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Interview #135 Beata Stawarska
Vidéo | Interviews
Research project : The Canon and the Critique: One Hundred Years of the Course in General Linguistics Thanks to its over one hundred-year-long legacy, the Cours de linguistique générale /Course in General Linguistics (1916) attributed to Ferdinand de Saussure acquired the status of an indispensable ‘Great Book’ in contemporary scholarship in the humanities. This canonical text laid out an innovative research program in modern linguistics and it led to the development of a structuralist method in other human sciences, and it therefore occupies an important role in contemporary academic scholarship and college-level pedagogy. While the Course is justifiably enshrined within the contemporary canon of ideas, recent research in Saussurean linguistics offers multiple venues for developing a critical perspective on this foundational text. This groundbreaking research conducted mainly in France has remained confined to specialised academic venues and not nearly as popular and widely accessible as the Course itself. Beata Stawarska therefore proposes to author the first critical companion to the Course in General Linguistics that would appeal to a wide, international and interdisciplinary audience in the humanities, and reflect the relevant European scholarship on the legacy and validity of the Course today. This study would examine the production, reception, and replication of the Course as an official statement of Saussure’s linguistics by examining the dominant social relations of power within European academic institutions and the role social norms play in enabling as well as constraining the establishment of true knowledge in scientific disciplines. It would therefore contribute to a better understanding of Saussure’s linguistics and its social and institutional context. Biography Beata Stawarska is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oregon, USA. Her areas of expertise include contemporary European Philosophy, especially phenomenology and poststructuralism, French feminism, philosophy of language (broadly construed), and philosophical psychology. She engages thinkers such as Merleau-Ponty, Derrida, Saussure, J. L. Austin, Beauvoir, Kristeva, Irigaray, and others. Stawarska has published two books: Between You and I: Dialogical Phenomenology and Saussure’s Philosophy of Language: Undoing the Doctrine of the Course in General Linguistics, as well as a number of essays in journals and chapters in anthologies. She is interested in topics such as embodiment, gender and sexual difference, social relations of power, oppression and resistance, expression and performativity, as well as the historiography of linguistics and the making (and re-making) of an established canon of philosophy. She is currently investigating the complex ways through which language reflects as well as subverts dominant relations of privilege and subordination in society, especially through the reclamation of hate speech by marginalised groups.
Conférence #188 by Arnaud Teyssier June 5, 2018, 56mn
Vidéo | Lectures
Philippe Séguin (1943-2010) a été une personnalité politique considérable dans l’histoire de la Ve République, plus par sa stature personnelle, son style et l’expression vigoureuse de ses idées que par l’abondance des responsabilités nationales exercées (deux années comme ministre des Affaires sociales en 1986-1988, quatre années comme président de l’Assemblée nationale de 1993 à 1997). Les années 1990 furent sa période de plus grande notoriété, en raison de son engagement emblématique contre le traité de Maastricht (1992) et de la figure de « recours » qu’il incarna face à des orientations plus « libérales » de la droite de filiation gaullienne, dans un contexte de grande incertitude institutionnelle (cohabitations successives, passage du septennat au quinquennat, européanisation croissante des outils et des enjeux de la politique intérieure). Il est d’usage de présenter Philippe Séguin comme une personnalité forte et respectée – on se souvient de l’ampleur de l’hommage national qui lui fut rendu, à sa mort, aux Invalides -, mais aussi atypique, turbulente, enfermée dans une vision excessivement « nationale » des questions économiques et sociales, jugée trop en marge de la politique traditionnelle et des enjeux de la mondialisation. La conférence se propose de montrer, au contraire, que Philippe Séguin représentait une vision parfaitement orthodoxe et cohérente des institutions de la Ve République, que le gaullisme social, dont il était porteur, n’a jamais été qu’une composante essentielle d’une puissante tradition politique française – le gaullisme n’étant pas seulement un mouvement historique lié à la personnalité exceptionnelle du général de Gaulle, mais une étape fondamentale dans la construction laborieuse de la démocratie française : construction qui est loin d’avoir atteint sa maturité, et dont on pourrait même soupçonner qu’elle est entrée en régression avant même d’avoir été achevée, comme l’avait prophétisé Philippe Séguin et comme s’attachent désormais à le souligner plusieurs essais récents parus dans différentes disciplines.
Entretien #138 avec Parfait D. Akana
Vidéo | Interviews
Research project: The Theme of Madness in Televisual Creation in Cameroon. A visual anthropology The aim of this research is the study of different representations of madness in Cameroonian TV films and series. It states that TV creation on madness relates to a semiotic project which operates from a set of socio-political and cultural determinations allowing to grasp its intelligibility through three key terms: place, modalities and purpose. Here the place refers to Cameroon, particularly to urban life as an emblematic place of most of the dysfunctionalities. Modalities are related to the ‘how’, to techniques used for efficiency of what has been called here a ‘semiotic project’. Exemplified by the resources of occult economies - ritual crimes for transgressive enrichment, bad luck, spells, etc. - these techniques constitute, under the "how" mode, the corpus of practices that justify a state of being, which has been designated here as a finality. Biography Parfait D. Akana is a sociologist, anthropologist and publisher. His work is principally focused on mental illness in Cameroon, sexual and gender-based violence in the experience of madness, sociology and anthropology of communication (social networks, sitcoms, languages and popular cultures). After studying at the Universities of Yaounde I and II, Paris 13 and EHESS of Paris, he joined the Research Department of CODESRIA (Council for the Development and Research in Social Sciences in Africa) where he worked from May 2014 to April 2017. He teaches at the Advanced School of Mass Communication (University of Yaounde II, Cameroon). He is also the editor-in-chief of both Terroirs (African Journal of Social Sciences and Philosophy), founded and directed by Fabien Eboussi Boulaga, and African Psychopathology (Social Sciences and Psychiatry in Africa), founded in 1965 by Henri Collomb.
Interveiw #139 Felwine Sarr
Vidéo | Interviews
Research project: Writing Humanities from an African Perspective The research project is based on the issue of the writing of African humanities. It starts from the premise of the diversity of approaches to reality depending on civilizations and eras, the plurality of ways of knowing, as well as gnosiological and epistemological relativity. It proposes to rethink the plurality of the journeys of human thinking starting from the idea of the principle of equality of the different schools of thought, while acknowledging their incommensurability. This leads to envisaging these different schools of thought from their horizons and the configurations of the imaginable which they propose, like unique journeys of the mind which have developed concurrently, shaped by the cultures from which they originate. Thinking about these questions in an African context calls for an epistemic shift. It is necessary to incorporate the complexity of African social structures and embrace them in their cultural and historical distinctiveness. This requires a change of position within the fields of constituted knowledge and recovery; an act of thinking which pays particular attention to its archaeological setting and actual trends in the societies being examined. But more fundamentally, it is a question of acquiring more in-depth knowledge of African societies and cultures, based on their own gnosiological criteria. To achieve this, it is necessary to adopt other modes of understanding reality, besides the scientific knowledge that has been constructed thus far. The exploration of the relatively unfamiliar territories of African ontomythologies and epistemogonies allows a more open-minded approach to various types of knowledge, thus keeping African societies alive. [This research project will be updated soon.] Biography Felwine Sarr is a Senegalese scholar and writer born in 1972 in Niodior, in the Saloum islands. He attends high school in Senegal before studying economics at the University of Orleans where he obtains a doctorate in Economics in 2006. Full professor and agregation holder, he teaches at the University Gaston Berger of Saint-Louis since 2007. His lectures and academic researches focus on economic policies, development economy, econometrics, epistemology and history of religious ideas. In 2010, he is awarded the prize Abdoulaye Fadiga for research in Economics. In 2011, he becomes dean of the Economics and Management faculty of the University Gaston Berger of Saint-Louis, and head of the new faculty of Civilizations, Religions, Arts and Communication (CRAC) of the same university. He is also a writer and has published several novels and essays. As a musician, he has published three albums thus far: Civilisation ou Barbarie (2000), Les Mots du Récits (2005) and Bassai (2007). With the writers Boubacar Boris Diop and Nafissatou Dia, he cofounded the publishing house Jimsaan. Felwine Sarr is also editor of the review Journal of African Transformation (CODESRIA-UNECA). In 2016, he organized with Achille Mbembé in Dakar and Saint-Louis, the Ateliers de la pensée, which gathers African and diasporic intellectuals and artists to think around the transformations of the contemporary world.
Interview #126 Antonio De Almeida Mendes
Vidéo | Interviews
Research project: Black Portugal: dependency, bonded labour and “race” (15th-19th centuries) In the 15th century, the development of an Atlantic network linking southern Europe and West Africa, encompassing many different European and African societies, facilitated the movement of scholars, slaves, legates, traders, converts, renegades, peasants, seafarers and soldiers from one continent to the other. The number of Africans living permanently in Barcelona, Lisbon, Seville or Valencia thus increased. Several lines of questioning permeate the research project at IAS-Nantes: 1. What are the consequences for Portuguese society and economy of the large-scale presence of a slave population of African origin? 2.What are the trajectories of mulatto, pardos and negros (persons of mixed white and black ancestry born in Portugal) take in these cities of southern Europe? 3. Can we speak of a Portuguese social and economic model? Modern-day Portugal and its overseas colonial areas thus emerge as a kind of laboratory in which to consider a chronology of forced labour systems and processes of racial hierarchy; an area which is heir to a Mediterranean history which is as African as it is European and Atlantic. Biography António de Almeida Mendes is a historian specialised in slavery and slave trades of early modernity (from 14th to 16th century) and the history of the Atlantic. He is a lecturer at the University of Nantes, founding member of the International Centre for Research into Slavery, member of the Research Centre on International History and Atlantic and, from 2013 to 2016, member of the National Committee for the Remembrance and History of Slavery. He is co-director of the STARACO program at the University of Nantes (STAtus, RAce and COlours in the Atlantic) which is intended to initiate a thought process on the construction of hierarchies and statuses inherited from slavery in Iberian worlds, as well as the PRALT program (the PRactice of ALTerity from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic, 15th-20th century) at the Casa de Velázquez (Madrid). He is in the process of finishing two books, Une histoire de la race dans l’Atlantique ibérique (A history of race in the Iberian Atlantic) and Relier et ordonner un monde de races. Histoires méditerranéennes et atlantiques des traites et des esclavages en péninsule Ibérique : XIVe-XVIe siècles (Linking and ordering a world of races: Mediterranean and Atlantic histories of slave trades and slavery in the Iberian peninsula: 14th-16th centuries).
Conference #187 IEAoLu by Isabelle Stengers, May, 15th, 76mn
Vidéo | Lectures
The program of IEAoLU Tuesday conferences will end with Isabelle Stengers who will be our guest in May to discuss questions raisedin the book “Another Science is possible. A manifesto for Slow science“. "The notion that another kind of science is possible should be heard as a plea, not as a statement based on scientific knowledge. It is a plea which, as this talk will try to demonstrate, calls on our thinking and imagination at a time when all the reasons to trust in the future are in a state of crisis. For researchers, the normal attitude today is to try to defend research from all that corrupts it, from all that threatens the advancement of knowledge which justifies their activities. But is it not this very idea of advancement that we must dare to present as a problem, collectively, that is to say politically, in order to pass down to our children and our children’s children the knowledge necessary to help them live in the ruins we have created?" Isabelle Stengers. Isabelle Stengers is professor at Brussels University. Her research interests initially focused on the problem of physics faced with the challenges of time and irreversibility, (with I. Prigogine La nouvelle alliance, and Entre le temps et l’éternité), then on the question of the sciences (L’invention des sciences modernes, and Histoire de la chimie, written with B.Bensaude-Vincent). She is currently developing a constructivist and speculative perspective not only in terms of scientific questions (Cosmopolitiques, L’hypnose en magie et science, La Vierge et le neutrino, Une autre science est possible !) but also philosophical (Penser avec Whitehead) and political issues (La sorcellerie capitaliste, written with Philippe Pignarre, Au Temps des Catastrophes, and, with Vinciane Despret, Les faiseuses d’histoires. Que font les femmes à la pensée ?). Her latest book, Civiliser la modernité ?Whitehead et les ruminations du sens commun, attempts, with the help of Whitehead and Donna Haraway, to discover what is necessary to live and think in a world which has become intrinsicallyproblematic.
Interview #130 Elena Gerasimova
Vidéo | Interviews
Research project: Workplace Democracy: The current concept and perspectives for the future The research project of Elena Gerasimova focuses on the concepts of interactions between workers, employers, and government in various countries; the background and development of the concept of workplace democracy in intellectual history, today’s difficulties and challenges of its implementation and perspectives for the future. Elena Gerasimova will explore particular institutes of social partnership and workers’ participation in the business management of Russia. She will also examine the fundamental challenges to be surmounted by systems of interaction between workers, employers, and government during that period and how they are addressed by the operation of various mechanisms, how the parties handle discussion and decision-making; whether these challenges lead to changes in legislation and, if so, how those changes are applied. By investigating and analysing these topics, Elena Gerasimova hopes to elucidate the legislative treatment of regulatory standards of social and labour relations for various national legal systems, the practices used to enforce those norms, and their effectiveness. She intends to conduct a comparative analysis setting her findings against the Russian regulatory system and its practices in order to suggest some solutions that will be beneficial and effective for Russia in the future. Biography Elena Gerasimova, PhD, is Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Labour Law and Social Security Law of the Faculty of Law at the National Research University “Higher School of Economics” (Moscow, Russia). She is also Director of the Centre for Social and Labour Rights, a non-governmental organisation, working to promote labour and employment rights. For over twenty years she has been working with trade union movements in Russia and CIS countries, promoting labour and employment rights in Russia. She has acted as a consultant for national and international trade unions and deals especially with labour standards, fundamental principles and rights at work. Elena Gerasimova is co-founder and Chairman of the Council of the Professional Association “Lawyers for Labour Rights”. She is a member of expert councils of the State Duma, Ministry of Labour, Ombudsmen of Russia and serves as an expert for a number of other Russian governmental bodies. Her current research interests include freedom of association, right to strike, social partnership, human rights at work, international labour standards, protection against discrimination, equality at work, etc. She is the author of over 50 articles and publications in Russian and English.
Interview #127 Deresse Ayenachew Woldetsadik
Vidéo | Interviews
Research project: A Medieval History of Ethiopia (13th -16th c.): space and power (in Amharic language) Ethiopia, located in East Africa, has one of the oldest civilisations in Africa. The Aksumite civilisation (c.1st -640AD) marks the beginning of Ethiopian civilisation. But its collapse left Ethiopia in dynastic chaos until the foundation of the so-called "Solomonic" dynasty in 1270. It inherited the Aksumite legacies of Christianity and writing. The Ethiopian medieval kings (1270-1529) extended the territories, developed strong systems of administration, and produced unprecedented literatures that favoured historical writings. Ethiopian medieval historical sources are rarely translated into the vernacular Amharic language of Ethiopia from Geez (ancient Ethiopian language), Arabic or Portuguese. However, most Ethiopian medieval historical sources are translated into one of the European languages (French, Italian, German or English). As a result, major historical studies are inaccessible to Ethiopians. Popular writers have reconstructed Ethiopian medieval history from sources without critical studies that unbalance the country’s historical interpretations. Recent historical writings (1960) are mainly concerned with contemporary history. They are written in English, and are thus inaccessible to the general public. Therefore, this study intends to realise a medieval history book on Ethiopia in Amharic to reach the general Ethiopian public to advance the country’s historical awareness.
Interview #133 Gerardo Serra
Vidéo | Interviews
Research project: Economics, Statistics and Political Imagination in Ghana and Nigeria, 1948-1991 The project analyses the role played by economics and statistics in shaping the political trajectory of Ghana and Nigeria. The project is composed of two interrelated strands. The first explores the role of economics and statistics in the transformation of Ghana from colonial dependency to socialist state from 1948 to 1966. The second analyses the controversial history and politics of population counting in postcolonial Nigeria. This will be done through a series of historical ethnographies of the censuses undertaken between 1962 and 1991, and using them as entry point to document the concrete strategies employed by state and non-state actors to shape the construction of population figures, and reflect on the changing nature of the Nigerian state and its relationship with its citizens. Drawing on insights and approaches from the history and sociology of science, political economy and intellectual history, the project is based on a wide range of archival materials collected in Britain, Ghana, United States and (in the future) Nigeria. The project primarily aims at providing a historical reconstruction and a theoretical reconceptualization of the ‘political’ role played by the social sciences in the making of West African intellectual and economic history. Biography Gerardo Serra is a Lecturer in Economic History at the University of Sussex. Following a degree in Economics and Management for the Arts, Culture and Communication from Bocconi University in Milan, he completed a Master of Science and a PhD in Economic History in London. His PhD thesis From Scattered Data to Ideological Education: Economics, Statistics and the State in Ghana, 1948-1966 has been awarded the 2016 Joseph Dorfman Prize for the best dissertation in the history of economics. Gerardo’s research interests include the history and sociology of economics and statistics, the economic and political history of colonial and postcolonial West Africa, and the intellectual history of dictatorships. During his fellowship at Nantes, Gerardo will work on his first monograph based on his PhD, and start a new research project.
Interview #132 Michael Provence
Vidéo | Interviews
Research project: Architects of Empire: The League of Nations and the new Middle East of 1920 The structures of governance in the post-colonial countries of the global south are often poorly understood. The book investigates the circular interactions between Arab intellectuals corresponding with the League of Nations mandates commission and the French government. For the two-decade period of the mandates (1920-1939), the two representatives of France and the League’s mandates commission remained the same: Robert de Caix and William Rappard respectively. The main Arab petitioner, Shakib Arslan, also remained active during the entire period. The book seeks to understand the formative institutions of the post-colonial Arab states by excavating the relationship and interactions of protesters, colonial officials, and new international institutions. Biography Michael Provence is Professor in the Department of History at the University of California, San Diego. In 2010-2011 and summer 2014 he was an Alexander von Humboldt senior research fellow at the Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin. He earned a PhD in Modern Middle Eastern History from the University of Chicago under the direction of Rashid Khalidi in 2001. He has written two books, The Great Syrian Revolt and The Last Ottoman Generation and the Making of the Modern Middle East, out in spring 2017, and many articles on the late Ottoman and colonial Middle East of the early 20th century.