This session was filmed.

View video of session.


The Alliance Française de Brisbane, in partnership with the School of Languages and Cultures, the School of Communication of Arts and the Centre for Critical and Creative Writing at the University of Queensland and with the support of the European Philosophy Research Group, is delighted to welcome to Brisbane one of France’s most widely acclaimed journalists, Annick Cojean.

Annick Cojean is senior reporter for French daily newspaper Le Monde and chairs the committee for the Prix Albert Londres, the French equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize.

In her latest book, Je ne serais pas arrivée là si...27 femmes racontent (I Wouldn’t Be Where I am Today If... 27 Women Tell Their Stories), Annick Cojean pays tribute to her recently deceased mother and also to 27 famous women she has interviewed, including singers and musicians Patti Smith, Marianne Faithful, Joan Baez, Angélique Kidjo and Cecilia Bartoli, actresses Brigitte Bardot, Claudia Cardinale, Vanessa Redgrave and Nicole Kidman, authors Amélie Nothomb and Virginie Despentes, politicians Christine Taubira (former French government Minister) and Anne Hidalgo (Mayor of Paris), as well as Nobel Prize winning Iranian lawyer Shirin Ebadi.

Cojean recognises these women as inspiring – identifying them all as being able to speak with sincerity about the obstacles they faced in life, their dreams, an ability to embrace chaos, and a resilience to change.

While the interviews were conducted before the #MeToo phenomenon or its French equivalent #BalanceTonPorc, they resonate the sentiment that we can make a difference to women's lives, but they must be given a platform. Cojean feels that so often the floor has been given to men, such that in her own work as a journalist, she aims to focus on women and their stories.

Her book Gaddafi's Harem uncovered the systematic rape and torture of women during Muammar Gaddafi's regime. She was co-author of the documentary Le Cri étouffé (The Muffled Scream), directed by Manon Loizeau, which investigated rape as a political weapon during the Syrian Civil War.

Join us for this discussion exploring how we may build on the momentum of the #MeToo movement by empowering women to speak up and tell their own stories.

Annick Cojean will be in-conversation with Associate Professor Elizabeth Stephens. Elizabeth is an Australia Research Council Future Fellow in the Institute for Advanced Humanities and Associate Professor in Cultural Studies in the School of Communication and Arts at the University of Queensland. She has published widely in the fields of gender and sexuality studies, focusing primarily on queer and feminist art, literature and theory.

Her first book examined the homoerotic fiction of French author Jean Genet under the rubric of “queer writing.” Her most recent book, Normality: A Critical Genealogy (Chicago University Press, 2017), co-authored with Peter Cryle, was a long history of the concept of the normal. Elizabeth is also involved in a series of long-standing collaborations with the experimental art collective SymbioticA, the Centre for Excellence in Biological Art at the University of Western Australia, and is a founding member of the international Somatechnics Research Network. She is currently President of the Cultural Studies Association of Australasia.