September 11th, 2001: slipping from reality into myth

On September 11th, 2001, fanatics flew two airplanes into the twin towers of New York's World Trade Center and another into the Pentagon, while a fourth machine missed its mark and crashed to the ground in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. A painfully real event that claimed close to 3,000 lives and caused an enormous shock wave throughout the western world. 

Literature, cinema and other artistic disciplines quickly seized the event and attempted to give it some meaning. The all too real attacks of September 11th, 2001 slipped slowly into myth. It is precisely this mythification that interests the Équipe de recherche sur l'imaginaire contemporain, la littérature, les images et les nouvelles textualités (Research Team on the Modern Imagination, Literature, Images and the new ), because it offers a concrete glimpse into the cultural, social and technological transformations that are reconfiguring our relationship with the world in a fundamental manner. This research team, directed by Bertrand Gervais from Université du Québec à Montréal, retraces the path of the construction of this traumatic myth by studying its presence in journalistic discourse as well as in literary, cinematographic and visual works. 

In 2007, the research team created an online repertory designed to be a research and knowledge environment (RKE) providing research results and layers of analysis that allow information-sharing and in-depth analysis within a community of researchers. More than just an internet showcase, it is a dynamic resource that is constantly evolving. The RKE is a place for disseminating research, open to everyone and operating in real-time. 

The research team has also produced numerous books and papers, including Fictions et images du 11 septembre 2001 (Presses de l'Université du Québec), Photojournalismes – Revoir les canons de l'image de presse (Éditions Hazan), Si la science m'était contée – Des savants en littérature (Éditions du Seuil) and L'imaginaire de la fin : temps, mots et signes – Logiques de l'imaginaire, Tome III, in Le Quartanier.


Équipe de recherche sur l'imaginaire contemporain, la littérature, les images et les nouvelles textualités


Bertrand Gervais, Université du Québec à Montréal

Regular members

  • Jean-François Chassay, Université du Québec à Montréal 
  • Anne Élaine Cliche, Université du Québec à Montréal 
  • Jean-François Hamel, Université du Québec à Montréal 
  • Louise Lachapelle, Université Laval 
  • Joanne Lalonde, Université du Québec à Montréal 
  • Vincent Lavoie, Université du Québec à Montréal 
  • Nicolas Xanthos, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi