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ICCS 37 The Beauties of Imposture and Usurpation: from Poetics to Politics

Author/Speaker|Alain Brossat

Publication Date|2021-02

Keywords|impostor, imposture, usurpation, usurper, impersonation, fake, narration, narrative, storyteller, imitation, lie, regime of truth, falsification


I will progress, in this course, from figures, characters, scenes, cases where imposture and usurpation are at issue and explore the abysses that open up here: how does imposture take shape — a matter of circumstances, a matter of character — a combination of both? Does something like pleasure or a delight of imposture and even usurpation exist? How is imposture related to pathological lie, mythomania? To power? How is usurpation related to sovereignty? Why and how does some imposture end up in a burst of laughter and others in a bloodbath? How are imposture and usurpation shaped by cultural conditions — are the impostor and the usurper trans-cultural figures invariant throughout history? Imposture and usurpation are a golden thread that can help us orient ourselves in the labyrinth of cultural diversity and the heterogeneity of historical times. Imposters always are, in a way or another, wonderful “storytellers”— the narrative stakes of imposture and usurpation are one of the main issues of this course.   

Author's Bio:
Alain Brossat is the Yushan Scholar and Visiting Researcher at Institute of Social Research and Cultural Studies, National Chiao Tung University.

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