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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.
Interview #131 Gerd Spittler
Vidéo | Interviews
Research project 1: Material culture of Kel Ewey Tuaregs A Kel Ewey Tuareg owns 120 objects. What does this mean: poverty and drudgery or simple life and happiness? The aim is to write a book on the material culture of the Kel Ewey whilst at the IAS-Nantes. Research project 2: A French translation of Anthropologie der Arbeit. Ein ethnographischer Vergleich (Springer, 2016) Based on ethnographic case studies, this book aims at describing basic elements of work. Work should not be considered identical to industrial and post-industrial labour. It includes the work of hunters and gatherers, peasants and herders, as well as the work of housewives and children. In comparing all these forms of work with capitalistic labour, we should not characterise them as deficient or as dichotomies but as variants of work which can help us to understand better our own work forms. Biography Gerd Spittler was Professor of sociology in Fribourg (1980-88) before becoming Professor of anthropology in Bayreuth (1988-2004) where he founded and directed a doctoral school (Intercultural relations in Africa) and a centre for collaborative research, “Local action in Africa in the context of global influences”. Since 2014, he has been associate professor in the department of sociology and anthropology at Abdou Moumouni University in Niamey. He was a fellow at Wissenschaftskolleg and Wissenschaftszentrum in Berlin, at the international centre “Work and Human Life Cycle in Global History” (Humboldt University Berlin) and visiting professor under the Paul-Lazarsfeld program at the University of Vienna.
Interview #128 Daniela Patrizia Taormina
Vidéo | Interviews
Research project: What Is a Living Being? What Is Man? The relationship between body and soul in Plotinus’philosophy The project aims to investigate the problem of the relationship between body and soul by focusing on two main topics. The first topic concerns the constitution of living beings and involves the following question: do all living beings (plants, animals and humans) initially share the same life but then come to differ on account of the presence or lack of higher faculties, or is each living being distinguished by a specific aspect right from the start? The second topic concerns the cognitive processes governing the relationship between body and soul, namely sense perception and memory. The research will be conducted within the framework of Neo-platonism and in particular in the light of Plotinus’ philosophy (Treatise 41 (Enn. IV 6) On Sense-Perception and Memory and Treatise 53 (Enn. I 1) What is the Living Being?). Biography Daniela Patrizia Taormina is Professor of History of Philosophy of Late Antiquity, at the University of Rome “Tor Vergata”. Her research activity deals primarily with the philosophy of Late Antiquity, from Middle-Platonism to the Platonic philosophers of the 4th century A.D. and focused in particular on the domains of psychology and post-Plotinian ontology. In relation to psychology, she deepened the problems of the definition of the soul and of its cognitive functions. In relation to Ontology, she focused on the problem of the Neoplatonic overcoming of classical Ontology (Platonic and Aristotelian). Visiting professor at the University of Paris I, Panthéon-Sorbonne, at the Institut für Altertumswissenschaften - Fiedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, at l’École pratique des hautes études – Paris, and Visiting scholar at the University of Bonn, she is also a research associate of the CRSHC (Conseil de Recherches en Sciences Humaines du Canada): « Les écrits de Plotin ».
Interview #129 Philippe Geinoz
Vidéo | Interviews
Research project: Americanisation and “decadence”. American presence and poetic explorations in French literature in the 1870s and 1880s This proposal began with the observation that over a period lasting barely 20 years (1870 until the late 1880s) the United States had a persistent presence in French texts which, although diverse, had one thing in common: their references to America combined with poetic explorations. The period of study is therefore the beginning of France’s Third Republic, and the research subject is this (implicit) connection between a literary inquiry and an evaluation – albeit allusive – of a societal model which could be studied from a distance and in advance through the lens of the United States. The proposed study will begin by charting this American presence (representations of the United States as well as the actual presence of American writers) in French novels and poems from this period. It will then show how this presence reveals concerns for the future of French society, before concluding with an analysis of the detail in the texts and the way in which these concerns are expressed, not only in terms of explicit content but also, and above all, in terms of the aesthetic novelty that the texts offered to the reader as a resource. Biography Philippe Geinoz is a Lecturer in 19th and 20th-century French literature at the University of Geneva and the University of Fribourg (Switzerland). Having initially studied architecture, he went on to obtain a Master’s degree in French literature and art history and a doctorate in Geneva. His thesis was the basis for a 2014 publication entitled Relations au travail : dialogue entre poésie et peinture à l’époque du cubisme. Beyond its contribution to research into the relationship between text and image, this multiple award-winning book initiated broader historical reflections, in terms of function, on experimentation with form and one of the major concerns of modernity: the place of the individual and the very possibility of individuality in an egalitarian society. It is this process of reflection that Philippe Geinoz builds on in his articles on the work of Goncourt, Huysmans, Laforgue, Romains, Apollinaire, Reverdy and Leiris, in his forthcoming book on the writings of Swiss novelist Catherine Colomb, and in his “Inquiétudes américaines” project, which included research trips to Paris (Paris IV-Sorbonne) and New York (CUNY), with funding from the SNSF (Swiss National Science Foundation).
Interview #125 Umamaheshwari Rajamani
Vidéo | Interviews
Research project: For a Theory on Ecological and Cultural Imaginary: River, nature, community histories and the politics of marginalisation The geographical-cultural backdrops of this research are the Indian states of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu in the south and Himachal Pradesh and Kumaun-Garhwal in the north. The project considers cultural and ecological imaginary as social and political constructs, informing ideas of nature, history and memory. This is done through engagement with different contexts, given below. Ecological imaginary - For the Kondareddi, Koya and other tribal communities living by the river Godavari (in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and bordering Chhattisgarh), the Tamarind, Mango, Ippa (Basia latifolia) trees inhere sacredness and festivals are dedicated to their worship annually. The forests are also home to small patches of podu (shifting cultivation) that supplement income and food. The agrarian, for them, is also the forest. With the Madras Forest Act of 1883, and subsequent state intervention, even post-Independence, in the Godavari districts, Wildlife Sanctuary, National Park, etc. gave a different — ‘governancing’— meaning to these spaces. For the fishing communities on the river Godavari, its flows are intrinsic to their own histories and identities. Fishing zones are culturally and inter-generationally fixed. With colonial and post-colonial state intervention, rivers are seen as a commodity and of utilitarian value alone; hence ‘flow’ and ‘fluid’ notions of spaces are not acknowledged. Cultural Imaginary - Certain communities persevere with their acts of remembrance and memory as intrinsic to their community identity. The identity of several minoritised or marginalised communities (in terms of caste groups or indigenous/tribal/adivasi/officially designated minorities) seems to be bound inseparably to ‘not forgetting’ (not simply remembering) or ‘remembering not to forget’ what they have been through in the past, what they are going through at present and here the dominant, hegemonic should be seen as the one that constructs over time these marginal identities. In this context is located one example, of the Tamil Jaina community of Tamil Nadu.
Conference #186 IEAoLu by Bénédicte Savoy, April 10th, 72mn
Vidéo | Lectures
Conference #185 by Etienne François and John Tolan, Tuesday March, 27, 73mn
Vidéo | Lectures
Depuis dix ans, la question de l’identité est au cœur du débat intellectuel français. L’idéal européen de l’après-guerre est à bout de souffle (montée des populismes, Brexit, etc.). Échappant à la vision d’une Europe réduite aux institutions de Bruxelles pour s’inscrire dans la longue durée, Europa raconte vingt-cinq siècles d’histoire : la nôtre. Sous la plume de 109 historiens et intellectuels du monde entier. Pas celle de l’Union, mais l’Europe pluriséculaire : à travers ses mémoires brûlantes du xxe siècle, mais aussi celle d’Homère, d’Athènes, de Rome et de Jérusalem, celle de la Raison et des Lumières, des révolutions et de la colonisation, de Léonard et de Napoléon, de la terre et des paysans, de la lutte des classes et de la grève, de l’État providence et du capitalisme, du vin et de la bière. Raconter l’Europe à travers son imaginaire, ses utopies, ses démons, ses trous noirs, tout ce qui, dans le passé, irrigue le présent et constitue la mémoire : l’histoire telle qu’elle a été vécue par les peuples. L’ampleur du propos, la somme d’intelligences mobilisées font de ce livre un événement intellectuel. En dépassant le cadre de notre seul pays pour se placer à l’échelle de toute l’Europe, ce livre répond aux questions que chacun se pose : qui sommes-nous ? D’où venons-nous ? Où allons-nous ?
Video presentation of Nantes IAS
Vidéo | Other