Category Archives: Other Activities


We are happy to announce the names of the winners of the first CEFRES Platform Award for best article in social sciences and humanities in an international peer-reviewed journal (see the cfa here):

  • Slavomíra Ferenčuhová (FSS MUNI Brno – sociology), for her article “Accounts from Behind the Curtains: History and Geography in the Critical Analysis of Urban Theory”, published in International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 2016/40 (1): 113-131
  • Filip Herza (FHS UK Prague – historical anthropology), for his article “Anthropologists And Their Monsters: Ethnicity, Body, And Ab/normality in Early Czech Anthropology”, published in East Central Europe, Leiden/Brill, 2016/43(1-2): 64-98
  • Tomáš Jirsa (FF UPOL Olomouc – literary theory), for his article “Reading Kafka Visually: Gothic Ornament and the Motion of Writing in Kafka’s Der Proceß”, published in Central Europe2015/13(1-2): 36-50.

The first Derrida Social and Human Sciences Prizes rewarded the PhD research on cities of:

  1. Jana Kočková (FSS MUNI Brno – sociology): The transformation of the post-socialist large housing estate: comparative study
  2. Václav Walach (FSS MUNI Brno – political science): The Meaning of Security in a Socially Excluded Locality 

The award ceremony took place on 16 June 2017 at the French Embassy in Prague in the presence of H. E. Roland Galharague and Nobel Prize Jean-Marie Lehn. The prizes were supported by Mgr. Karel Janeček, PhD., MBA.

CfA: AV ČR – CNRS TANDEM Program 2018-2020

The Czech Academy of Sciences (AV ČR) and CEFRES/CNRS are launching this year a new research program called TANDEM based on the CEFRES Platform’s cooperation and endeavour to excellency in social and human sciences.

The aim of the TANDEM program is to associate two researchers, one from the AV ČR, one from the CNRS (French National Research Center) around a joint research project leading to the submission of an ERC project (starting, consolidator, advanced…).
The first TANDEM team will start its work from February 2018 for 2 years. It will be based at CEFRES. ERC projects can be submitted once per year during the appointment of the team at CEFRES.

Continue reading CfA: AV ČR – CNRS TANDEM Program 2018-2020

CFA: 2017 CEFRES Platform Award

for Best Article (published in English or in French) in Social Sciences and Humanities

Deadline for applications: 30 April 2017
Prize Amount: 213 CZK (i.e. 9.261 CZK)
Official Award Ceremony:  16 June 2017
Language of application: English

This award is included within the Jacques Derrida Award organized by the French Embassy in the Czech Republic and Mgr. Karel Janeček, PhD., MBA, which rewards the best PhD research work in social sciences and humanities in the Czech Republic.

Born from the desire to support young researchers from the Czech Republic who endeavour to embed their research within the European and international networks, this initiative from the CEFRES Platform aims to award an article in social sciences and humanities published in a high-level peer-reviewed academic journal.

Since 2014, CEFRES Platform gathers the French Research Center in Social Sciences in Prague, the Czech Academy of Sciences and Charles University in Prague.

Young researchers from all disciplines in social sciences and humanities from the Czech Republic may apply to the CEFRES Platform special award, whatever the topic of their research may be.

Applications may be sent directly by young researchers themselves to the following address:

Eligibility Criteria 

  • to be a PhD student or to have defended one’s PhD thesis at the earliest in 2010 in a university of the Czech Republic (so-called “cotutelle” PhDs are eligible; young Czech or Slovak researchers who defended their PhDs in a university abroad can also apply)
  • to submit to the award competition an article in English or in French published in a peer-reviewed academic journal recognized by such databases as Web of Science, Scopus, or by the European Reference Index for the Humanities and Social Sciences (ERIH plus)
  • to have published the afore mentioned article between 2014 and 2017 (articles accepted for publication shall be excluded, since the award is to be renewed yearly)
  • to submit one article only: applications including two or more articles will be excluded from the competition

Application Package

The following information completed:

  • Name and Surname:
  • Date and place of birth:
  • Personal email:
  • Personal phone number:
  • Personal address:
  • Professional email:
  • Professional phone number:
  • Professional address:
  • Subject of Thesis:
  • Date of (past or forthcoming) defence:
  • Year and Faculty of registration:
  • PhD supervisor(s):
  • Discipline(s):

The application should also include:

  1. An academic curriculum vitae, including a list of publications
  2. An off-print of the submitted article for the Prize. NB: only one article will be considered; applications including two articles will be excluded
  3. The complete bibliographical references and a short summary of the submitted article in English or French
  4. A letter explaining the originality and prospects of the research involved in the article

An interdisciplinary jury presided over by the director of CEFRES and representatives from the CEFRES Platform will select the laureate. The laureate will be notified by 1 June 2017 and will have to be available for the award ceremony.

Supported by Mgr. Karel Janeček, MBA, PhD., the award will be given at Palais Buquoy, the seat of the French Embassy in the Czech Republic on 16 June 2017 along with the other scientific awards of the French Embassy.



CFP: New Approaches to the History of the Jews under Communism

European Association of Jewish Studies Conference, Prague

Deadline for abstracts: End of October 2016
Decision notification due: End of November 2016
Date & Place: Villa Lanna, Prague, from 23 to 25 May 2017
Language: English
Organizers: Kateřina Čapková (Institute of Contemporary History, Czech Academy of Sciences), Kamil Kijek (Department of Jewish Studies, University of Wrocław), Stephan Stach (Institute of Contemporary History, Czech Academy of Sciences)

The experience of the Jews under the Communist régimes of east-central and eastern Europe has been a hotly debated topic of historiography since the 1950s. Until the 1980s, Cold War propaganda exerted a powerful influence on most interpretations presented in articles and books published on both sides of the ‘Iron Curtain’. Moreover, most works focused both on the relationship between the régime and the Jews living under it and on the role of the Jews in the Communist/Socialist movements and the political events connected with the rise of antisemitism and emigration.

Continue reading CFP: New Approaches to the History of the Jews under Communism

Seminar: Modernization in Nineteenth Century Central Europe. Topics, Problem Areas and Research Methods in historical sociology and social history

A seminar hosted by CEFRES young researcher Mátyás Erdélyi

"Locomotive en grève"
“Locomotive en grève” – une du journal satirique “Kakas Márton”, 24 avril 1904.

Department of Historical Sociology of the Faculty of Humanities (FHS UK). Open to BA and MA students.

Time & Venue: Tuesday 15:30-16:50, FHS UK Jinonice, building A, room 2083
Lecturer: Mátyás Erdélyi – CEU / CEFRES
Language: English



The aim of the course is to familiarize students with the main topics and problem areas in the history of Central Europe in the long nineteenth century. The course follows a topical arrangement focusing on central themes at the intersection of social history and historical sociology; it is neither chronological, nor comprehensive. Each section starts with the presentation of basic theoretical concepts, followed by the discussion of selected readings. The course focuses on problem areas in connection with the social and economic changes that took place in Central Europe during the long nineteenth century. The key concept of our discussion is ‘modernization theory’ and the different facets of modernization understood as a process of social and economic change in the period under scrutiny. Here, instead of interpreting ‘modernization’ as a normative developmental model, the course demonstrates how modernization could be analyzed as a heterogeneous and non-linear process, which always infers the possibility of fallbacks, as the history of Central Europe demonstrates it, and contains a mixture of ‘traditional’ and ‘modern’ elements.


Active class participation, one in-class presentation on a chosen topic (ca. 10-15 minutes), a position paper based on the presentation (ca. 1500 words) at the end of the term.

See the Syllabus and bibliography here.


Exploring Interdisciplinarity II

CEFRES Epistemological Seminar

Where & When: at CEFRES library, Na Florenci 3, on Thursdays 3 and 24 March, 7 and 21 April, and 5 May 2016, from 4:30 to 6 PM.

Convener: Filip Vostal (CEFRES & FLÚ AV ČR).

René Magritte, The treachery of images (This is not a pipe), oil on canvas, 1928-9
René Magritte, The treachery of images (This is not a pipe), oil on canvas, 1928-9

Whereas in the Epistemological Seminar I, we reflected upon various perspectives on interdisciplinarity in a broad theoretical sense, the present seminar series will be more ‘pragmatically’ and perhaps even practically oriented. Critically engaging with multiple commentaries raised in our discussions last semester, PhD students affiliated with CEFRES will explore selected themes through the grid of interdisciplinarity practice and/or discourse. This seminar thus accounts for unique milieu in which doctoral students are encouraged to articulate their own distinctive approach towards interdisciplinary and/or/through specific topics and research trajectories.

See also on our calendar.

3 March 2016 (Edita Wolf)
The Notion of Interdisciplinarity in The Postmodern Condition

While grand narratives constructed by the means of metaphysical philosophy legitimate the modern condition of knowledge, incredulity toward metanarratives characterizes the postmodern condition. In his seminal text, Jean-François Lyotard explores the process of de-legitimation of knowledge claims vis-à-vis the end of grand narratives and the parallel emergence of a new legitimation secured in terms of performance and efficiency in the field of knowledge production. The system of disciplines rooted in speculative discourse is thereby replaced by practice justifiable only by the principles of performance and efficiency. On the basis of Lyotard’s text a revision is needed in relation to contemporary debates on theory of interdisciplinarity, where interdisciplinarity becomes either a political exigency or a notion that should yield a deeper meaning to the present status of knowledge production. Thus interdisciplinarity seems to work as a substitute for the old philosophical notions that is detached from the actual workings of today’s science. A re-reading of The Postmodern Condition, that is of an announcement of the end of the discipline of philosophy by a philosopher, will bring us to a reflection on interdisciplinarity as a particular practice that would not necessarily entail construction of a discourse of legitimation.


  • Jean-François Lyotard. The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge. Translated by Geoff Bennington and Brian Massumi. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1984 [1979]

Read the entire book or alternatively the introduction and pp.31-70.

24 March 2016 (Matyas Erdelyi)
Inventing the Right Numbers: Social Statistics, Commercial Reason, and the Public Good

The present seminar session investigates how social statistics were created, comprehended, and used for commercial and public purposes in Dualist Hungary. It explores different modes of quantification, the inter- or pre-disciplinary sights of scientific production, and power relations between competing expert and nascent professions. Central to this line of inquiry is the investigation of relations between statisticians and other notables (i.e. every person worth of attention and involved in the debate, be it a politician, businessman, any type of scholar) inclined to claim authority over the creation and political/economic use of social statistics. This session contributes to the overall discussions on the nature of interdisciplinarity by describing primeval workshops on interdisciplinarity and by showing how the search for timeless truths and objectivity can be deviated by political and economic interests amidst disciplinary competition.


  • Theodore M. Porter. ‘Life Insurance, Medical Testing, and the Management of Mortality.’ In Lorraine Daston (ed). Biographies of Scientific Objects. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000, pp. 226-246.
  • Alain Desrosières. La Politique des Grands Nombres: Histoire de la Raison Statistique. Paris: La Découverte, 1993, pp. 104-111, 182-217, 226-231, 271-276.

7 April 2016 (Jana Vargovčíková)
Studying the State through the Scandal: On the Epistemic Value of Transgression

‘In olden days a glimpse of stocking was looked on as something shocking. Now, heaven knows, anything goes.’ (Cole Porter).

Far from being anomalies or mere accidents, transgressions are conditioned and given meaning by norms. Subsequently, norms repeatedly reaffirm their legitimacy and meaning in contrast to transgressions. What is considered as transgression and when transgression gains the potential of being turned into a scandal varies in time and space, as the quote suggests. That is why, given the imbrication of norms and transgressions, social scientists and philosophers have turned to cases of transgression in order to understand order, social norms and institutions, as well as to comprehend the nature of the distinction between the two (e.g. Foucault, Becker, Hughes, Goffman). Leaving normative preconceptions aside, then, a sociologist or political scientist can learn from an anthropologist and treat transgressions in the political realm as indicators of the (symbolic, but not exclusively so) structure of the state. Political scandals as narratives of events labelled as transgressive represent precisely such means of enquiry into how a political body organizes the limits of its norms (De Blic & Lemieux) and into how citizens relate to the political order (Gupta).


  • Damien de Blic & Cyril Lemieux. ‘Le scandale comme épreuve.’ Politix 71 (3): 9–38, 2005.
  • Akhil Gupta. ‘Blurred Boundaries: The Discourse of Corruption, the Culture of Politics, and the Imagined State.’ American Ethnologist 22 (2): 375–402, 1995.
  • Chris Jenkins. ‘Transgression: The Concept.’ Architectural Design 83 (6): 20, 2013.

21 April 2016 (Lara Bonneau)
The uses of analogy in human and social sciences

It is possible to conceive transdisciplinarity as sharing of objects or methods by several disciplines. Besides objects and methods, it can also be – and this might be its first form – the sharing of a common lexicon. The tendency of certain human sciences – philosophy in particular – to use concepts elaborated by other disciplines in other contexts was sharply criticized by Alan Sokal in 1994, in what remains known as the Sokal Affair. The physicist tried to discredit the way certain philosophers were using concepts that belonged to the natural sciences, showing their ignorance about the real meaning of these concepts in their original field and thereby reducing their work to vain language games. Indeed, the use of analogy and metaphor in the human sciences can be put into question. During this session, I will try to show that, if it is not without danger, the use of analogy and metaphor is inherent to the scientific activity, which can moreover be both legitimate and fruitful. I will start with a concrete example: the way the art historian Aby Warburg uses analogy and metaphors from the natural sciences. I will then rely on a more reflexive text about the legitimacy of this method entitled Théorie de l’acte analogique in Simondon’s L’individuation à la lumière des notions de forme et d’information.


  • Gilbert Simondon. L’individu et sa genèse physico-biologique. Paris: PUF, 1964, pp. 264-268.
  • Alan Sokal. ‘A Physicist Experiments with Cultural Studies.’ Lingua Franca May/June 1996, available at:
  • Aby Warburg. Miroirs de faille, A Rome avec Giordano Bruno et Edouard Manet. Paris: Presses du réel/L’écarquillé, 2011, pp. 62, 64.

5 May 2016 (Monika Brenišínová)
Architecture and Art as Historical Sources: On the Borders of Humanities and Social Sciences

In various theoretical discussions on architecture, we may notice that there is not a singular way of approaching it. From the classical perspective of the history of art classical art historical perspective, it is possible to identify at least three basic methods of inquiry: archaeological building survey („Bauforschung“, A. von Gerkan, in Czech “SHP”, D. Líbal); style-critical and style-historical analyses (H. Wölfflin, H. Focillon, M. Dvořák); semantic analysis (G. Passavant, E. Hubala). When we consider art in general, things however get even more complicated. If we take into account the fact that even among historians of art a consensus about the definition of art as such does not exist, what will happen when we will look at art from the perspective of another scientific discipline? When we conceive art as an historical source, traditional art historical categories such as the aesthetic point of view, the author’s fantasy, the styles or commonplaces (loci communes) quickly lose their significance. Moreover, historical work with visual sources is largely interpretative and requires a significantly critical approach. Thus we suddenly find ourselves on the borders of humanities and social sciences. And it is exactly such space, outside the frontiers of clearly defined disciplines, where the space and time change their shapes and where other disciplines – such as anthropology – can be brought into play.


  • Clifford Geertz. ‘Art as Cultural System.’ MLN 91(6): 1473–1499, 1976.
  • George Kubler. ‘History: Or Anthropology: Of Art?’ Critical Inquiry, 1(4): 757-767, 1975.