Colloque en anglais « Savoirs et savoir-faire en situation : les sciences humaines et sociales et le monde » – Campus Condorcet

“Knowledge and Know-How Situated:
Humanities and Social Sciences and the World”

November 8-9-10, 2022
Auditorium 150, Centre de colloques, Campus Condorcet, Aubervilliers

International and interdisciplinary conference organized by EHESS
in partnership with the other ten member institutions of Campus Condorcet
and the additional assistance of GIS Asie, GIS Moyen-Orient et Mondes musulmans, UMR 7308 – CREDO, UMR 7227 – CREDA, UMR 8032 – CETOBAC, UMR 8036 –CESPRA, UMR 8083 – CERCEC, UMR 8131 – Centre Georg Simmel, UMR 8155-CRCAO, UMR 8156 – IRIS, UMR 8168-Mondes Américains, Centre d’études nord-américaines, UMR 8171 – IMAF, UMR 8170 – CASE, UMR 8173 – Chine-Corée-Japon, UMR 8558 – CRH, UMR 8560 – CAK, UMR 8566 – CRAL, UMR 8563-CRLAO, UMR 8564 – CEIAS, UAR 2500 – IISMM.

Located just north of Paris in Aubervilliers, the Campus Condorcet is a new hub for social sciences and the humanities. Organized around a major library, it brings together eleven institutions of higher education and research with about 100 of their research units. It is also unique for gathering researchers working on the whole world from a wide array of epistemological and disciplinary perspectives. Area and global studies are among the research fields best suited to strengthening existing collaborations within the Campus and fostering renewed international exchange with colleagues from all continents and disciplines.

In our view, area studies should not just refer to research on non-European societies. We consider Europe as a “cultural area” in its own right, or at least as a historically constructed region. We also believe that the issue of how the world –both in its unity and diversity– should be investigated cannot be the exclusive domain of research of those colleagues who identify themselves with the field of area studies, but also regards scholars who exclusively define their work in terms of one or more disciplines. Research is always doubly situated: on the one hand, in the contexts where it is produced, the academic circles where it circulates and the socio-political arenas where it conveys meaning; on the other hand, it is also situated in relation to the empirical objects studied and the investigations conducted, although they might not fall within the scope of the so-called area studies approach (i.e. grounded in thick contextualization).

Replacing or combining with other paradigms presiding over the holistic scientific understanding of the world (universal histories, orientalism or colonial ethnology), area studies emerged after the Second World War, albeit at different times in North America, Europe, and the rest of the world. Over the last three decades, this field has undergone major transformations following the rise of global studies in the wake of the globalization of economic and financial markets as well as the postcolonial critique, the internationalization of research encouraged by the boom in air traffic and the internet, and the emergence of important new centers of knowledge production in Asia, Latin America, and Africa. All these developments have challenged the very foundations of area studies. These challenges remain and have been accentuated by new, urgent ones. The Covid pandemic, as well as conflicts and wars in Ethiopia, Mali, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen –unfortunately, a far from exhaustive list– have undermined the possibility of conducting fieldwork and accessing archives. These crises have underlined the precarious nature of some area-based fields of specialization. Hence, it is a pressing and crucial matter to reconsider the issues at stake in and the conceptual foundations of area studies.

Instead of ensconcing ourselves in our own epistemological traditions, we propose to reflect on how the various disciplines of the humanities and social sciences –wherever in the world they are produced and to whichever epistemological legacies they belong– study, both independently and collectively, the world as a whole and in its diversity, not just its non-European societies. Beyond the individual researchers’ positioning in relation to their research objects and areas of specialization and the circulation between academic circles, we must also take account of the different disciplinary histories and the divergent ways they have sought to apprehend the world.

By exploring the various ways the humanities and social sciences in different academic settings have approached the world, this conference aims to intervene in the ongoing debates on the parameters and paradigms of area studies and the disciplines alike. While bolstering the scientific construction of Campus Condorcet from below, it intends to contribute to building a plural and multi-situated knowledge of the world.

Steering Committee:
Chloé Andrieu, CNRS, ArchAm, member of the scientific committee of IDA
Caroline Bodolec, CNRS, CCJ/CECMC, scientific adjunct director of InSHS
Capucine Boidin, Université Sorbonne nouvelle Paris 3, IHEAL/CREDA
Grégory Delaplace, EPHE-PSL, GSRL, member of the scientific committee of GIS Asie
Alain Delissen, EHESS, CCJ/CRC
Geetha Ganapathy-Doré, Université Sorbonne Paris-Nord, IDPS
Stéphane Dufoix, Université Paris Nanterre, IUF, SSA, Sophiapol
Géraldine Duthé, INED, DEMOSUD
Eloi Ficquet, EHESS, CESOR
Matthias Hayek, EPHE-PSL, CRCAO
Thomas Maissen, Institut historique allemand, member of the scientific committee of FMSH
Didier Nativel, Université Paris Cité, CESSMA, member of the scientific committee of GIS Afrique
Judith Rainhorn, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, CHS
Antonella Romano, EHESS, CAK
Yves Sintomer, Université Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint-Denis, CRESPPA
Joëlle Vailly, CNRS, IRIS
Édouard Vasseur, ENC-PSL
Cécile Vidal, EHESS, Mondes Américains/CENA
Mercedes Volait, CNRS, InVisu, member of the scientific committee of GIS Moyen-Orient et mondes musulmans

November 8, 2022

10h00 am-11h30 am: Official opening by Pierre-Paul Zalio, EPCC, Marie Gaille, InSHS, Christophe Prochasson, EHESS, and Aurélie Varrel, Unité support études aréales et GIS Asie, and scientific introduction by Alain Delissen, EHESS, CCJ/CRC, Eloi Ficquet, EHESS, CESOR, Antonella Romano, EHESS, CAK, et Cécile Vidal, EHESS, Mondes Américains/CENA.

11h30 am-12h30 am: Keynote lecture

Chair: Eloi Ficquet, EHESS, CESOR

Teresa Cruz e Silva, Universidade Eduardo Mondlane (Maputo, Mozambique): “Sovereignty and Epistemic Freedom in the Production of Knowledge: Interrogating the Social Sciences from Africa.”

12h30 am-02h00 pm: Lunch

02h00 pm-03h45 pm: Delimiting, Naming, Instituting

The notion of “cultural area,” which is at the core of area studies, refers simultaneously to areas of specialization which are also research objects, fields of knowledge, and institutions geared towards education and research. It has been widely criticized for the serious risk of culturalism it fosters. Yet the lack of reflection on the spatial imaginary that the notion of “cultural area” conveys ought also to be taken into consideration. This session, therefore, will analyze the strains caused, on the one hand, by the practical necessity of subdividing knowledge of the world in order to delimit, organize and classify educational and research institutions, and, on the other hand, the failure of the notion of “cultural area” to accurately account for spatial discontinuities and differences. It will also interrogate the relevance of the various meta-geographical ensembles thus constituted –visible in the labeling and internal structuring of laboratories, research programs, departments, journals, library shelves, international conferences, etc. Beyond the institutions’ self-representations, we will pay attention to the linguistic markers that seek to translate the differentiations and connections at work in the supposedly coherent societies gathered under the same umbrella term. These include inverted commas, plural marks, the use of synonyms or foreign languages terminology. Graphic or visual languages (logos, web graphics) may be examined as well.

Chair: Grégory Delaplace, EPHE-PSL, GSRL

Franck Mermier, CNRS, IRIS: “From ‘Arab World’ to ‘Arab Space’: The Tribulations of a ‘Culture Area’ Notion in the Socio-anthropological Field.”

Clémence Léobal, CNRS, LAVUE, Laboratoire Mosaïques: “Doing Social Sciences in French Guiana, a Place out of the Framework of Areas Studies.”

Filippo Ronconi, EHESS, CESOR: “Byzantine Studies between Disciplinary Fields and Cultural Areas.”

Presentation of one graduate student’s poster: Marie Carmagnolle, EFEO-EHESS, CECMC- CCJ: “Cultural Invisible Continuity of Exchange Dynamics, or the Areal Classification Facing Reality: The History of a Tantric Cult between India and China.”

Commentator: Emmanuelle Vagnon, CNRS, LAMOP
Commentator: Jean-Marc Besse, CNRS/EHESS, Géographie-cités

03h45 pm-04h15 pm: Break

04h15 pm-06h00 pm: The Scales of Analysis

The issue of the spatial divisions adopted by the humanities and social sciences is by no means new, even though it has received less attention than that of temporal divisions. However, this spatial dimension has generally been neglected, both because these spatial divisions are ingrained in the traditions of area studies and because the disciplines ignore the spatiality of the phenomena they study. Moreover, scholars still too often use concepts, categories and experiences related to space originating in Western traditions and do not pay enough attention to alternative ways of conceiving of the relationships between societies and their environments. Yet, there now exists a rich and varied reflection on the issue of scales of analysis, from the dual perspective of the construction of research objects and of observable findings. More particularly, this session will consider “Europe” in its multiple historical manifestations as an object of area studies in its own right. It will also explore how scale variations, including the use of the global scale (in its plural conceptions in the humanities and social sciences), could open a new, critical perspective to area-based approaches. Finally, the session will highlight the variety – rooted in the diversity of the world’s regions and languages– of the conceptions and categories of spatialization, as well as the linguistic issues linked to their commensurability.

Chair: Yves Sintomer, Université Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint-Denis, CRESPPA

Kiran Patel, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (Munich): “Fine Scaling Europe: Transnational History and Beyond.”

Sabine Planel, IRD, IMAF: “Scaling up or Generalizing? Empirical and Analytical Values of Scales from Theoretical Reflections and Analyses Grounded in Southern Ethiopia.”

Marie-Sybille de Vienne, INALCO, CASE: “Reconstructing Southeast Asia: Crossing Disciplines and Bridging Gaps or the Blind Men and the Elephant.”

Presentation of two graduate students’ posters:
Seyni Alice Gueye, EHESS, Mondes Américains/CRBC-CAK: “Rethinking the Uses of Scales in 16th-17th Centuries America: The Spaces of Governmental Practices in the Spanish Monarchy.”
Andrea Umberto Gritti, EHESS, CETOBAC – Institut Convergences Migrations: “The Workers’ Perspective: Introducing Scales in the Study of the Ottoman Railways.”

Commentator: Pascale Goetschel, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, CHS
Commentator: Antoine Vauchez, CNRS, CESSP

06h00 pm-06h15 pm: Break

06h15 pm-07h15 pm: Keynote lecture

Chair: Cécile Vidal, EHESS, Mondes Américains/CENA

Luiz Costa Lima, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro: “Mímesis: The Long Way of a Short Life.”

November 9, 2022

09h00 am-10h45 am: Colonial and Imperial Legacies

A collective reflection on the humanities and social sciences in their relationships to the world from a French perspective can hardly afford to ignore the long-term political and academic impact of colonization, particularly European colonization. One may thus wonder whether the world’s political transformations, beginning in the 1950s and 1960s, and the profound changes in the global scientific landscape over the past two decades, the emergence of new international actors, as well as paradigm shifts, have successfully expunged imperial and colonial pasts. In other words, what are the appropriate modalities for an effective decolonization of the humanities and social sciences? The session’s aim will not be so much as to revisit four decades of critical reflection on Eurocentrism, as to look at the actual practices of researchers engaged in countries of the Global South. Indeed, the history of many former colonies is still written from sources kept by the former colonizing powers and according to methodologies elaborated in the Western world. Projects of reciprocal anthropologies have emerged, but have remained limited if not marginal. Moreover, many North-South research teams receive funding from Western organizations and donors on the basis of norms developed in the North. However, rather than a narrow and necessarily partial diagnosis, this session aims to shed light on current experiences and research from different disciplines in the humanities and social sciences committed to charting new paths.

Chair: Geetha Ganapathy-Doré, Université Sorbonne Paris-Nord, IDPS

Felix Ameka, Leiden University: “Reconceptualizing the Foundations of Knowledge for the Humanities and Social Sciences.”

Marie Salaün, Université Paris Cité, URMIS: “No Longer Down Under? Challenging Epistemological Hegemony as a Joint Project in Oceania Today.”

Presentation of one graduate student’s poster: Matti Leprêtre, EHESS, CERMES3/CAK: “Local Entanglements, Global Designs: Tracing the Bioprospection of Medicinal Plants in Germany, its Colonies and Beyond (1884-1945).”

Commentator: Didier Nativel, Université Paris Cité, CESSMA
Commentator: Stefania Capone, CNRS, CESOR

10h45 am-11h15 am: Break

11h15 am-01h00 pm: Positionality

Researchers in the humanities and social sciences, whose areas of specialization are regions or countries different from those in which they are based, may well be particularly prone to reflect on the effects of their positionality. This question must be tackled from a dual anthropological and sociological perspective. Regarding their research objects and areas of specialization, what has been the impact of researchers’ subjectivities and multiple identities, as well as their power-positions within academic fields, on their scholarly practices and production? Although relevant for all researchers, this issue takes on special significance when academic circles throughout the world confront one another. Admittedly, the emergence of significant new centers of knowledge production in Asia, Latin America and Africa, circulations of all sorts, and the development of collaborative and co-constructed international projects contribute to bridging the gap between insiders and outsiders within the same research focus. However, a certain international division of scientific labor still weighs on the modalities of the internationalization of research, even though the situation differs from discipline to discipline, from region to region. Consequently, what positioning are researchers adopting?

Chair: Matthias Hayek, EPHE-PSL, CRCAO

Manjeet Ramgotra, SOAS University of London: “Positionality, Identity and Boundaries.”

Élodie Apard, Les Afriques dans le Monde – IFRA-Nigeria: “Positioning, Reflexivity and Research Ethics in Sensitive Contexts: Case Studies from Nigeria.”

Rolf Elberfeld, University of Hildesheim: “Humanities in the Horizon of European Expansion: Research and Cross-cultural Critique.”

Presentation of one graduate student’s poster: Mayuko Yamamoto, EHESS, CESPRA: “Seeing the World in ‘Triangulation:’ Being Another ‘Other’ in the Field of Islam in Europe.”

Commentator: Géraldine Duthé, INED, DEMOSUD
Commentator: Ioulia Shukan, Université Paris Nanterre, ISP

01h00 pm-02h30 pm: Lunch

02h30 pm-04h15 pm: Circulations and Non-Circulations

The issue of cultural, intellectual and epistemic circulations and non-circulations can be broached in a number of ways: from a material perspective (flows of books and translations, of textbooks, of funding or of institutions), from a human perspective (networks of researchers, students, experts), or from an ideational perspective (concepts, theories, references, discourses). It can also be apprehended via the different directions those circulations pass (or not): West-West, West-East, North-North, North-South, South-North, South-South. Taking into account the diversity of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences and their variations according to academic contexts and time periods, we will examine both the conditions that allow for these circulations to take place (colonialism, relative freedom of movement and financial resources of European and North American elites, the role of major international organizations, the soft power exerted by geopolitical powers after the Second World War, linguistic domination, etc.) and the circumstances –in relation to the historical mechanisms of intellectual and scientific hegemony, as well as political and geopolitical contexts– that render alternative circulations invisible or impossible. The same dynamics that generate circulations may also produce frictions and conflicts that can hamper them. This session will strive to grasp how circulation regimes evolve when fixity and movement are both relative and interdependent.

Chair: Joëlle Vailly, CNRS, IRIS

Chowra Makaremi, CNRS, IRIS: “Counter-archives: Circulation and the Paradoxes of Hegemony.”

Thomas Brisson, Université Paris 8 Vincennes Saint-Denis, CRESPPA-LABTOP: “Western Social Sciences and ‘Multiple Modernities:’ Global Academic Circulations, Confucianism, and Max Weber in Singapore (1970s-1980s).”

Wiebke Keim, CNRS, SAGE: “The International Circulation of Social Sciences Scholars: An Empirical Analysis of Institutional Practices.”

Presentation of one graduate student’s poster: Gabriela Quezada, EHESS, CAK: “The Shaping of Social Sciences in Mexico (1900-1920): Circulations of People and Models beyond the National Borders.”

Commentator: Michael Lucken, INALCO, IFRAE
Commentator: Stéphane Dufoix, Université Paris Nanterre, IUF, SSA, Sophiapol

04h15 pm-04h45 pm: Break

04h45 pm-05h45 pm: Keynote lecture

Chair: Antonella Romano, EHESS, CAK

Françoise Daucé, EHESS, CERCEC: “The War in Ukraine: Failure or Support for Social Sciences in Eastern Europe?”

05h45 pm-06h45 pm: Round-table on Research in Exile

Chair: Eloi Ficquet, EHESS, CESOR

The humanities and social sciences studying the world in various scales and situations involve close relationships with other researchers in the field, research assistants and interlocutors. These relationships generate exchanges of knowledge and involve regular circulation for colloquia, thesis juries and guest professorships. What happens in situations of hardship? When political and security conditions deteriorate to such an extent that humanitarian assistance is requested, that the relationship turns into a commitment, that the only possible circulation is exile, without knowing when the return will be possible? Under what conditions, in what ways are the ordinary means of research converted into means of solidarity? What forms does this solidarity take? What are the obstacles and limits? What does welcoming colleagues and partners imply beyond the usual scientific work? What does exile do to research, to objects of study, to interpretative paths, for researchers who are more or less temporarily exiled? These questions will be the subject of this round table discussion bringing together researchers benefiting from hosting programs and the people in charge of these programs.

With the participation of Paula Regina Benassuly Arruda, Federal University of Pará / Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3, CREDA, PAUSE, Vlad Berindei, FMSH, Alain Prochiantz, Collège de France, PAUSE and Science in Exile, Mitiku G. Tesfaye, Mekelle University / EHESS, IMAF, PAUSE, and Jessica Wong, EHESS, LAP, PAUSE.

November 10, 2022

09h00 am-10h45 am: Area Studies, Disciplines, and Interdisciplinarity

Rather than emphasizing the enduring hierarchical distinction between disciplines and area studies, this session will explore the history of their varying degrees of entanglement over time and space. Not only do the humanities and social sciences vary from one academic setting to the other, but, depending on their respective settings, they also lack a common way of construing the world. Consequently, they each have different relationships with area studies or global studies. Conversely, the many paradigms of holistic scientific understanding of the world that have succeeded one another or been combined over time (universal histories, orientalism, colonial ethnology, areal studies, etc.) do not mobilize the whole range of fields of knowledge and know-how instituted as disciplines within the humanities and the social sciences. When area studies began to take hold after the Second World War in North America, Europe, and the rest of the world, they promoted interdisciplinarity everywhere, albeit with different disciplinary articulations in the various academic settings. Still, the fact remains that area studies, thanks to their inter-, multi- or trans-disciplinary stance, can play a fundamental role in the long-lasting debate over disciplinary boundaries and alliances.

Chair: Caroline Bodolec, CNRS, CCJ/CECMC

Dario Mantovani, Collège de France, ANHIMA: “The Many Territories of Roman Law.”

Ioana Popa, CNRS, ISP: “Sedimentations, Dislocations, and Rearrangements of Knowledge: The Construction of Area Studies in the Mid-20th century France.”

Kevin Ku-Ming Chang, Academia Sinica (Taipei): “The Return to Philology: China, the World and In-Between.”

Commentator: Catherine König-Pralong, EHESS, CAK
Commentator: Eberhard Kienle, Science Po, CERI

10h45 am-11h15 am: Break

11h15 am-01h00 pm: Uses and Misuses of Material Culture

Successively termed “of high curiosity,” “exotic,” or sometimes “primitive,” artefacts have served as means of apprehending the world for a number of scholarly disciplines, ranging from archaeology to anthropology. By periodizing and territorializing technical and stylistic features, material culture has thus served to define and date what has been labeled “cultural” traditions. The decontextualization of these studies has, over time, caused a predicament and repatriation claims. In the course of its journeys, the material culture of the far-off and the elsewhere, whether geographical or chronological, has acquired new significance and such transgressions have in turn become research objects. This session therefore will examine, on the one hand, the tensions between the definitions and discussions of the cultures produced by the study of these artefacts and, on the other, their contemporary uses, whether in identity politics, revivalist movements, disputes over cultural appropriation, or indigenous political struggles. All these phenomena further obfuscate the territoriality and temporality of these areas and cultures, which are simultaneously enduring and contested.

Chair: Chloé Andrieu, CNRS, ArchAm

Benjamin Balloy, CNRS, FRAMESPA: “Misusing Pawnee Star Chart: A Case of Conflicting Translations?”

Nicolas Garnier, Musée du quai Branly: “A Few Reflections about the Notion of Style in the Art of the Sepik River (Papua New Guinea).”

Miruna Achim, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (Mexico): “Tenacious Stones and Surface Tensions: The Making of Mesoamerican Jade.”

Presentation of one graduate student’s poster:Leandro Leão, Universidade de São Paulo – EHESS, Mondes Américains/CRBC: “Art and Diplomacy: The Modern Brazilian in Cleavage in the Itamaraty Palace Collection in Brasília.”

Commentator: Mercedes Volait, CNRS, InVisu
Commentator: Nathan Schlanger, ENC-PSL

01h00 pm-02h30 pm: Lunch

02h30 pm-04h15 pm: Languages and Texts

Over the past thirty years, two profound transformations in the world and in world knowledge, i.e. the digital revolution and the intensification of global connections, have shaped anew the issues of languages and texts, which are at the very heart of the definition and methods of area studies. This session will explore the implications of such transformations in four domains: texts, discourses, education, and the dynamics of exchanges. To what extent is Orientalism’s focus on the written word being challenged by the emphasis now placed on other texts, notably visual and oral ones, and by the digitization of archives and the development of digital humanities? Has the indigenization of the humanities and social sciences, as well as the introduction of “local” notions into the field of general theory, loosened the grip of tradition on how knowledge is written up, between a scholarly but localized hyper-contextualization and efforts at extra-linguistic formalizations aiming at supra-generality? What effects does the acceleration of circulation –and obsolescence– of knowledge have on students’ training in other languages and other textualities that proceed at a slower pace? Finally, to what extent is the practice of texts and languages affected by the reconfiguration of scientific networks in an academic world that is both more polycentric and more divided than the globalization of knowledge effected by international languages might suggest?

Chair: Chahan Vidal-Gorène, ENC-PSL

Jean-Pierre Bat, ENS-PSL, Centre Jean-Mabillon: “From Archives to Social Networks, the Post-colonial Monopoly of the French Language in West and Central Africa and its Contestations.”

Chloé Ragazzoli, Sorbonne Université, Orient et Méditerranée: “Rereading ‘the Oldest Book in the World?’ From Ancient Egypt to Digital Humanities.”
Yamanaka Yuriko, National Museum of Ethnology (Osaka): “Where Lie the Boundaries of “Nature”? A Comparative Study of the Marvelous and Uncanny.”

Presentation of one graduate student’s poster: Grégoire Bienvenu, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, IRMECCEN: “Bridging the Inaccessible: Conducting Social Science Research on China from the Outside.”

Commentator: Capucine Boidin, Université Sorbonne nouvelle Paris 3, CREDA
Commentator: Peter Stokes, EPHE-PSL, AOROC

04h15 pm-04h45 pm: Break

04h45 pm-05h45 pm: Keynote lecture

Chair: Alain Delissen, EHESS, CCJ, CRC

Yoichi Mine, Dôshisha University (Kyôto): “Connecting Africa and Asia: A Question of Spatial Framing.”

The papers of the eight thematic sessions will precirculate. During the conference, the papers will be briefly summarized and then commented. Most of the time of the thematic sessions will be devoted to discussions. In addition, in some thematic sessions, one or two Ph.D. students will present their posters, in five minutes each. These posters will be exposed in the entrance lobby of the conference center during the whole duration of the conference.

If you would like to access the papers, please write to Gizem Bilal: gizem.bilal

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