5 July 2024
Fritz Senn and the International James Joyce Foundation

On 28 June 2024, The Irish Times published two articles about ‘inappropriate behaviour’ and ‘accusations of misogyny and harassment’ in the community of James Joyce scholars. These articles paint a thoroughly distorted picture of the crisis currently gripping Joyce studies. The articles in question quoted a small number of academics, including those known as the originators of a ‘safety’ campaign broadly inspired by the #metoo movement. This campaign, though originally well-intentioned, has riven apart what had traditionally been an exceptionally welcoming, convivial, and nurturing international community. Since 2018, a section of the Joyce world has generated rumours that have resulted in the vilification of a number of fellow Joyceans for offences always nebulously whispered about but never openly declared.

The intimidating atmosphere fostered by this project of suspicion and insinuation has been both upsetting and demoralising. It culminated in the expulsion of Fritz Senn from the Glasgow conference on the grounds that he represented a threat to the safety of a student volunteer (he had offered her chocolate and unwanted compliments, taken her photograph in a crowded place, and asked for her email address). Senn, now 96, and the founder of the Zürich James Joyce Foundation, has been at the fulcrum of the Joyce world for decades, tirelessly shaping and enriching it with his tremendous knowledge of Joyce’s works, his generosity of time and energy, his wisdom, humour, and friendship. The joyous, inclusive, diverse community we knew and loved was largely of his making. He has, by a highly divisive turn of events, become the first victim of these excessive and immoderate accusations. His disciplinary hearing was improvised, expedited, and procedurally deeply flawed. The sanction applied was grossly disproportionate – an attempt to make an example of a central and much-loved figure of the Joyce world. Without wishing to downplay the concerns which led to this situation, the conduct of those acting in the name of ‘safety’ calls for urgent reconsideration. It is time for the community to come together again around its core purpose: the academic study and collegial celebration of one of the greatest, life-affirming authors of all time.

322 verified
  1. Erika Mihálycsa, Associate Professor, Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj
  2. Serenella Zanotti, Associate Professor, Roma Tre University, Rome
  3. Laura Pelaschiar, Associate Professor, TRIESTE JOYCE SCHOOL, University of Trieste, TRIESTE
  4. Scarlett Baron, Associate Professor, University College London
  5. Paul Devine, Retired, Independent Scholar, Rotterdam
  6. Ilma Rakusa, Writer, translator, Zurich
  7. anonymous
  8. Enrico Terrinoni, Professor, translator, writer, Università per Stranieri di Perugia, Rome
  9. Daniel Ferrer, Director of research emeritus, ITEM-ENS-CNRS, Paris
  10. Ilaria Natali, Associate professor, University of Flore ce, Firenze
  11. Fabio Luppi, Researcher, UNIVERSITÀ ROMA TRE, Rome
  12. Chiara Valcelli, PhD student, UCC, Cork
  13. Ellen Carol Jones, Former Associate Professor, Saint Louis University, Dublin, Ohio
  14. Morris Beja, Professor Emeritus, The Ohio State University, Dublin, Ohio
  15. Caroline Elbay, Adjunct Professor, Champlain College Dublin, Dublin 9
  16. Armağan Ekici, Translator, Amsterdam
  17. Jolanta Wawrzycka, Professor, Radford University, Radford
  18. Massimiliano Bianchi, Founder / President & CEO, Ulysses Neuroscience Ltd, Dublin
  19. Annalisa Federici, Assistant Professor, Roma Tre University, Rome
  20. Ira Torresi, associate professor, University of Bologna, Forli
282 more
verified signatures
  1. John Shevlin, Milliner, Self, Dublin
  2. Lara O'Muirithe, Researcher, Dublin
  3. Francesca Crisante, Researcher, University of Messina
  4. Noam Schiff, Clinical psychologist, Adjunct lecturer, Bar Ilan University, Tel Aviv-Yafo
  5. Erika Brino, teacher / independent scholar, Conegliano Venezia
  6. Sylvain Belluc, Lecturer, University of Nîmes
  7. Raffaella Antinucci, University Professor, Parthenope University of Naples, Naples
  8. Manuela D'Amore, Associate Professor of English Literature, University of Catania, Catania
  9. Vincenzo Addio, Teacher, Naples
  10. Godfrey Jordan, Documentary Filmmaker, Toronto
  11. Alberta Boschi, PhD, Parthenope University of Naples
  12. Gabriele Basile, Università degli Studi di Napoli “Parthenope”, Napoli
  13. ILARIA SUSMEL, Clerk and reader of Joyce, ., Trieste
  14. Carla Vaglio Marengo, Emerita Professor, University of Turin, Turin
  15. Salvatore Pappalardo, Professor, Towson University, Baltimore
  16. Keith Hopper, Lecturer, Atlantic Technological University, Sligo
  17. JOYCE Garvey, Dublin
  18. Michele Palozzo, Bookseller, Il Salvalibro, Foligno
  19. Liliana Ferrari, former associate professor, University of Trieste, Trieste
  20. Cesare Vetter, Former Associate Professor, University of Trieste, Trieste
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