationale de la bande dessinée et de l’image, work to offer the bande dessinée a permanent presence in the city, while the repurposed buildings that house these cultural centers contribute symbolically to the recycling of the past in the present. Angoulême has used these cultural initiatives as a springboard toward economic revival by establishing schools in the field of image production. While the results of these initiatives have thus far been modest for the city as a whole, burgeoning urbanity in the neighborhoods along the river where these institutions are located gives reason for optimism regarding Angoulême’s future.

The article can be accessed here: