The team working on “Archives and Interculturality” aims at understanding contemporary philosophy through the study of its manuscripts and archives. What is the part played by writing in the conceptual creative process? Such approach allows to grasp the existential and historical anchoring of the wide set of thought practices understood as “philosophy,” and thus to better comprehend its texts and ideas, along with its embeddedness in the cultural backgrounds that shaped it.
The Wording of Thoughts: Philosophy From the Standpoint of Its Manuscripts and Archives—Methodologies, Histories and Horizons
Organizer : Benedetta Zaccarello, CEFRES
When & Where : 7-9 June 2018, Prague
Deadline for applications : 21 January 2018
Partners: ITEM, IMEC, Patočka Archives (Czech Academy of Sciences), FHS UK
Please send your proposal (title and 300 word-long abstract) and bio-bibliographical short notice to the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Philosophy is written, practiced, lived through: it is the translation of the experience of a thinking subjectivity in a conceptual alphabet and a verbal fabric. The I of philosophy is a chimera whose head tickles the heights of abstract concepts and universal discourses, while its body is grounded in the lived experience. At the hinge between these two realms called for by the speculative effort, stands the verbal material. Its meaning can only be determined taking into account its relationship to its contexts, the writing and reading practices surrounding it, the horizons of significations and even the implicit polemical charge which characterizes every philosophical contention. Likewise, the specificity of each theoretical expression is both the sine qua non condition for the perpetuation of a discipline looking to evolve and transcend its own categories, and the most subjective and personal aspect of a work that traditionally aims at the “neutrality” of abstraction.
The “making of a philosophical text”, including its cultural features and societal contingencies, challenges the representation of the discipline’s history as a series of abstract findings and innovative intuitions that constitute the landmarks of our paradigms. The philosopher who writes is the first inclined to erase the complex intricacies of the negotiations between existence and theory, between conceptual inventiveness and shared vocabulary inherited from a centuries-old tradition. Yet it is obvious that the dynamics of philosophy production and reception are a complex phenomenon whose writing nature is a crucial stake.
As reminded by Derrida reading Paul Valéry, such dimension of the philosopher’s work is constantly and almost physiologically overlooked in the representations of the discipline’s aims. Strong borders seem to delimitate fields renowned to be dissimilar, if not incompatible: philosophy and literature are therefore often seen as rival siblings, and their respective horizons do not take easily into account some elements that turn out to be indispensable to understand—from a dynamic, historical-cultural point of view—the production of theoretical prose. Likewise, and opposite to the tradition of the Romantic period for instance, intellectual work rarely binds philology and philosophy.
For all these reasons, the philosophical manuscript is an odd object that has only recently started to receive proper appraisal. In Europe nevertheless, the creation of archive centers gathering major philosophical data—such as Nietzsche, W. Benjamin or Kierkegaard—has sustained the memory of philosophical writing and enabled such “arches” to cross time waiting for the moment when, partly thanks to the development of digital humanities, these materials could get a much deserved attention. Thanks to the editing of philosophical manuscripts, the information contained by such media beyond the text itself turns out to be manyfold. The ontology that vitalizes and structures the hermeneutical gesture behind the work on manuscripts is indeed different. Such perspective enables to look at the evolution of a theoretical thought as a living and specific adventure, and the history of the discipline a dynamic, manifold and choral process. Still, not all the documents, as dispersed and little known traces of the philosophical practices, can be turned into books and remain hidden to the public eye. But it is beyond doubt that accessing these archives often enables to better understand the appearance, the method, the approach and even the sources, along with the polemical targets and the hints that published books tend to excise or dim.
Often only the specialists working on the critical edition of the works of a thinker-writer, or the archivists in charge of a fund are able to develop knowledge from such materials: working on archives demands time, and it does not match the rhythms imposed today to research and intellectual production. Therefore creativity expressed by researchers as they come up with ad hoc tools to publish or interpret a set of manuscripts has not yet been subjected to a comparative approach aiming at setting common methodological principles. If genetic criticism has developed since the 1970s an important set of tools and philological methodology specific to the study of writers’ manuscripts, little has been done to elaborate guidelines when dealing with philosophical archives.
This conference aims at establishing a dialogue between specialists from various countries and continents who have worked on different corpus so to sketch a few first methodological lines and establish a collaborative pioneer network. The publication of the conference proceedings should be a first cornerstone of this new consortium.
As the history of several philosophical archives and their anchoring in history as such, we hope to shed some light on these places as knowledge sources and field training and to advocate for the inclusion of such materials for a new approach to the history and the exegesis of theory.
Four panels will be organized:
1 – Archives’ History/Histories. We welcome contributions dealing with the history of philosophical archives as institutions and how they became embedded in the cultural and social landscape of their time. On the other hand, the history of philosophy that can be reached through working on manuscripts shall be tackled.
2 – Conservation & Edition. The aim is to collect the testimonies of various specialists who have worked as curators and/or editors of philosophical manuscripts to better understand the specific challenges they may have met with each specific theoretical writing. Issues pertaining to the digitalization of theoretical funds and to the intelligibility of its objects will also be addressed. We welcome papers on paradigmatic cases that can also fit within the 3rd type of propositions below.
3 – Editions & Exegesis: approaches and methodologies. Several contributions and a round table should open common methodological perspectives from the observation of several philosophical corpus. We aim at sketching a guideline applied to philosophical manuscripts, whether from the point of view of interpretation or of publishing.
4 – The Archives of Theory. This last panel aims at collecting propositions dealing with theoretical corpus outside philosophy, sic as literary theory, art history, science history, semiotics… This comparative perspective should bring up the specificities of this type of documents in their relation to the philosophical materials.
The Test of Travel: Hybridations of Paradigms and Circulation of Traditions in the Writing of Contemporary Philosophy
Research Area 1: Displacements, “Dépaysements” and Discrepancies: People, Knowledge and Practices
Research Project: Archives and Interculturality
A researcher at CNRS, Benedetta Zaccarello works on contemporary philosophy through the study of its manuscript documents and archives. Her work aims at understanding the part played by writing in the process of conceptual creation. Indeed, such an approach enables to uncover the existential, historical and cultural foundations of the protean set of thinking practices that form contemporary philosophy. It, thus, also aims to better understand texts and ideas themselves. Such a perspective shows that a philosopher is like a writer: rooted in culture, leading a dialogue with tradition, he/she negotiates between his/her own aspirations and his/her professional practice. Such dynamic, diachronic and genetical approach of the writing of philosophy has led Benedetta Zaccarello to study the forms, genres, and even literary strategies working through abstract texts, so to grasp the epistemic limits, the ambitions and the self-images built up by conceptual research in our contemporary times.
After working on Paul Valéry’s manuscripts (of which she has edited within an international research team the Cahiers 1894-1914 for Gallimard publishing house), as well on the manuscripts of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Marguerite Duras and Michel Foucault, Benedetta Zaccarello has started to work on a yet unexplored aspect of the question of the expression of philosophy. Namely: the interference between various traditions happening in abstract writing.
As a researcher at CEFRES, she will mainly focus on exemplary case studies of philosophers who have dealt with various languages and traditions in their own philosophy. An intercultural phenomenon per se, philosophy has seen from the end of 19th century onward the multiplication of its paradigms, when the model of systematization, as best embodied by Hegel, started to wane. Within cultural traditions often considered as homogeneous, different ideas of what philosophy was unfolded: the practices of Western philosophy themselves are today divided in part by so-called analytical and continental types of writing. Thus, considering that such codes, styles and traditions constantly interact in contemporary philosophical creation, Benedetta Zaccarello aims to observe such intercultural mechanisms through the study of emblematic “mediator” philosophers such as Jan Patočka and Aurobindo Ghose.
Researcher at CEFRES
PhD in Philosophy from the University Alma Mater Studiorum of Bologna and from “Blaise Pascal” University, Clermont-Ferrand II
Disciplines and leading research areas:
Forms and pratiques of abstract writing; Relationship between philosophy and literary criticism in 20th century France; Aesthetics, theories of literature and of reception; the history of contemporary philosophy; genetical criticism and author philology.
2013-2016: Associate Professor at Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Semiotics and Electronic Culture
2006-2007: Assistant professor in Aesthetics, University Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah of Fès, Morocco
2008-2009: Assistant professor in Aesthetics, University IUAV of Venice, Italy
Member of the peer-review committee of the international periodical on aesthetics Aisthesis
Member of the scientific committee of the International Theatre Institut Italia
2010-2014: Co-organizer with Emmanuel de Saint Aubert (Archives Husserl, CNRS-ENS) of Qu’est-ce que la littérature ? Merleau-Ponty et la philosophie à l’épreuve de l’écriture (a series of international workshops and conferences).
2010-2013: Host of the seminar of genetics of the Valéry Team at ITEM
2006-2014: Co-editor of Paul Valéry, Cahiers 1894-1914, Paris, Gallimard
2016: Soutien à la mobilité internationale (SMI) of the CNRS for a research stay in Prague
2011: Award from the Institut Émilie du Châtelet
2009: Grant for the project “Research in Paris” of Mairie de Paris
2007: Vittorio Sainati Award: special award for a PhD on philosophy allotted by the presidency of Italy, the University of Pise and the ETS publishing house
2004: Fellowship at École thématique en critique génétique et analyse des manuscrits, ITEM (CNRS-ENS)/ IMEC, Abbaye d’Ardennes
2004: Vinci Grant from the French-Italian University of Grenoble/Torino for the PhD in international “cotutelle”
2003-2006: Grant from the Italian ministry of Education for the 3 years of the PhD in Aesthetic Philosophy at the Bologna University
2002: Grant from the Fondazione del Collegio San Carlo di Modena for the 2002 edition of “Festival Filosofia”
1999-2000: Erasmus grant from the University of Firenze for a research stay at Panthéon Sorbonne University (Paris I)
- Marguerite Duras, La Chaise longue (édition annotée et commentée d’un scénario inédit. To be submitted).
- Funzione e Mistero di Paul Valéry: tracce dei Cahiers nella filosofia contemporanea, Pisa, Edizioni ETS, 2016 (forthcoming)
- Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Recherches sur l’usage littéraire du langage, Genève, MêtisPresses, 2012 (cours inédit au Collège de France, édité, annoté et commenté), 251 p.
- « Piccoli poemi astratti » : i Cahiers come progetto filosofico, Verona, Fiorini Edizioni, 2010, 149 p.
Edited books and collaborative publications
- Puissances et possibilités d’une île. Etudes sur un projet dramatique inédit de Paul Valéry : L’Isle sans nom, Benedetta Zaccarello and Franz Johansson (eds.), Paris, Classiques Garnier, 2016 (forthcoming) – edition, foreword.
- Du divin et des dieux : Recherches sur le Peri ton tou theou de Paul Valéry, Francfort/Main, Peter Lang, coll. “Rostocker Romanistische Arbeiten”, 2013, Benedetta Zaccarello, Franz Johansson and Fabienne Mérel (eds.) – edition, foreword, article.
- “Paul Valéry : strategie del sensibile”, numéro de Aisthesis, no. 1/2012, Benedetta Zaccarello, Jean-Michel Rey and Fabrizio Desideri (eds.) — edition, foreword, article. http://www.fupress.net/index.php/aisthesis/issue/view/842 –
- Paul Valéry, Cahiers 1894-1914, vol. X-XIII, Paris, Gallimard, 2006, 2009, 2012 and 2014.
- Enciclopedia Filosofica della Fondazione centro studi filosofici di Gallarate, Milano, Bompiani, 2006 (24 articles).
Selection of peer-reviewed articles
- « La poésie comme activité ‘spirituelle’ : sur la correspondance entre Aurobindo Ghose et Dilip Kumar Roy », in Crossed Correspondences: Writers as Readers and Critics of their Peers, Vanessa Guignery (ed.), Cambridge, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2016, pp. 98-117.
- « L’écriture de la philosophie : traces, pratiques, horizons », Littérature, 2015/2, no. 178, pp. 55-63.
- « La leçon au Collège de France. Notes sur la transmission orale des savoirs à partir de quelques avant-dire de Valéry, Merleau-Ponty et Foucault », Genesis, no. 39, 2014, pp. 71- 85. 27.
- « Paul Valéry : pour une logique organique du tracé » dans Genesis, no. 37, 2013, pp. 68-81. 26.
- « Que veut dire ‘Théta’ ? », in Du divin et des dieux : Recherches sur le Peri ton tou theou de Paul Valéry, Francfort sur le Main, Peter Lang, coll. « Rostocker Romanistische Arbeiten », 2013, pp. 289-306.
- « La philosophie et son double : notes sur Merleau-Ponty, Valéry et la littérature », in Du sensible à l’œuvre. Esthétiques de Merleau-Ponty, Bruxelles, La Lettre Volée, 2012.
- « Principes d’analogie pure et appliquée », Tangences, no. 95, Paul Valéry, identité et analogie, Winter 2011, pp. 29-41.
- « Valéry théoricien de la littérature selon Maurice Merleau-Ponty», in Paul Valéry et l’idée de littérature, conference proceedings of Paris Ouest University. http://www.fabula.org/colloques/document1422.php
- « Le ‘Drame intérieur’ et l’ ‘ornement’ dans les brouillons de l’Introduction à la méthode de Léonard de Vinci », in Valéry et Léonard : le drame d’une rencontre, Zürich, Peter Lang, coll. «Rostocker Romaistische Arbeiten», 2007, pp. 107-124.
- « L’Ombre de la pensée : individuation de la conscience et irréductibilité de l’individualité dans la stratégie philosophique des Cahiers », Bulletin des Etudes Valéryennes, no. 98, 2004, pp. 46-75.
- « Drame, Lutte, Tragédie : une symbolique théâtrale à l’œuvre dans le Cours de Poétique », Revue des Lettres modernes. Cahiers Paul Valéry : 10, pp. 95-133.
- « Alcuni modelli di rappresentazione del pensiero nei primi Cahiers di Paul Valéry », in Atti dell’Accademia di Scienze Morali e Politiche, Volume CXI – 2000, pp. 159-189.
Miklós Syékely, Etudes du CEFRES, 2014, 37 p.
The paper investigates the collection-building strategies in the contemporary art museums of Central Europe. As its methodology, the study takes into consideration the collection-building principles and the way they are related to other activities of the institutions. It focuses on the role of the collection as an ensemble of musealized objects. The paper also intends to raise questions on how such institutions contribute, through their collections, to the participation of the given country in international discourse on contemporaneity. As a consequence of this collection-based observation conception, contemporary art centers and museums without collections are excluded from the observations. The observation focuses on the factors of national and international narratives intersecting each other in the process of modern and contemporary art museum based national cultural policies.
Miklós Székely PhD works as a research fellow at the Institute of Art History, Research Centre for the Humanities, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and as lecturer in the field of museum studies at the Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Faculty of Humanities. His fields of scholarly interest are nineteenth-century Hungarian art, the history of universal exhibitions, museum studies, contemporary museum architecture, cultural politics. He held a Postdoctoral Fellowship at CEFRES for the summer term (February 1st – July 31st, 2013).
Central Europe, contemporary art, museum, museum studies, political change, cultural policy, museum collection, acquisition policy, documentation, archives