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“Barbarians” in Ancient Civilizations

23 jun 2017 09:00 - 18:30
Institut d'études avancées de Paris
Hôtel de Lauzun
17 quai d'Anjou
75004 Paris

Workshop organized by Yang Huang (Paris IAS) and Anca Dan (Labex TransferS, CNRS- ENS Paris), with the support of the Paris IAS, Labex TransferS and Fudan University (Shanghai)


The ‘barbarian’ seems to be a widespread notion in the ancient world and beyond. Pre-modern civilizations such as China, the Middle East, Greece, Rome, Islam and Medieval Europe either employ words like barbaros or use different strategies to express ‘otherness’. It is thus possible to discuss this notion from the perspective of comparative or Kulturtransfer studies. This workshop brings together specialists of different ancient, medieval and modern cultures who will address questions like: “What does ‘barbarian’ mean? Under what circumstances did such a notion arise? What are the implications for the self-definition and ethnic identity of the societies in question?” The discussions will enable a critical approach to existing concepts such as imperialism, colonization, acculturation and cultural transfers.


9h00 - 9h15   Opening
Gretty MIRDAL (Paris IAS)
Michel ESPAGNE (Labex TransferS, CNRS-ENS Paris)
Yang HUANG (Paris IAS - Fudan University, Shanghai)
Anca DAN (Labex TransferS, CNRS- ENS Paris)

9h15 - 10h00    Ancient China
The Idea of “All Under Heaven” and the Barbarians in Ancient China

Dali YAO (Fudan University, Shanghai)
Discussant: Yang HUANG (Paris IAS - Fudan University, Shanghai)

10h00 - 10h45    Ancient Egypt
The Concept of the Barbarian in Ancient Egypt

Shoufu JIN (Capital Normal University, Beijing)
Discussant : Jean-Yves CARREZ-MARATRAY (Paris XIII)

10h45 - 11h15   Break

11h15 - 12h00   Middle East
Qui sont les “barbares” des premiers musulmans (VIIe-Xe s.) ?
(Who are the “Barbarians” for the Early Muslims (7th-10th c.)?”

Jean-Charles DUCENE (EPHE Paris)
Discussant: Frantz GRENET (Collège de France)

12h00 - 12h45   Classical Mediterranean
Inventions of the Barbarian around the Classical Mediterranean

Greg WOOLF (University of London – ICS)
Discussant: Liza MÉRY (Université de Poitiers)

12h45 - 14h00   Lunch Break

14h00 - 14h45   Ancient Greece
Ethnicity and the Barbarian in Ancient Greece

Hyun Jin KIM (University of Melbourne)
Discussant: David KONSTAN (Paris IAS - NYU)

14h45 - 15h30   From Greeks to Romans - Ancient philosophy
Le Barbare dans la perception stoicienne du monde
(The Barbarian according to the Stoic Perception of the World)
Carlos LÉVY (Paris IV-Sorbonne)
Discussant: Claude IMBERT (ENS Paris)

15h30 - 16h15   Ancient Rome
Barbarians vs Romans? Dealing with an Exclusive Concept under Roman Empire and After

Anne VIAL-LOGEAY (University of Rouen)
Discussant: Anca DAN (Labex TransferS, CNRS- ENS Paris)

16h15 - 16h45   Break

16h45 - 17h30   Middle Ages
Perceptions and Representations of Peoples of the Indian Ocean in Western Travel Literature (13th-15th Centuries)
Christine GADRAT-OUERFELLI (CNRS-MMSH Aix-en-Provence)
Discussant: Bruno DUMÉZIL (Paris Ouest Nanterre University)

17h30 - 18h15   Old & New Worlds
Barbarians as Connection between China and Russia?

Michel ESPAGNE (Labex TransferS, CNRS-ENS Paris)
Discussant: George DEPEYROT (Labex TransferS, CNRS-ENS Paris)

18h15 - 18h30   Conclusion
Yang HUANG (Paris IAS - Fudan University, Shanghai)
Anca DAN (Labex TransferS, CNRS- ENS Paris)

23 June 2017, 09:00 - 12:45
23 June 2017, 14:00 - 18:30
Beyond the Edges of Empires: Views of the Other in Ancient China
01 April 2017 - 30 June 2017
23 Jun 2017 18:30
Yang Huang
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Classical studies