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Conference #189 - Summer university - Session one
Vidéo | Lectures
En partenariat avec l’université de Nantes et la Casa de Velazquez se déroulera au Château du 25 au 28 juin et interrogera l’usage qui a été fait à travers le temps, en fonction des lieux et des contextes, du mot "esclavage" autour des spécialistes des mondes africain, américain et européen en résidence à l’IEA de Nantes.
Interview#145 Souleymane Bachir Diagne
Vidéo | Interviews
Research Project : Scenes of translation The aim is to demonstrate that translation is the creation of reciprocity, including in situations of asymmetry and domination as in the colonial context. Admittedly, more often than not translation shows a profoundly unequal relationship between languages, but it must also be recognized that the best response to linguistic domination, to the division into imperial languages and subaltern or dominated languages, is still translation. We shall therefore focus our study on the role of the “interpreters of the colonial administration”, these intermediaries who often also became translators of cultures and oral literature in the imperial language, thus demonstrating the value of knowing how to think and create from language to language. The transformation of the status of interpreter, from simple spokesperson to the position of translator, is an important development which will be the subject of consideration. The second scene of translation will be the religious arena in which languages are classified into sacred languages and secular languages. The aim here will be to discuss certain questions (theological, philosophical and political) raised by the act of translating, horizontally as it were, from a language declared sacred into other human languages, and the divine word which has itself already been translated, vertically, into human words. The third scene of translation will concern the so-called “Timbuktu Studies” which, in West Africa, refer to a tradition of written scholarship which calls into question the essentialist and reductionist definition of African cultures based in orality. It also highlights the importance of Muslim clerics who were known as “the non-europhone intellectuals”. The study of the tradition of study that has been established in intellectual centres the most famous of which is Timbuktu, will also address the question of the philosophical future of African languages through translation. Both fellows and visiting scholars will share their reflections on this project and its various themes, which may result in the publication of a collective volume on the Scenes of translation described here Biography Souleymane Bachir Diagne is an alumnus of the École Normale Supérieure, he holds an “aggregation” in Philosophy (1978) and he took his Doctorat d’État in philosophy at the Sorbonne (1988). Before joining Columbia University in 2008 he taught philosophy for many years at Cheikh Anta Diop University, Dakar (Senegal) and at Northwestern University in Chicago. His field of research includes history of logic, history of philosophy, Islamic philosophy, as well as questions of African philosophy and literature. His book Bergson postcolonial. L’élan vital dans la pensée de Senghor et de Mohamed Iqbal, was awarded the Dagnan-Bouveret prize by the French Academy of Moral and Political Sciences for 2011 and that same year he received the Edouard Glissant Prize for his work. Souleymane Bachir Diagne’s most recent publications are L’encre des savants. Réflexions sur la philosophie en Afrique; Comment Philosopher en islam; Philosopher en islam et en christianisme (avec Philippe Cappelle-Dumont).
Scholarly activities 2017-2018
Document | Publications
This publication shows the highlights of the year 2015-2016. This volume presents reflections and exchanges that have arisen within this small community of scholars but also reports the encounters and collaborations that germinated and developed during the year with all the partners of the institute .
Interview #144 Suleiman Mourad
Vidéo | Interviews
Research Project: Violence and Nonviolence in Islamic Foundational Texts and Practice The modern discussion of whether Islam promotes or prohibits violence is steeped in political and religious controversy, and has been shaping the public discussion of Islam in all its aspects. There is no point denying that Muslims who commit acts of religious/political violence find legitimacy and empowerment in a wide array of religious and historical texts and in the historical Muslim practice. There is also a tradition, which has existed throughout Islamic history, of nonviolence displayed in a rich legacy of religious and ideological diversity and tolerance among Muslims and between Muslims and non-Muslims. The two traditions have been seen as opposites and as reflecting different worldviews. I argue that we must avoid this binary compartmentalization of the issue: Islam is violent or Islam is nonviolent, this form of Islam is nonviolent and that form of Islam is violent, etc. Instead, my research project will focus on examining violence and nonviolence in Islam as reflective of unresolved struggle in the foundational texts (e.g., the Qurʾan, the Hadith of Muhammad, etc.) and the historical tradition and practice. The objective is to understand the nature and rationale of this struggle, and the way it has impacted Muslims’ practice of violence and nonviolence. Previous research project ( Fellowship 2012-2013) : "Radicalization of Jihad Ideology in Crusader Syria: Religious Fanaticism or Political Manipulation?" This research project examines a number of works on jihad produced in Syria during the Crusader period, and which have not been used in modern scholarship on the Muslim response to the Crusades or jihad in Islam. The project has four aspects: First, Suleiman Mourad will survey these works, analyze their introductions and the broad topics they cover, and determine the jihad vision they promote. Second, he will examine the involvement of rulers in the commissioning and promotion of these works. Third, he will study the scholars who produced them, determine what influenced them and how their jihad works influenced later scholars. And fourth, he will investigate the maneuvering of Muslim rulers who pursued diplomatic overtures with local Crusader and European leaders yet actively sponsored scholars to produce and disseminate militant visions of jihad against Crusaders and fellow Muslims.
Interview #143 Esha Shah
Vidéo | Interviews
Research project: The Self and the Political: History of social movement against large dams In the last three decades, the social movement against the large dam on river Narmada in India has powerfully challenged the notion of development adopted since independence. This movement is arguably one of the most important dissenting political and social thoughts in recent Indian history. This proposal makes a case for writing a history of the social movement through subjective lens of the pioneering feminist scholar-activists. This inquiry on history of the social movement will foreground the making of the “agentic subjective selves” of these citizen activists who provided the force, thinking, and motivation for the movement leading to the significant shifts in the policy on large dams not just in India but also internationally. This research inquiry will be a genealogical analysis —a critical history of the present. It will be a reflexive interpretation of processes, events and ideas leading to the dissenting practices, and it will shed light on how the contemporary practices and institutions of the social movement emerged out of struggles, conflicts, alliances, and contradictions involving both intrapsychic and intersubjective agentic selves. Biography Esha Shah is an engineer by training and anthropologist and historian of science and technology by professional choice and self-learning. Since her doctorate from the Wageningen University in the Netherlands, she has worked on history and anthropology of technology in India on the divide of modernity and democracy. More recently, she has been developing her research interests on the way human subjectivity relates to modes of rationality, including objectivity in science. She has held research and teaching positions at the Institute of Social and Economic Change (ISEC) in Bangalore, Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at University of Sussex, UK, and Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences of Maastricht University, the Netherlands. Between 2013 and 2015 she was a fellow at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study in Shimla where she worked on a monograph that re-interprets the history of reductionism in genetic science over the twentieth-century as seen through the subjective lenses of life-histories of the pioneering scientists. In January 2017 she joined the department of Environmental Sciences at the Wageningen University in the Netherlands in the position of Assistant Professor.
Interview #141 Marija Bartl
Vidéo | Interviews
Research project: Making Markets Beyond The State: The politics of law and knowledge This project aims to shed light on one central paradox in the process of the transnationalisation of markets. In liberal democracies, markets are political ’all the way down’. Beyond the state, however, we see largely de-politicised transnational markets, limited in terms of who has political subjectivity (who are the stakeholders), who governs (the role of experts) but also in the range of ways in which those markets can be regulated (e.g. lacking (re)distribution). How can we explain the impending integration of depoliticised transnational markets - a project that would be largely imaginable within nation state boundaries?’ Drawing on recent attempts at creating Transatlantic markets with Canada and the US, Marija Bartl will analyse how the coproduction of law and knowledge serves to legitimise and naturalise depoliticised transnational markets. Biography Marija Bartl is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, Amsterdam, and a senior researcher at the project ’The Architecture of Post-National Rulemaking’. She wrote her PhD thesis at the European University Institute in Florence. Marija Bartl’s current research focuses on the relationship between democracy, expertise and market integration. Recently, she was awarded a personal research grant VENI for a project ’Bringing Democracy to Markets: TIIP and the Politics of Knowledge in Postnational Governance’. In this project she explores the interrelation between democracy, knowledge production and market-making on the background of the transatlantic trade negotiations.
Interview #134 Sofian Merabet
Vidéo | Interviews
Research project: Beyond the boundaries of pleasure and violence: A new social history of sexuality in Beirut This interdisciplinary project focuses on the former Hotel Carlton in Beirut, which had been a central locus of pleasure and violence in Lebanon’s capital over a fifty year period. Methodologically, the project draws on anthropology, history, and literature. The project is a partly fictionalized biography of the Carlton that is based on the examination of administrative and personal records as well as on ethnographic interviews. This approach allows for an assessment of the hotel from an intimate vantage point intended to provide a new social history of sexuality in Lebanon that pays close attention to the social, political, and religious constituents of the country’s capital city. Biography Sofian Merabet is a socio-cultural anthropologist whose expertise lies in the modern Middle East (with a particular focus on Lebanon and Syria) and the wider Muslim world, including Muslim immigrant communities in Europe and the Arab Diaspora in South America (especially Argentina). His interdisciplinary research analyses the human geography of queer identity formations and the social production of queer space as constitutive features of wider class, religious, and gender relations. His professional interests draw on comparative methodologies and approaches ranging from religious and cultural history to the politics of sexuality. With a PhD in anthropology from Columbia University in New York, Sofian Merabet has taught at the American University of Beirut, the University of Louisville, and New York University. Since 2009, he has been on the faculty of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Texas in Austin.
Interview #142 Griselda Gaiada
Vidéo | Interviews
Research project: Leibniz and the “Philosophical Problem of War” This research will focus on two principal lines of war philosophy, i.e. Just War Theory and Source-War Theory. Contrary to the theory that war sets the law (war-source), its goal is to re-engage the modern Just War Theory, particularly some conceptual tools which arise from Leibniz’s thought, with some contemporary issues concerning war. Within this framework, three types of war will be considered: war between nation states, humanitarian intervention and terrorism. The power of Leibniz’s thought is particularly useful: firstly, his distinction between three degrees of natural law (especially strict law and fairness) makes it possible to find criteria in order to justify or condemn some wars; secondly, his reflection on deontic modalities may substantially contribute to defining a formal schema in order to classify the conflicts: justifiable, justified, unjustified and non-compulsory wars. Biography Griselda Gaiada is Doctor in Philosophy from the National University of La Plata (UNLP), Argentina. She works as Ayudante Diplomado Ordinario of Epistemology in the Faculty of Psychology of the UNLP. She is associated researcher in the Centre d’Histoire des Systèmes de Pensée Moderne (Paris 1 University) and in the Philosophy Research Centre in Buenos Aires. Her research areas cover metaphysical, epistemological, juridical and moral subjects of modern and contemporary philosophy, with a particular focus on Leibniz’s thought. In addition to several articles, reviews and translations, she has recently published the book Deo volente. El estatus de la voluntad divina en la Teodicea de Leibniz (Comares, 2015). In July 2016, her PhD thesis received the “VGH-Preis für hervorragende Leibniz-dissertationen”, organised by the Leibniz Universität Hannover and the Gottfried-Wilhelm-Leibniz-Gesellschaft.
Interview #140 Céline Badiane-Labrune
Vidéo | Interviews
Project research: West Indian and Guyanese presences in Senegal since the end of the 19th century The French colonisation, cooperation and policies of the black diaspora by the independent African states have created opportunities for encounters in Africa and specific links between Caribbeans and Africans in the colonial and post-colonial periods. This research project aims to reconstruct trajectories, restore the diversity of experiences of Caribbeans in Senegal, and thus show the complexity of their relationship with Africa and historicise it. It is a question of analysing their representations of Africa, their motivations, the institutional and political frameworks for their long-term mobility, lifestyles, cultural practices, perceptions by the Senegalese, the impact of their experiences on how they defined themselves, given the weight of the representations on them and the identities assigned to them. The objective is to analyse constructions, dynamics and identity strategies in post-slavery, colonial and post-colonial contexts, the way in which identities are made and recomposed, as well as the political and social uses in the francophone Black Atlantic. Biography Céline Labrune-Badiane earned her PhD in History (which won the Louis Cros Prize) at the University of Paris VII in 2008, and taught Contemporary History at the University of the French West Indies from 2009 to 2011. She subsequently taught in secondary schools. Her research has focused on the history of the school in French West Africa and on highlighting the combination of political, economic and social dynamics underlying the institution of the school since its establishment in the colonial period until today. She has also written a book with Etienne Smith on the cultural productions of African teachers in French West Africa (scholastic, scientific, literary, artistic and intellectual) and their diffusion within the colonial public space. Currently, she is working on identity processes in the Black Atlantic. In a socio-historical perspective, Céline Labrune-Badiane is primarily interested in the actors, their individual trajectories and their capacity to free themselves from imposed statutes, conditions and identities. Her research contributes to reflections in contemporary African history, in a comparative and connected perspective, through the circulation of models, actors and ideas within the colonial, imperial and post-colonial spaces.
Interview #137 Jocelyn Olcott
Vidéo | Interviews
Research project: The Revolution’s Revolutionary: Concha Michel and Mexico’s politics of motherhood The Mexican folksinger and erstwhile Communist Concha Michel offers an ideal subject for what scholars have dubbed “new biography,” which explores both the interplay between structures and cultures and how individuals developed as fragmented subjects, often seeking to impose narrative coherence on their own lives. Michel, like many subjects of new biography, was an exceptional figure whose life story illuminates the worlds of actors less likely (either by temperament or by status) to make their way into the archives. Her life story, which spans from the last decade of the nineteenth century to the last decade of the twentieth, provides a vehicle for investigating Mexico’s widespread ambivalence about the commodification of both subsistence labour and popular culture that came with its modernisation efforts. We can observe the ways that shifts in prevailing political-economic thought — from late-nineteenth century liberalism to post-revolutionary populist nationalism to mid-century modernisation to post-1968 Marxist dependency theory and back to late-twentieth-century neoliberalism — rested upon assumptions about the unpaid and undervalued labours of social and cultural reproduction. In the Mexican context, these debates inevitably became imbricate with understandings of indigeneity and mestizaje. Michel’s late-life celebrity, particularly among “new-wave” feminists of the 1970s and ‘80s, allows for an investigation into the appeal of maternalist feminism, not as a more traditional variant of its liberal and radical counterparts but rather as a far-reaching refusal of neoliberalism that poses a more thoroughgoing critique than, for example, those based in Marxist thought. Michel’s life story, although riddled with contradictions and inconsistencies as any life is, provides a narrative vehicle to explore these questions on a human scale. Biography Jocelyn Olcott, Associate Professor of History and Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies at Duke University, is the author of Revolutionary Women in Post-revolutionary Mexico and International Women’s Year: The Greatest Consciousness-Raising Event in History and co-editor with Mary Kay Vaughan and Gabriela Cano of Sex in Revolution: Gender, Politics, and Power in Modern Mexico. She has returned to a long-standing project, a biography of the Mexican folksinger and activist Concha Michel. She has published articles in the Journal of Women’s History, the Hispanic American Historical Review, Gender & History, and International Labor and Working-Class History as well as numerous chapters in edited collections. She also served as a senior editor of the Hispanic American Historical Review (2012-17) as well as on the editorial boards of several other journals. She holds an AB from Princeton University and an MA and PhD from Yale University.