The Galactic Plane of Human History or the Hold of the Infinitely Large Scale in Our Lives

The Galactic Plane of Human History or the Hold of the Infinitely Large Scale in Our Lives

1st 2022 Session of CEFRES Seminar

When: Wednesday 16th February 2022, 4:30 pm
Where: At CEFRES and online (to register please contact claire(@)
Language: English
Julien Wacquez, Post-doctoral researcher in the Labex « Les passés dans le présent », associate researcher at CEFRES

The field of environmental humanities, which has been developing rapidly over the last few decades, is led, by its very objects of investigations and research questions, to work with a wide range of spatial and temporal scales. But historians, sociologists, anthropologists, and literary scholars are not used to considering the coexistence of phenomena on such scales. The case of SARS-CoV-2 is a flagrant example: to understand the consequences of the emergence of such a virus, it is necessary to go from the scale of the genome, then of the molecule (for example, the SPIKE protein with which the virus can get into our bodies), to that of ecosystems, and even of the entire planet, while passing by that of the individual and that of populations. How can such varied scales meet? Such work requires the use of different disciplines and many types of knowledges. How can these disciplines interact?

In this presentation, I will address these problems of scale and formulate the modalities of an original investigation that specifically treat these scales as the object of knowledge. To implement such an inquiry, I will engage in a speculative work on a kind of “being” that is radically remote from the concerns of sociologists – so remote that it does not seem to exist at the usual scale at which sociologists think and work: galaxies. Is it possible to set up a sociology of galaxies or, more provocatively, a galactic or extragalactic sociology?