The institute
Mission and Scientific Policy

Mission and Scientific Policy

Mission and Scientific Policy

Since 2021, a new collegial management team is in charge of the Institute.

The Institute is pleased to present to you its new scientific project, which takes into account the upheavals that have been taking place in the world of research and in society as a whole in the recent years.

In keeping with the principles that have made it a success, we intend to expand our network of partners and strengthen their trust. We will simplify and clarify the statutes of our various stakeholders. We commit to welcoming a larger proportion of junior researchers and to structuring their supervision. We will develop our research areas and themes, and broaden the dissemination of our activities to different audiences. Finally, we will enhance our tangible heritage such as our building, and favour our intangible heritage, which is our exceptional worldwide community of alumni who share a common scientific training experience.

While reaffirming the IAS-Nantes historical focus on the dogmatic framework of societies, the scientific project takes on a new approach to take into consideration the challenges of our time which are the relationship between humans and their environment as expressed in the notion of "ecumene" (developed by Augustin Berque), and our new chosen theme of reflection: "freedom of thought". 

The institute will infuse its various activities with both the method and the research themes that form the basis of this intellectual project: in composing each fellows’ cohort, while organising one-off workshops and multi-year seminars to build epistemic communities, and by planning events aimed at the scientific community, at private partners, and at a wider public.

Conversation as a condition for the pollination of knowledge

In strict accordance with the international tradition of the best IAS around the world, the Institute implements the following principles:

  • Inviting each year rigorously selected researchers on the basis of individual criteria of excellence and originality,
  • Giving the Fellows complete freedom to conduct their work,
  • Composing a coherent, diversified and stimulating group to challenge their frames of reference,
  • Providing the Fellows with a comprehensive and high quality set of logistical, administrative and scientific support services,
  • Sharing a stimulating material framework for work, dialogue and conversation.

Making the North-South dialogue a structuring element 

The singular distinctive mark of the IAS-Nantes is to favour the dialogue between the so-called "North" and "South" countries, and to address transversal questions present in all the regions of the world, in all cultures and in knowledge altogether.

Placing interactions with artists at the heart of the quest for knowledge and of research communication

Since its inception, the Institute has sought to bring together different modes of apprehension of reality in its research work. This is why it has always welcomed artists from different disciplines in residence, with whom it has established a fruitful dialogue.

Supervising emerging research

The IAS-Nantes has always welcomed young researchers with excellent research projects and without institutional ties. To do so, we organise doctoral schools and colloquia regularly. In the coming years, the IAS-Nantes will strengthen this axis by giving a stable and systematic structure to this program.

Dogmatic framework of societies

The dogmatic framework of societies is a major concept in Pierre Legendre’s critical philosophy, and one of the guiding ideas of the IAS-Nantes scientific project. 

The research at work through exchange and dialogue in the Institute aims to consider these dogmatic systems, not as remnants of irrationality in a manageable and predictable world, but as indispensable supports for the institution of reason in a world that remains diverse, uncertain and unpredictable. 

Mesology and ecumene

True to its scientific mission, the IAS-Nantes is a fertile ground for the emergence of new lanes of research and reflection. The concerns that weigh on the human future weigh on us all. However, we must remember to place them within the complex relationships that humans have with each other. The IAS-Nantes follows the thinking of Augustin Berque on the subject of ‘milieu’ and ‘ecumene’ to account for these relationships, and understand how we weave them, feed them, modify them; and eventually how they evolve and construct our culture and our history.

Freedom of thought

Nowadays, various categories of attacks undermine academic freedom, freedom of research, critical thinking and freedom of debate. A first category of attacks aims at science and scientists in non-democratic countries but more and more often, in Western democracies as well. In a less direct way, the governance by numbers imposed on research has undermined the status of researchers and their research conditions of production. Finally, the countries of the South have inherited Western institutions of higher education, study and research, and Western interpretative frameworks that do not give an adequate understanding of many cultural and social realities. Similarly, in Northern countries, research struggles to acknowledge and co-opt new concepts or categories from other cultures.

It is around these major axes that the IAS-Nantes will organise and develop its work for the next few years.