Past calls for papers

Museum universalities in Western cultural capitals in the nineteenth and early twentieth century

Nanterre,  Friday 17th November 2017

The workshop will bring together researchers from both museum studies and history to stimulate discussion across disciplines and national contexts. We invite proposals for papers relating to:

  • Definition of ‘universalities’ in museums – particularly in relation to contemporary developments in historiography, in the philosophy of history, and in the history of disciplines.
  • Case-studies from ‘universal museums’ in Europe and North-America –we are particularly interested in discussions regarding museums in London, Paris, St. Petersburg, Berlin, Rome, Philadelphia, New York, Washington DC.
  • International exhibitions – in particular their relations with museums and the development of collections.


Administration of Memory

Nanterre, December 9, 2016

Since the beginning of the 1990s, an increasing number of governments have been implementing public policies to do with « memory ». Strangely enough, considering the rapid rise of « memory studies », political scientists have so far shown little interest in these public actions that have to do with evoking the past. At the same time, memory studies scholars have yet to engage with commemorative practices as policy processes. This study day wants to engage in a comparative examination of ‘administrations of memory’.

The study day aims to encourage the development of theoretical and methodological contact points between ‘Memory Studies’ and ‘Policy Studies’ in examinations of local, national and supranational processes of contending with the past. In this, we take it as a point of departure that studying the ‘Politics of Memory’ should also be studying the ‘Public Policy of Memory’. Beyond the agenda setting part of policy, we are further interested in the delivery and the evaluation of policy and how those processes are constituted by and constitutive of collective memory concerns.

Scenes of the Impressionist Life : A Musée imaginaire

Rouen, September 6 & 7, 2016

Four lines of thought or objects of study are suggested to the participants.

  • Portrait, self-portrait: This first theme relates more specifically to the general subject of the exhibition at Rouen’s Musée des Beaux-arts and the Festival Normandie impressionniste 2016. This is to examine the creation of a self-image and that of the group through the traditions and customs of this pictorial genre
  • Museums, Galleries, art market: In this register, may be considered the contact points between the proponents of Impressionism, painters, critics, collectors, the art of their time and that of the past.
  • Literature, library, archives: The recent book on Monet’s library (Bibliothèque de Monet) showed the importance of the textual sources kept by the artist at his home in Giverny, - classics, exhibition catalogs, periodicals-, in building his cultural horizon5. In this perspective, we will address hitherto unexploited sources, including from libraries and archives.
  • Images, reproduction, photography and film: With the rise of the press and the appearance of new techniques of image making, still and moving, other visual references were set up, more in the quotidian, that also became part of the impressionist imaginary museum - as Courbet, in the previous generation, had anticipated in his own way.


Revisiting Commemoration
Practices, uses and appropriations of the Centenary of the Great War

Université Paris Nanterre / Archives nationales (Paris), 24-25 mars 2016

The Centenary of the Great War has become a major commemorative event. In France, through the range of events it has inspired, and their distribution throughout the country, this Centenary has become as significant an event as the Bicentenary of the French Revolution was in 1989. At the time, the Bicentenary was a significant contribution to the development of original landmark studies, on the staging of history (Martin, Suaud, 1996), and on commemorative social practices (Garcia, 2000), on memory politics (Davallon, Dujardin, Sabatier, 1993) and their transformations over the long term (Ory, 1989), on “commemorative mania” (Johnston, 1992) or the erasing of the national “commemorative superego” (Nora, 1992). The Centenary of the Great War thus provides the opportunity to pursue this reflection by emphasising, not so much who is commemorating but what the commemoration is doing: the practices, the uses and the social appropriations that arise from this. Unlike in 1989, the Commemoration of the First World War is taking place simultaneously in different countries (Gilles, Offenstadt, 2014). It therefore allows us to immediately incorporate a comparative perspective.

From memories to the future
Collective memories and horizons of expectations in contemporary Europe

Naples, June 4 & 5, 2015

The sociology of memory has developed considerably over the last few decades across Europe, in combination with other disciplines. In most European countries there have been studies on the collective memory, some of which investigate the memory of Europe as a whole. Several attempts have been made to try to systematically refine the theoretical and methodological approaches at stake. This scientific interest corresponds to the widespread - albeit conflicting - interests of various communities in their own memories.

The conference’s focuses on theoretical and empirical studies, but also extends to the public sphere of European society: it also aims to enhance citizens’ awareness of the various possible ways of processing the past and how these influence the conjectures, aspirations and fears that current policies and actions are based on. Exploring our societies’ past and new expectations, and the concrete ways we are now producing the future, provides a context for responsibility:  we will be the past of our posterity’s future.


Second Franco-British: Delving back into the past to look into the present and future

Royal Society, London, UK, April 22 & 23, 2015

Theme 1: The Uses of the Past

How is the past remembered, represented, appropriated, mediated, debated and contested in the present? And how is the mediation of the past in today's present affected by the Digital Humanities?

Theme 2: Research and Heritage

What can research into heritage contribute to current heritage policy and practice?


First Franco-British: Delving back into the past to look into the present and future

Fondation Royaumont (Val d’Oise), France, January 16 & 17, 2015

Theme 1: The Language of Research

What, in French and in English, do we understand by the terms: "history", "heritage", "memory", “patrimony”, "intangible heritage," "trace," "archives", "indications", "signs," "remains," "ruins", etc. What do these terms signify in the vernacular or popular usage as well as academic discourse? What meanings do they carry in the arts and humanities as well as the social sciences and how far do these differ?

Theme 2: Envisaging the Archive of the Future

With the same objective as the first exploratory theme, namely to sketch a common understanding of current research issues, questions and problems regarding the future of the archive across the LABEX and AHRC programmes. The second workshop theme takes up the question of Archives: how, in a digital age, are archives to be maintained and curated for the future? How – in the past as well as the present – have ideas about the “future” emerged through and from the archive? Should the archive may more attention to cultural constructions of the past or the cultural constructions of the future? How have archives been transformed by taking into account their future uses?