Seminar “Reflection on crises” – 2020

Current Issues. Reflection on Crises

A seminar of the Institute for International Studies of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University in Prague, and CEFRES

Organizers: Jérôme Heurtaux (CEFRES) and Maria Kokkinou (postdoctoral researcher, CEFRES / Charles University)
When: Fall Semester, Wednesdays, 12:30 – 1:50 pm
Where: Online, upon registration. Please contact the organizers: maria.kokkinou(@)
Language: French

Seminar presentation:

The crisis has the wind in its sails: due to the appearance and extensive spread of Covid-19 in 2020, this concept has regained a world-wide attention, not observed since the financial crisis of 2009. Apart from these spectacular moments of global turmoil, we can no longer count the events or phenomena that are described as crises.

A concept inextricably linked to modernity, a “crisis” (pre)occupies our societies in all its dimensions. The polysemic uses of the term and its very topicality prompt us to revisit this concept, its different meanings and uses. This seminar course is devoted to this task. It will involve the intervention of researchers from various disciplines – political sociology, history, art history, anthropology, philosophy, etc.

What realities are qualified as “crises” and in which ways are they critical? What is a crisis and how to explain its emergence? How does a crisis unfold, what are its effects and consequences? Why do crises give rise to conflicts of interpretation over their meaning? Is the notion of crisis a central operator of our modernity and a key to understanding the challenges that contemporary societies face?


Wednesday, September 30th, 12:30 – 1:50
Introduction to the seminar
Maria Kokkinou, CEFRES / IMS FSV UK
Jérôme Heurtaux, Paris-Dauphine Université / CEFRES

Wednesday, October 7th, 12:30-1:50
Revolutions, Political Crises and Regime Changes
Jérôme Heurtaux, Paris-Dauphine Université / CEFRES

Wednesday, October 14th, 12:30-1:50
Economic Crisis and Political Changes in Greece in the 2010s
Dimitrios Kosmopoulos, Université Paris-Dauphine

Wednesday, October 21st, 12:30-1:50
Populism in Power and the Crisis of Democracy in Brazil
Felipe Fernandes, EHESS / CEFRES

Wednesday, November 4th, 12:30-1:50
1958, 1968 and 2002: Political Crises in France
Jérôme Heurtaux, Paris-Dauphine Université / CEFRES

Wednesday, November 11th, 12:30-1:50
Representing the Living World: Collapse of Ecosystems and Reconfiguration of Knowledge
Chiara Mengozzi, FF UK / CEFRES
Julien Wacquez, CEFRES

Wednesday, November 18th, 12:30-1:50
Denouncing the Economic Crisis through Photography
Fedora Parkmann, Institute of Art History, Czech Academy of Sciences / CEFRES

Wednesday, November 25th, 12:30-1:50
The making of crises in history: the case of inflation
Mátyás Erdélyi, CEFRES / UK

Wednesday, December 2nd, 12:30-1:50
“Here is a place that has left its place”: Memories of the Vanquished, Traces of Crises and Decolonial Wars
Michèle Baussant, CNRS / CEFRES

Wednesday, December 9th, 12:30-1:50
Crisis of Reading or Media Revolution?
Claire Madl, CEFRES

Wednesday, December 16th, 12:30-1:50
“Migration Crises” in the Light of History and Anthropology
Maria Kokkinou, CEFRES / IMS FSV UK
Florence Vychytil, EHESS/ CEFRES

Wednesday, January 6th, 12:30 – 1:50
Presentation of the Students’ work


Students read one text per week, sent in advance by the lecturer. They prepare a 5-page essay in French on a “crisis” not addressed during the class, based on at least three sources (1 academic and 2 non-academic ones).
The assignment must be turned in by January 4th 2021 and presented orally on January 6th during the last session (5 minutes each).


  • Arendt, Hannah, La crise de la culture, Paris, Gallimard, 1991.
  • Dobry, Michel, Sociologie des crises politiques, Paris, Presses de Sciences po, 1986.
  • Gaïti, Brigitte, « Les incertitudes des origines. Mai 1958 et la Ve République », Politix, n° 47, 1999, p. 27-62.
  • Gobille, Boris, « L’événement Mai 68. Pour une sociohistoire du temps court », Annales HSS, mars-avril 2008, n° 2, p. 321-349.
  • Grossman, Evelyne, La créativité de la crise, Paris, Minuit, 2020.
  • Heurtaux, Jérôme, Pologne 1989. Comment le communisme s’est effondré, Paris, Codex, 2019.
  • Lacroix, Bernard, « La ‘crise de la démocratie représentative en France’. Eléments pour une discussion sociologique du problème », Scalpel, vol. 1, 1994, p. 6-29.
  • Morin, Edgar, « Pour une crisologie », Communications, n° 91, 2012.
  • Politix, « Protagonisme et crises politiques », n° 112, vol. 8, 2015.
  • Revault d’Allonnes, Myriam, « Comment la crise vient à la philosophie », Esprit, n° 3, mars-avril 2012/3.
  • Revault d’Allonnes, Myriam, « Hannah Arendt penseur de la crise », Etudes, n° 4153, 2011.
  • Revault d’Allonnes, Myriam, La Crise sans fin : essai sur l’expérience moderne du temps, Paris, Seuil, 2012.
  • Ricoeur, Paul, « La crise : un phénomène spécifiquement moderne », Revue de théologie et de philosophie, n° 120, 1988.