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Boris Wiseman

Université de Durham
L’invention du sensible/The construction of the sensible world
01 July 2009 -
31 July 2009
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Pilotage scientifique : Dr B.Wiseman (Modern Languages and Cultures, Durham Univeristy); Professor Emerita Claude Imbert (École normale supérieure); Mr Jean Khalfa (Fellow of Trinity College, University of Cambridge, Modern and Medieval Languages)

L’atelier, dont voici la présentation, s’inscrit dans une réflexion collective en cours, qui a été inaugurée à l’université de Durham en mars 2008, lors du colloque ‘Penser le sensible/Thinking the Senses’ (Institute of Advanced Study).  Elle mobilise un groupe interdisciplinaire qui s’intéresse à la théorisation et à la modélisation des rapports humains au sensible, groupe qui s’est engagé dans un travail en commun prévu pour se poursuivre sur une période de deux à trois ans.  Cet atelier est lui-même la première partie d’une recherche qui se déroulera en deux temps. Le second atelier (‘Le sensible à l’œuvre’/‘The Work of the Senses’) aura lieu environ un an plus tard, en principe au Centre for Research in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (CRASSH), Cambridge, ou à Trinity College, Cambridge.

Argumentaire :

Lorsque John Locke affirmait, dans son essai philosophique concernant l'entendement humain,  que la blancheur n’était pas plus dans la neige que la douleur n’était dans le feu - l’un étant plutôt cause de l’autre -,  il ouvrait une question sur les rapports du subjectif et de l’objectif qui demeure, à ce jour, sans réponse. L’objectif de ce programme de recherche n’est pas tant d’examiner cette question de front, telle qu’elle se pose en termes philosophiques – il se peut que dans l’état actuel de nos connaissances nous n’en soyons pas capables –, que d’en explorer les implications pour ce qui concerne la réflexion  anthropologique  contemporaine (au sens large).

Depuis peu, les sciences humaines et sociales prennent acte de cette question de manière de plus en plus marquée: le monde sensible est lui-même une espèce d’artéfact que diverses cultures « construisent » de manière différente, en se servant d’outils variés, un artéfact dont les différentes configurations doivent s’appréhender comme le produit non seulement d’un contexte social donné mais d’une histoire ; c’est un objet formé au fil du temps et dont ont peut tenter de reconstituer les multiples métamorphoses, objet saisissable dans son devenir, donc. La notion de « partage du sensible » (Rancière, 2000) – que nous tenterons de transposer vers des sociétés « autres » -  le dit avec éloquence.

Pour les sciences humaines et sociales,  la question posée par Locke importe plus que la réponse que l’on pourrait y apporter. Elle ouvre la voie à une exploration des modes de production du sensible, sur le plan non seulement cognitif mais aussi social, culturel et historique.

Trois domaines en particulier, correspondant aux principaux domaines d’activité des chercheurs invités, retiendront tout particulièrement notre attention au cours de cet atelier : la perception tactilo-kinesthésique ou haptique, l’environnent acoustique, et la différentiation des modes sensoriels.

C’est autour de deux grands axes de recherche que s’organiseront les deux ateliers du projet ‘Penser le sensible’/’Thinking the Senses’.  Celui que nous proposons ici, le premier de la série, (‘L’invention du sensible’) s’inscrira dans une approche plutôt synchronique, adaptée aux questions anthropologiques qui lui seront propres. L’atelier qui lui fera suite, environ douze mois plus tard  (‘Le sensible à l’œuvre’, CRASSH), reprendra ces questions anthropologiques dans une perspective diachronique, en posant la question de la relation du « modernisme » aux sens et au sensible, et de la matérialisation de cette relation sous forme de nouvelles relations esthétiques.

L’objectif qui sous-tend ces deux ateliers, et le projet dans son ensemble, demeure inchangé : saisir la manière dont des êtres humains ont façonné leur environnent sensible – ou plutôt de multiples environnements, que nous devons concevoir non pas selon un modèle scénographique ou bien comme une toile de fond sur laquelle la praxis ferait relief, mais bien comme la chaîne et la trame dont l’entrecroisement constitue ce que appelons «la  culture » ou « le social ».

Le programme dans son ensemble intéressera tout ceux qui, depuis peu, tentent de penser le sensible différemment – sociologues, anthropologues, littéraires, neurologues et bien d’autres encore. It tentera de répondre aux appels venus de différents champs et qui visent à l’établissement de rapports de plus grande proximité entre « cultures épistémiques ».  Les « sensory studies », si on peut les nommer ainsi, sont par vocation interdisciplinaires. Reste à développer les modèles sur lesquels cette interdisciplinarité pourra prendre corps.

 
Atelier 1 (IEA) : participants (les astérisques désignent les chercheurs qui ont confirmés leur participation):

Michael Bull (Department of Media and Film, University of Sussex). Research areas: Sensing in an urban environment. New technologies and the reconfiguration of everyday life. The sociology of acoustic landscapes.

Hugh Campbell (School of Architecture, University College Dublin). Research areas: The relationship of consciousness and space; the conception, sensory experience and representation of space in post-war Europe.

*Jonathan Cole (Poole Hospital and Southampton University, School of Medecine, Clinical Neurosciences). Research areas: The neurology of proprioception. Embodiment, balance and being-in-the-world. Proprioceptive pathologies and self-other relations.

*Steven Feld (University of New Mexico, Department of Anthropology). Research areas: the anthropology of sound and voice;

*Brian Keeley (Philosophy of Science, Pitzer College). Research areas:  The plurality of the senses; variations in disciplinary understandings of what constitutes a sensory mode; animal-human parallels in the differentiation of sensory modes.

*Jean Khalfa (Fellow of Trinity College, University of Cambridge, Modern and Medieval Languages). Research areas:  Ethnomusicology, Pattern recognition.

*Claude Imbert  (Emerita Professor of philosophy at the Ecole Normale Supérieure – Ulm). Research areas: Logic and the sensible ; aesthetic production; modernism.

*Jon P. Mitchell (Reader, Department of Anthropology, University of Sussex). Research areas: Ritual, Religion and Performance. Experiential dimensions of religious experience. Belief, the Body and Masculinity. Europe and the Mediterranean.

*Boris Wiseman [project coordinator] (Senior Lecturer in the Department of French, University of Durham). Research areas: theories of sensation in contemporary French thought. Anthropology of the senses. Aesthetics as a multi-sensory relation.

Biographies

Michael Bull is a  Reader in Media and  Film at the  University  of  Sussex and  has written  widely  on sound,  music  and technology. He is the  author  of  Sounding  Out  the  City. Personal Stereos and the  Management  of  Everyday  Life (Berg 2000), Sound Moves:iPod Culture  and Urban  Experience (Routledge 2007) and  is  co-editor of  The Auditory Culture Reader (Berg  2003). He  is also the founding editor  of The Senses and  Society Journal published by  Berg. He was  until recently a consultant  to Portalplayer, California and  is a core member  of New Trends Forum,  a  European Thinktank funded  by  Bankinter, Spain.

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Hugh Campbell is an architect and holds a Professorship in the School of Architecture, University College Dublin. After graduating from UCD with first class honours in 1988, he spent four years working in practice with Blacam and Meagher, on projects including the Knock Chapel of Reconciliation, the Beckett Theatre in TCD and the CIT library. During this time he also qualified in professional practice. In 1992, he returned to UCD to begin a research masters on the influence of nationalism on the architectural development of Ireland after independence. He subsequently went on to complete a PhD in 1998 on the politics of urban development in nineteenth-century Dublin. This was the first PhD in Architecture awarded in UCD. Material from the thesis have subsequently been published as papers and book chapters. During this period he taught in UCD and in the Architectural Association in London, eventually becoming a Lecturer in UCD in 1997. He became a permanent College Lecturer in 2001 and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2005 and awarded a Chair in 2007.

His current research is focused on the construction of self and the construction of space. Drawing on a wide range of work within the rapidly expanding field of consciousness studies, and based on the fundamental premise that the self is a `locative system', this research seeks new ways to explain the means by which we design, construct and experience space. The research involves the detailed examination of particular architects' work to discover how a particular conception of space and self is manifest in their work. Allied with this are a series of investigations into how the interdependent relationship of self and space is depicted in various art forms- particularly literature, cinema and photography. This work has already produced a number of papers, and is currently being developed into a book which examines the `spatial self' at an expanding series of scales, from the internal `space' of the mind - the space between our ears - to the spaces of the room, the house, the city and the landscape.

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*Joanthan Cole: Honorary Senior Lecturer in Clinical Neurosciences, University of Southampton Professor - University of Bournemouth Consultant in Clinical Neurophysiology -Poole and Salisbury Hospitals. Area of specialization: the effects of sensory deafferentation and motor control, largely with a subject, IW, who has a large fibre sensory neuronopathy. In addition to a number of papers in neurophysiology and cognitive science, this work is the subject of a number of collaborations, including ones at The National Hospital/ UCL, Aston University, the Max Planck Institute in Munich and Professor David McNeill's group in Chicago. Professor Cole has recently been involved in a project investigating virtual agency and its role in reducing phantom limb pain. In addition to these neurophysiological and cognitive neuroscientific experiments, he also believes that to understand what it is like to live with neurological impairment an empathetic, neurophenomenological approach to the lived experience of others is required. This resulted in his writing a biography of IW (Pride and a Daily Marathon, MIT Press, 1995). He has also written on the relation between self and face revealed by facial difference (About Face, MIT Press, 1998). His most recent book, on the experience of living without movement or sensation below the neck, Still Lives, was published in 2004 by MIT Press. This narrative, biographical approach has also led to collaborations with philosophers interested in embodiment, and how neurological impairment affects one's perception of self. His latest book project, Inside Moebius, is on the effects of living with facial immobility and is being written with Henrietta Spalding who lives with Moebius Syndrome.  He is also President of the British Society for Clinical Neurophysiolog,y and Chair and Convener of the International Congress in Clinical Neurophysiology, Edinburgh, September, 2006.

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*Steven Feld was appointed Professor of Anthropology and Music at University of New Mexico in Fall 2003 and promoted to Distinguished Professor in 2005. He previously held appointments at Columbia University, New York University, University of California at Santa Cruz, University of Texas at Austin, and University of Pennsylvania. He also holds a regular visiting appointment as Professor of World Music at the Institute of Music, University of Oslo, Norway.

A long time Santa Fe resident, Feld has been active in New Mexico music scenes since the 1970s when he was a founder of the New Mexico Jazz Workshop. More recently he has played to New Mexico audiences as a member of the Tom Guralnick trio, leader of the trombone choir Bonefied, and member of the Out of Context conduction ensemble.

Feld's academic research principally concerns the anthropology of sound and voice. From 1975-2000 he studied the sound world–from environmental sounds to bird calls to language, poetry and music–of the Bosavi rainforest region in Papua New Guinea. He has more recently researched the sound world of Greek Macedonia and Romani ("gypsy") instrumentalists, and produced a multi-CD project on the worldwide culture of bells. His current research is on jazz in the West African city of Accra, Ghana, where he also performs and records with Accra Trane Station, an African band dedicated to the musical legacy of John Coltrane.

Feld received a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation "genius prize" fellowship in 1991, and in 1994 was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. For 2003-2004 he received a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. He is founder and director of VoxLox, a documentary sound art label whose CDs advocate for human rights and acoustic ecology.
His books include Sound and Sentiment (1982/1990, U. Pennsylvania Press; winner of the J. I. Staley Prize, 1991); Music Grooves (with Charles Keil, 1994, U. Chicago Press; winner of the Chicago Folklore Prize, 1995); Senses of Place (edited with Keith Basso, 1996, SAR Press); Bosavi-English-Tok Pisin Dictionary (with Bambi Schieffelin, 1998, ANU Press); Jean Rouch: Ciné-Ethnography (editor/translator, 2003, U. Minnesota Press); and Exposures: A White Woman in West Africa (with Virginia Ryan, VoxLox, 2007.)

Equally active as a documentary sound artist, his CD recordings include Voices of the Rainforest (1991, Rykodisc; produced by Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart); Rainforest Soundwalks (2001, EarthEar); Bosavi: Rainforest Music from Papua New Guinea (2001, Smithsonian Folkways); Bells and Winter Festivals of Greek Macedonia (2002, Smithsonian Folkways); Romani Soundscapes in Bright Balkan Morning: Romani Lives and the Power of Music in Greek Macedonia (2002, Wesleyan U. Press) with Dick Blau (photographs), and Charles & Angeliki Keil (texts); and on his VoxLox label, Iraqi Music in A Time of War: Rahim AlHaj in New York (2003), The Time of Bells 1-4 (2004-2007), Suikinkutsu: A Japanese Underground Water Zither (2006), and Accra Trane Station: Meditations for John Coltrane (2007).

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*Claude Imbert is Emerita Professor of philosophy at the Ecole Normale Supérieure - Ulm, where she currently co-ordinates a seminar on  ‘Art, Creation , Cognition'. She  is a Member of the European Academy of Sciences and  has held posts as Associate Professor at UC Davis and The Johns Hopkins University. She is now Associate professor at Fudan University ( Shangaï).  Her main publications are on logic (Greek , Port Royal , and mathematical XXthe century Logic) ,and contemporary philosophy. Her recent published essays focus on  Cavaillès, Merleau-Ponty, Wittgensein and Lévi- Strauss, and on a new approach to the human sciences. She is currently writing a book on the relationship between contemporary French philosophy and anthropology, and the conditions of a second modernism.  Selected publications : Maurice Merleau-Ponty (2005) ; Pour une histoire de la logique (1999) ; Phénoménologies et langues formulaires (1992).  See also : ‘Le cadastre des sciences humaines' (in Penser par cas, MSH, 2005-traduction brésilenne 2007) ; ‘Implications  civiles de la mathématique janséniste'  (in Rationalités et finances au XVIIéme siècle 2007) ; ‘Jean Cavaillès' (Annuario  Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, 2006) ; ‘L' Empirisme hors de ses gonds' (in Deleuze et la littérature 2007 ) ;  ‘Les échasses du temps'  (in Proust et la philosophie -sous presse Paris et Milan ) ; ‘Warburg between Kant and Boas' ( in  L'homme, Paris  2004 et Que Dire, Berkeley 2006).

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*Jean Khalfa is Fellow of Trinity College, University of Cambridge (Modern and Medieval Languages). He specialises in history of philosophy, modern literature (in particular contemporary poetry and writing in French from North Africa and the Caribbean), aesthetics and anthropology. He is working on a book on francophone poetry (to be published by L'Harmattan) and on the collected writings of Franz Fanon (with Robert Young). He is the organiser of the Choiseul-Praslin Lectures, a member of the Comité de Rédaction of Les Temps Modernes, and a member of the editorial board of Wasafiri. His edited volumes include What is Intelligence? (CUP, 1994 and 1996); Afrique du sud: le cap de bonne espérance (with Chris Alden, Les Temps Modernes, 1995); The New French Poetry, a Bilingual Anthology (with David Kelley, Bloodaxe Books, 1996); The Dialogue between Painting and Poetry (Black Apollo Press, 2001); An Introduction to the Philosophy of Gilles Deleuze (Continuum, 2003); Frantz Fanon, a special issue of Wasafiri No 44 (Routledge, 2005); Pour Frantz Fanon, a special edition of Les Temps Modernes, No 635-636 (Gallimard, 2006) and the first complete edition of Michel Foucault's History of Madness (Routledge, 2006).

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Brian Keeley is Associate Professor of Philosophy in the Department of Philosophy, Pitzer College, Claremont, Califronia. His research interests are in the areas of the philosophy of Neuroscience, Philosophy of Mind, Cognitive Science and the Neuroethology of Animal Behavior. He was award the Charles A. Ryskamp Research Fellowship, by the American Council of Learned Societies, for his project: "Making sense of the senses: Philosophical traditions and the nature of perception" (2004).  Selected publications: Edited volume: Paul Churchland. Series: Contemporary Philosophy in Focus. (CUP, 2005). Paper: "Making sense of the senses: Individuating modalities in humans and other animals," The Journal of Philosophy, 99 (2002) , 5-28. 

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*Ulrika Maude is a Lecturer in the Department of English Studies, University of Durham. Ulrika has research interests in modernism and post-war writing. She has published essays and articles on modernist writing, perception and philosophies of embodiment, and is currently finishing a book on Samuel Beckett's materialist aesthetics. She is also co-editing a special issue of the Journal of Beckett Studies dedicated to Beckett's television plays. In addition, she has research interests in literature and medicine, and is co-convenor, with Corinne Saunders and Jane Macnaughton, of the North-East Network for Medicine and the Arts. Selected publications: Authored Books: Beckett, Technology and the Body (Cambridge University Press, 2008).  Edited volumes: (with Matthew Feldman) Beckett and Phenomenology (London: Continuum, 2008); (with Corine Saunders and  Jane Macnaughton) The Body and the Arts. (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008). Essays: 'The Body of Memory: Beckett and Merleau-Ponty.', in Beckett and Philosophy. Richard Lane (ed.) (Palgrave Macmillan, 2002).

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*Jon P Mitchell was trained at the University of Sussex and the University of Edinburgh (PhD 1996). After one-year posts as lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Edinburgh, and in History and Social Anthropology at UCL, he moved to Sussex in 1997. He was promoted to Reader in 2002. Jon was President of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) from 2000-2002 and its Honorary Treasurer 2002-2007.

Jon Mitchell's main research site is Malta. His doctoral research was conducted in Malta at a time of rapid social and political transformation, and from this he has developed both ethnographic and theoretical texts on Europeanization and ambivalence; memory and community; politics and the state; history and national identity; ritual and masculinity; belief and the body. More recently, he has been concerned with understanding the place of performance and the sensing body in processes of belief, and (with Gary Armstrong, Brunel) exploring the social, political and economic significance of Maltese football. Jon is also working with Filippo Osella and Jock Stirrat in the Sussex Anthropology Department to develop a research programme on the anthropology of charity. He is particularly interested in the morality of charitable activity, with the religious origins of charity (particularly the influence of Christian non-conformism on UK charitable institutions) and with the rise of charity sports activities.

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* Boris Wiseman is Senior Lecturer in the Department of French, University of Durham. In 2007 he was made an Inaugural Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Study, Durham University.  His research is centrally concerned with various forms of interdisciplinary connections. He has written extensively about structural anthropology and, more specifically, Lévi-Strauss's aesthetic thought.  As part of an ongoing involvement with the ‘rhetoric culture' project initiated by anthropologists Ivo Strecker and Stephen Tyler, he has recently been working on the figure of chiasmus and its relevance to an understanding of the nature of the ethnographic journey.  Selected Publications: Book: Lévi-Strauss, Anthropology and Aesthetics (Cambridge University Press, 2007). Edited volume: The Cambridge Companion to Lévi-Strauss [forthcoming]; Chiasmus in the Drama of Life [to be published by Berghahn Books, ‘Studies in rhetoric and culture' series].

Workshop organized by Ulrika Maude and Boris Wiseman (Paris IAS fellows), with the collaboration of the Musée du Quai Branly
03 Jul 2009 09:00 -
05 Jul 2009 18:00,
Paris :
L'invention du sensible - The Construction of the Sensible World

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2008-2009
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