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Word and Image: A Cultural and Interdisciplinary Enquiry

Department of French and Centre for Comparative Literature


One of the most exciting and innovative fields of current academic enquiry is the study of the interaction of words and images. The collaboration between verbal and written languages and visual and symbolic systems of communication are so prevalent that they have attracted academic attention at the University of Toronto from a diverse range of disciplines, including literature, drama, cinema studies, art history, book history and print culture, philosophy, anthropology, media studies and architecture. This interdisciplinary, interdepartmental and international research group concerns itself with the study of the relations between words and images in various forms and interdisciplinary perspectives.

The objectives of this research group are twofold. First, from a pedagogical perspective our aim is to identify and discuss questions, problems and methods for the development of a curriculum which focuses on a multidisciplinary approach to the study of verbal and visual representations in the humanities. From a theoretical perspective, this research endeavour allows faculty members and students to explore issues such as: what are images?; how do they differ from textual representations?; what are the interactions of visual and verbal representations in a variety of media, mainly literature and the visual arts?; what is the relationship between "word and image" and cultural politics, issues of power, values and human interests?



To foster the interdisciplinarity of word and image studies this group seeks to advance research and teaching in this field at the University of Toronto and other institutions of higher education within Canada, Europe and the United-States. Scholars from France, England, Italy, Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Hong Kong, Canada and the U.S.A. Scholars are actively involved in this international and interdisciplinary research project through their participation at national and international conferences focussed on word and image relationships, guest-lectures and seminars, the publication of special issues of learned journals. This research group organizes regular workshops for faculty and graduate students and lectures by eminent theorists and visual artists.  Close academic ties are also maintained with other international research groups such as l’ITEM (Paris) and L’Équipe FORELL (Poitiers).


Journée d'étude « Découvrir les interactions entre les médias visuels et verbaux - Uncovering Interactions between Visual and Verbal Media » - Event held at the Northrop Frye Centre, Victoria College, March 30th, 2017.

Journées d'étude « Le Dispositif texte/image. The Word and Image Apparatus » - Event held at the Burwash Dining Hall, Private Dining Room, Victoria College, September 27th, 2013.



Department of French/Centre for Comparative Literature, NF Hall, Victoria College: Tel: 416-585-4411; Fax: 416-585-4584.

Le Huenen, RolandFull Professor416-813-4053
LeBlanc, JulieFull Professor416-585-4411

Revue Arborescences

Considérant que rien de ce qui touche la langue française ne lui est étranger, la revue Arborescences se veut un espace de réflexion sur les enjeux actuels des études françaises aussi bien en littérature, en linguistique qu’en didactique.

History of the Department

165 years of French Studies at the University of Toronto (1853-2018)


Estimant que rien de ce qui touche la langue française ne lui est étranger, la revue électronique Arborescences veut offrir un espace de réflexion sur des questions d’importance en études françaises, relevant aussi bien de la didactique que de la lit