Conférences publiques 2013-2014
01 october 2013

Conférences publiques 2013-2014

Unless otherwise mentionned lectures take place at 5, allée Jacques Berque, Simone Weil amphitheater


All lectures are being recorded and videos are made available short after the event on the page "IAS videos - lectures 2013-2014".


Tuesday November 26th, 2013, 6pm-8pm

round-table with Ousmane Sidibé and Doulaye Konaté, professors at Bamako University (Mali), respectively in Law and in History.

« Mali between doubts and Hope : Reflection about the nation through the Northern Mali conflict »

" Inheritor of prestigious empires (Ghana,Mali,Songhay),melting pot of people and ancient cultures, home of « diatiguiya »,was Mali resting on its laurels ? In January 2012: yet another Tuareg rebellion, Islamic insurgency: pillaging, raping and stealing…In March 2012: military coup, indecision of institutions, violence…Mali is on its knees and question itself.

At the request of the Editions Tombouctou, scholars, researchers, writers were invited to an inter-generational and multidisciplinary dialogue away from prevailing false news and denial in order to exchange their views and visions about a wounded country, a war-torn nation and a humiliated state.

Mali is thus revisited through its history, societies, cultures and diversities, its territory, its transformations, its different crisis and conflicts, its choices and ambitions with respect to governance, its perspectives of rebuilding and renewing perspectives.

The book is intended for those who wish to understand how was Mali ruined and why it will recover."


Tuesday December 03rd, 2013, 18h-20h

lecture by Didier Demolin, profesor at the Linguistics Center at Stendhal University (Grenoble)

 The origin and evolution of some speech and language features

" This talk will be devoted to two topics in speech and language evolution. The first concerns a key element in human speech, i.e. the control of fundamental frequency (f0). The second is about the structure of non human primate vocalizations. Even if non-human primates modulate f0 there is not much evidence that they do this independently of intensity. Therefore it is essential to understand the origin and evolution of this feature of human language. Indeed controlling f0 allows modulating pitch contours that are essential in prosodic, syntactic, semantic and pragmatic features of human language. The comparison between human speech and non-human primate vocalizations allows interesting observations. This could also provide some evidence to evaluate the origin and evolution of the f0 control. The voice source of chimpanzee and bonobo is quite unstable and there does not seem to be f0 modulations independent from intensity. In this prespective one point should be obvious, this is that, the generally unstable voice source with no independent f0 control of non human primates evolved towards a more stable and controlled voice source in humans.The second part of this talk will raise address the following questions. Is human language unique among primate systems of communication in exhibiting syntax and recursion? The recursive, hierarchical embedding of language units minimally requires a ‘context free grammar’. This is more complex than the finite state grammars thought to be sufficient to specify the structure of non-human communication signals. Animals seem unable of learning and discriminating strings of a context free grammar from those formed by simpler rules. It will be shown that spontaneous combinatory calls of wild muriquis (Brachyteles hypoxanthus), a New World monkey, exhibit a grammar which is not only context-free but also context-sensitive. Thus, the capacity produce recursive, self-embedded grammars is not uniquely human. This finding suggests that some essential mental processes that make human language are shared with humans’ non-speaking cousins."


 Tuesday December 10th, 2013, 6pm-8pm

lecture by Monique Chemillier-Gendreau, profesor of Public Law and Political Sciences at Université Paris Diderot-Paris 7

 “Sovereignty as a barrier to the advancement of democracy, both in domestic societies and in the international society"

“The political and legal organisation of the world into sovereign states and international organisation created by themselves and depending on them is not suitable to either the quest for fair norms in an open world or the demand for freedom of modern societies. This organisation allows the uncontrolled rise of dangers, particularly the one of militarisation of all economies that powers, even in the so-called democratic states, are not looking at reducing and that United Nations don’t control.

An in-depth analysis comes to the conclusion that the concepts of state sovereignty along with their inherent immunities create a major obstacle to a democratic renewal that would allow an approach of the common good on the world scale. »


Tuesday January 14th, 2014, 6pm-8pm

lecture by Alain Prochiantz, professor at Collège de France, Director of the Interdisciplinary Center for Biology Research at Collège de France

"Sapiens A different species"

 “The evolution reminds us of our inorganic origin as well of our ties to the living world. To be born, to evolve, and to pass away: we are not machines, it is undeniable (not everyone can be a machine).Our affiliation to the animal world is just as obvious but it doesn’t make us apes, not even chimpanzees who yet are our closest cousins. What events led up to this distance from animality and how can we think as human being.”

Tuesday January 21st, 2014 , 7pm-8:30pm [NB: lecture at 7pm]

lecture by Gilbert Achcar, professor of Development Studies and International Relations at the University of London (SOAS)

"Arab uprising and complexity of the revolution"

 « This long-term revolutionary process is rooted in the social reality of the region, characterised by many decades of stalled development – a higher rate of unemployment, especially youth unemployment, than in any other region in the world over several decades.Nevertheless, some other elements influenced the political game in the region :the nature of the state, the voters, the convergente of antithetic forces in the fight against the leaders, the different centres of power in the counter revolution and the policies of the world powers. We will assess the current uprisings situation in the light of theses elements with a particular focus on the cases of Egypt and Syria .»

Tuesday February 18th 2014, 6pm-8pm

lecture by Gérard Minaud, Independent Researcher of History of accounting, associated to the Centre Camille Jullian, Aix-en-Provence, France - Nantes IAS Fellow 2012/2013

"The value of the roman slave"

“Throughout the Roman world, the purpose of owning slaves met several needs: economic, social or domestic. One could talk about slaves of production, slaves of comfort or slaves of luxury. There were multiple slave profiles, because of their backgrounds, the use that was made of them, or the fate that awaited them. Every slave had nonetheless an acquisition and maintenance cost; in return, they served their master by providing labor or services.

A simple accounting relationship between income and expenses could set the value of a slave, but the specificities of the Roman world dismiss this assumption in many cases.

A slave could indeed engender, transmit knowledge or be a subject of a short-term speculation through vocational training in order to be sold with a capital gain. On the long run, a slave with particularly good business skills could even represent a capital risk for their owner. When a master freed such a slave, they could earn, according to Roman law, a part of the fortune of their former slave after their death

How now determine the value of a Roman slave according to accounting standard. Could the Romans themselves do the same, and even had considered it?”


Monday March 10th, 2014, 6pm-8pm

lecture by Jérôme Giersé, Deputy Director BOZAR MUSIC – Programming

"A painter of the tangible, father of the fête galante, and a real shooting star of the Parisian artistic firmament in the early years of the 18th century, Watteau was the leading light of a new generation of artists and the first to combine music, dance, and theatre in his works.

Titles such as La Leçon de musique, Le Concert amoureux, and L’Accord parfait show the importance of music in the painter’s oeuvre as a perfect metaphor for amorous feeling. Through the study of the political, social and cultural context of the Regency and the close examination of the works themselves, Jerôme Giersé draws a portrait of an artist who managed to crystallize the musical language of his time through his paintings.

Musical extracts will help the public to immerse in the heart of one of the most fascinating periods in the history of art in France."

 Tuesday March 11th, 2014, 6pm-8pm

Lecture by Ana Soto et Carlos Sonnenschein, Professor at Boston University

"From the cell to cancer : An evolutionary perspective of development and cancer."

"Explanations of carcinogenesis have been debated for over a century. Ana Soto and Carlos Sonnenschein will briefly make a historic and an epistemologic overview of the subject with special emphasis on the quality and relevance of the premises adopted by those favoring either a) the somatic mutation theory (SMT) and its variants or b) the tissue organization field theory (TOFT).

These theories differ on two main points: first, while the SMT considers that cancer occurs at the cellular and molecular levels of biological organization, the TOFT is centered at the tissue level of this same hierarchical organization. And second, while the SMT adopts the premise that quiescence is the default state of cells in metazoans, the TOFT adopts, instead, the premise that proliferation is the default state of all cells. Influenced by a reductionist narrative, the SMT considers cancer a molecular, genetic disease. In contrast, the TOFT adopts an organicist approach and proposes that cancer is an example of how development may go awry. Experimental evidence buttressing interpretations that considers cancer as part of a repertory of behaviors inherent to multi-cellular organisms will be evaluated and an attempt will be made to explain how cancer fits into life at large."


Tuesday March 25th, 2014, 6pm-8pm

Lecture by Jean-Pierre Chevènement, honorary president of the Mouvement Républicain et Citoyen (MRC), and president of the Res Publica Foundation, a research public-benefit Foundation.

 "For another globalisation"

"It is safe to say that the commemoration in 2014 of the outbreak of the First World War will be instrumented for political purposes. On behalf of the slogan «Never again! » It will be for our leaders to justify the end of democracy in Europe in order to save it from its demons.

Although comparison are odious, it seemed enlightening to understand how Europe was gradually removed from history, to bring the two globalizations, the first before 1914 under British auspices, and the second since 1945, under American auspices, each asking the question of hegemony without which one cannot understand either the outbreak of the First world War or the current shift from America to Asia. The sudden acceleration of the decline of Europe is not only due to the two world wars that precipitated blind Pangermanism to the true interests of Germany. It mainly results from the demonization of those nations necessary to debilitating European institutions that allowed their progressive trusteeship by new "hegemon".

In order not to be marginalized in the new bipolar world taking shape between China and America, Europe needs to regain confidence in their nations to revive democracy and thereby become actively involved in its destiny. The Gaullist project remains ever so relevant, with a "European Europe " in the service of cultural dialogue and peace, a Europe compatible with the Republic , where France and Germany can work together to build a future of a Europe going from the Mediterranean to Russia .In a “reconciliation” finally purged of its ambiguities and its unspoken resentments: the two great nations can pursue together their history."


Tuesday April 04th, 2014, 6pm-8pm

Lecture by Jean-Pierre Dupuy, professor of Social and Political philosophy at Stanford University

 « Economy and the Future: A Crisis of Faith »

"Economy didn’t reinvent a new relationship to the future but it gave a new extend to it. Under certain conditions where economy becomes political economy, the economy “opens” a future in which individuals commit themselves with confidence and determination. However this relation is in crisis today and economy senses its potential end.

We must first understand the type of rationality that economy embodies and why that now it is deregulated, it verges on insanity. Capitalism works by projecting into a boundless future - hence the importance of growth – and drives him through. This is called a “bootstrap ", in reference to the feat of Baron Münchhausen who knew how to extricate himself from a swamp by pulling on the straps of his boots, or an autotranscendence.

But the question posed by critics of capitalism begins to make its way into the minds of the major players in the economy: what is the point of always wanting to grow? First of all, it is even feasible? A Capitalism that begins to imagine that it might die is, in a sense, already dead. The growth, which was first desired because it would bring happiness and secure employment, has become necessary to absorb our debt with regards to future generations. The current crisis is primarily a crisis of the relationship to the future."


Tuesday April 15th 2014, 18h-20h

Lecture by Anne Cheng, professor at Collège de France

"Is there a chinese way to Democracy?"

"For the past hundred years or so, ever since the early 20th century, the issue of the possibility for China to develop a democratic political system has been hotly debated, both by Chinese and Western theoreticians. Among the numerous propositions that have emerged, one of the most prominent is the attempt made by some “new Confucians” (most of them chose to leave Communist China after 1949) to delve into the resources offered by the Chinese intellectual tradition with a view to dig out indigenous antecedents of democracy. Ever since the 1980s, when mainland China jumped in its turn on the “new Confucian bandwagon”, such mobilization of traditional culture has taken a rather more aggressive turn, with the search for a specifically “Chinese way” which remains to be examined from a critical and historical viewpoint."

Tuesday May 6th 2014, 6:00-8:00pm

Lecture by Salah Trabelsi 

« Contemporary Memories of slave trade and slavery in the arab world »

Tuesday May 13th 2014, 6:00-8:00pm

"Building on selected examples in Maghreb and the Middle East Salah Trabelsi’s conference will address the issues of slave trade and slavery legacy. The extremely long description of emancipation and abolition processes, started decades ago, will help to identify a differentiated approach of the realities inherent to people from slavery. One of the striking features of these countries’ modern history is the persistence of some established forms of enslavement in some regions, between the Red Sea and the Atlantic Ocean forms. This particular story partly explains the late and contrasting emergence of the issue of memory in the descendants of slaves.

Other factors - related to the diversity of aspects of slavery in the Mediterranean world, and controversies related to concepts of emancipation and freedom – make the understanding of the phenomenon difficult. The general impression is that of a deficiency in the implementation of exploratory contextualized approaches; because symptomatically, the history of slaves is still being defensive and simplistic discourse when it is not simply eluded or ignored.

What is the situation today, three years after the wake of the Arab spring? How can one assess the birth of a diasporic consciousness and new forms of action taken by young people, descendants of slaves by and large? How these new dynamics reflect mobilizations yet discreet but heralding new cultural, political and social configurations? Finally what predictions can we apply for the future of African descent diasporas in this part of the world, even if the formula seems inappropriate, regarding black minorities immersed in naturally African countries?"


Lecture by Maina Singh

“Exploring Identity, Ethnicity and ’Home’ : Indian Diaspora Communities in Israel and Guadeloupe”

“Today, Indian diaspora communities are spread over 110 countries, stretching across all oceans and continents. Their remittance is estimated at 70 billion dollars. These 
’Global Indians’ are over 20m strong. In 10 countries they exceed the half million mark.

Yet, what do we know about Indian Jews in Israel ?.... Indian Americans in US politics? ....Or, fourth-generation Indians in Guadeloupe?

Indian-origin communities are marked by immense diversity. Chronology, history, geography and spatial dispersion have all shaped their post-migration lives. Nationalism, immigrant policies and perception of the ‘other’ have facilitated or hindered their integration in ‘host’ societies. Their own negotiations with identity, community-building and inter-generational cultural transmission are reflected in their contemporary diasporic formations.

Drawing from primary ethnographic research conducted in Israel, The United States and Guadeloupe, this presentation will examine three less-known Indian-origin communities to reflect on issues of migration, and integration ; mobility and mobilization as diaspora communities evolve their identities in relation to social and economic structures in their adopted ‘homelands’.

Findings reveal that concepts of ’home’ and ’homeland’ ; self and Other, remain dynamic and contested, yet also capable of generating powerful notions of belonging to an ‘unseen’ homeland….”


Tuesday May 27th 2014, 6:00-8:00pm

Lecture by Thomas Duve

“Transnationalisation of law and legal scholarship: a view from legal history”

"For approximately two decades, European scholars of all disciplines have been witnessing a profound transformation of the system of higher education and research. Policies of internationalization, the ‘digital revolution’, the introduction of economical patterns in academia and other factors have created a considerable pressure on social science, cultural studies, and the humanities. In addition to this, legal scholarship, necessarily oriented towards nation-state as the principal law-maker and to the national legal system as its functional environment, is facing a dynamic growth of transnational law – and the question rises as to whether we are heading towards a ‘Transnational Legal Scholarship’. Yet, it is not at all clear how such a ‘Transnational Legal Scholarship’ could look like, how it could be related to national legal scholarships and what kind of institutional and intellectual frameworks it would need.

The aim of this talk obviously does not consist in answering any of these questions. On the contrary, it merely tries to present some observations of this process and deliberations on the resulting challenges for academia. And it does so from the point of view of a small sub-discipline of legal scholarship – Legal History – and from an observatory located in Germany. From this particular perspective, I want to ponder questions like: Does the discipline of Legal History react to these transformations – and if it does: How? What are the intellectual and institutional challenges of a transnationalization of legal historical scholarship? What could be the place of a discipline like Legal History in a Transnational Legal Scholarship?

I will proceed in three steps, starting with a short description of some traditions that shaped my discipline. After this, I want to focus on some changes in the discipline’s environment during the last 25 years, the so called ‘Republic of Berlin’, and their impact on legal historical scholarship. Finally, I would like to summarize and point out some possible consequences of these transformations for legal historical scholarship. Hopefully, some issues raised in the talk might be, at least in their general scope, similar to problems other disciplines are discussing in their fields, giving way to a ‘transnational’ and ‘transdisciplinary’ discussion."


Tuesday June 17th 2014, 6:00-8:00pm

Lecture by Patrick Boucheron

"Living civilly in a divided city : topicality of an old fear"

"The fresco painted by Ambrogio Lorenzetti in the Palazzo pubblico (town hall) in Siena in 1338 is one of the most famous political paintings in the history of European art. It shows in an ample and detailed manner, the effects of the political choices made by the leaders of the town. Do they want to give way to the discord, to this slow subversion of the civic values that affect politics? Or will they be able to take on a fair and equitable government that pacifies the society without denying the dissent that founds it? The painter gives to see the cutting edge of political decision. We will discuss the political force of such a work, painted in a state of emergency, but still bound to be updated. In doing so, we tend to realize a historian approach seeking to explain, through the past, what troubles us today."