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Upcoming Events

Coference

Multiplying Durkheim. Hidden Texts, Hybrid Categories, and Holistic Thought

A majority of scholarly work on the Durkheimian School focuses upon a few central texts such as Durkheim’s Elementary Forms of Religious Life and Mauss’ Essay on the Gift or tackle individual publications such as “Right and Left” by Robert Hertz. Seldomly the publications of Durkheim, Mauss and their équipe are perceived as interconnected. The work of (at least in the English speaking world) lesser-known scholars such as Stefan Czarnowski are often not taken into account, although they are important for the development of Durkheimian thought. As the previous conference “Practice, Effervescence and Rhythm: Technologies of Categorization and the Legacy of the Durkheim School” has shown, much of the work has been done in co-operation and has to be read as interconnected. In particular, Durkheim’s and Mauss’ attempt to historicize, multiply and hybridize the categories of the human mind has influenced many of their companions. This common endeavor cannot be understood without taking into account “hidden texts” (Sembel) and hybrid categories such as “mana”, “rhythm”, “food”, “left/right”, “big/small” and what Durkheim calls the “social substance”.

The reconstruction and exploration of these debates and publications of the Durkheim-School will be the topic of the conference “Multiplying Durkheim. Hidden Texts, Hybrid Categories, and Holistic Thought”. Bringing together both junior and advanced scholars from France, Germany, the United States and Great Britain, we aim at focusing on neglected texts, letters and unpublished manuscripts by scholars of the Durkheimian Équipe and their students. This focus allows us to (1) analyze several categories that have been introduced into the scientific discourse by the Durkheim School in order to decenter and rethink Western epistemology, (2) take seriously the kaleidoscopic approach to ethnography and cultural history (Kulturgeschichte) that does not shy away from comparing Australian, ancient Roman and Native American concepts and practices and (3) reassess the holistic approach of the Durkheim School in general: what does it mean to start methodologically with “the social” in order to understand specific phenomena? The workshop will thus contribute to a deeper understanding of the historical origins of modern anthropology and sociology, and help to re-assess contemporary debates on ontologies, materialities and classification.

Guests

+++ JEAN-FRANCOIS BERT, LAUSANNE +++ PIERRE CHARBONNIER, PARIS +++ MARCEL FOURNIER, MONTRÉAL +++ JEAN LOUIS GEORGET, FRANKFURT +++ SONDRA HAUSNER, OXFORD +++ WENDY JAMES, OXFORD +++ ROBERT LAFLEUR, CHICAGO +++ ULRICH VAN LOYEN, SIEGEN +++ JEAN-CHRISTOPHE MARCEL, PARIS +++ ANDREAS PETTENKOFER, ERFURT +++ ANNE WARFIELD RAWLS, BOSTON +++ GILDAS SALMON, PARIS +++ ERHARD SCHÜTTPELZ, SIEGEN +++ NICOLAS SEMBEL, MARSEILLE +++ SUSAN STEDMAN JONES, LONDON +++ WILLIAM WATTS MILLER, OXFORD +++