COLLOQUE : CHAM International Conference «Knowledge Transfer and Cultural Exchanges» – 15-18/07/2015

LIEU : FCSH/NOVA – Lisbonne (Portugal)

DATES : 15-18/07/2015

Keynote speakers

Giovanni Levi (Università Ca’Foscari – Italy), Violence and resistance in cultural transmission

Philip Rothwell (Oxford University – UK), Cultural exchanges in the aftermath of Empire: re-readings and re-writings in the Portuguese-speaking world

Pour plus d’informations, cliquez sur ce lien :


COLLOQUE : Art and Science in the Early Modern Low Countries (Amsterdam, 17-18 Sep 15)

Rijksmuseum / Trippenhuis, Amsterdam, NL, September 17 – 18, 2015
Registration deadline: Sep 14, 2015

On September 17 and 18, 2015, Amsterdam is to host the conference ‘Art
and Science in the Early Modern Low Countries (ca 1560-1730)’,
organized by the Rijksmuseum and the Huygens Institute for the History
of the Netherlands.

Prior to the eighteenth century, ‘art’ and ‘science’ were often
considered complementary, rather than opposite, expressions of human
culture. They enlightened one another: through comparable curiosity,
knowledge and observation of the world, but also in their resulting
products: paintings, prints, books, maps, anatomical preservations,
life casts, and many others. Scholars, craftsmen and artists often
engaged in observing and representing nature, in close cooperation.

During the sixteenth and seventeenth century, it was the Low Countries
that emerged as a center of artistic and scientific innovation and
creativity, and as central points in the exchange of goods, knowledge
and skill. It is certainly no coincidence that the outburst of artistic
productivity in the Netherlands, both the South and the North,
coincided with the ‘Scientific Revolution’.

The conference ‘Art and Science in the Early Modern Low Countries’
wants to contribute to the dialogue between experts in the history of
art, historians of science, and all those interested in the visual and
material culture of the sixteenth and seventeenth-century Netherlands.
The conference focuses on historical objects, images, works or art or
texts that represent the combination of art and science, and looks at
their origin and intended audience. Sessions are, amongst others,
devoted to the culture of collecting; modes of representing living
nature; the influence of new optical devices on the arts; and the
impact of travels abroad on representations of the world.

Although the emphasis of the conference will be on the Low Countries,
both the South and the North, several contributions also include
developments elsewhere in Europe. This way, it hopes to offer a broad
overview of the way in which art and science came together in the early
modern Low Countries.

Keynote Speakers:
– Pamela H. Smith, Columbia University, New York
– Alexander Marr, University of Cambridge

Organizing committee:
Eric Jorink and Ilja Nieuwland (Huygens Institute for the History of
the Netherlands, The Hague), Jan de Hond, Gregor Weber, Gijs van der
Ham and Pieter Roelofs (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam)

Scientific committee:
Joanna Woodall (The Courtauld Institute of Art, London), Karin Leonhard
(Universität Konstanz), Tim Huisman (Museum Boerhaave Leiden)

The first day of the conference (September 17) takes place in the
Rijksmuseum, the second day (September 18) in the Trippenhuis (Seat of
the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences), both in Amsterdam.


Day 1
17 September, Auditorium Rijksmuseum

Registration and coffee

Opening by Taco Dibbits (Director of collections, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam)

Eric Jorink (Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands, The
Introduction. Art and Science in the Early Modern Low Countries

Key-note lecture
Pamela H. Smith (Columbia University, New York)

10.45-11.00 Coffee

Session I: Representing Nature in New Media

Marisa Anne Bass (Harvard University)
Portentous Nature: Frogs, Fossils, and Divine Disasters in
Mid-Sixteenth-Century Antwerp

Marrigje Rikken (Leiden University)
Exotic Animals in Flemish Art. Representing New Species in a New Medium
around 1600

Tonny Beentjes, Arie Pappot and Lisa Wiersma (Rijksmuseum / University
« Blommen ende Beestjens af te gieten »: Life-casting in the Netherlands

Intermezzo I: Life-casting experiments Rijksmuseum

12.25-14.00 Lunch, and opportunity to visit highlighted objects

Session II: Collecting and Communities of Discourse

Nadia Baadj (Bern University)
The Cabinetization of Art and Science in the Early Modern Low Countries

Paul van Duin (Rijksmuseum Amsterdam)
A unique Matera Medica Cabinet with a Miniature Apothecary

Bert van der Roemer (University of Amsterdam)
Dutch Collectors and the Metaphor of Nature as an Embroidery

Intermezzo II: Ways of Seeing, Ways of Knowing
(a.o. Presentation microscope and camera obscura by Museum Boerhaave

15.35-16.00 Tea

Session III: The Body and the Eye

Daniel Margócsy (University of New York)

Huib J. Zuidervaart (Huygens Institute for the History of the
Netherlands, The Hague)
Mathematical and Optical knowledge in mid-17th century Delft

Katrien Vanagt (Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands,
The Hague)
Vopiscus Fortunatus Plempius and the Working of the Eye
Followed by the movie ‘In Waking Hours’

17.15-18.00 Drinks

Day 2
18 September, Trippenhuis (Seat Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and

Welcome; opening

Session IV: Representing Anatomy (of animals and humans)

Lisa Bourla (University of Pennsylvania)
Art, Anatomy, and Pedagogy between Flanders and Florence c. 1600

Gaëtane Maes (Université de Lille)
Between Nature, Anatomy and Art: Crispijn de Passe’s Methods to draw

Steven Nadler (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Picturing Descartes’s Man: The Illustrations of the Traité de l’homme,
1662 and 1664

10.55-11.15 Coffee

Alexander Marr (University of Cambridge)
Early Modern Epistemic Images

12.00-13.00 Lunch, poster-presentations

Session V: The Small World

Floriana Giallombardo (Univerity of Palermo)
Paolo Boccone’s Recherches et observations naturelles (Amsterdam,
1674). European Curiosity, Microscopic Anatomy and the Enigma of
Figured Stones

Ann-Sophie Lehmann, Jeroen Stumpel, (University of Groningen /
University of Utrecht)
Oil and Observation. Vision and Science in Willem Beurs’ Treatise on
Oil Painting, De groote waereld in ‘t kleen geschildert

Kay Etheridge (Gettysburg College)
Maria Sibylla Merian: Envisioning the Natural World

Intermezzo III (10-minute presentations)

14.35-15.00 Tea, poster-presentations

Session VI: The World at Large: Exploring Oversea

Claudia Swan (Northwestern University, Chicago)
« Al hetwelcke my een groote verwonderinge was »: Birds of Paradise in
Dutch art, science, and trade

Thijs Weststeijn (University of Amsterdam)
The Chinese Challenge: East Asia in Nicolaas Witsen’s Collection

Esther Helena Arens (University of Cologne)
Between the Exact and the Economic: Material and Illustration in
Rumphius’ Rariteitkamer and Kruid-boek, 1670s to 1740s

Intermezzo IV (10-minute presentations)

Discussion and concluding remarks

17.00-18.00 Drinks; poster-presentations

For a tentative program please consult:

Admission and registration:
€ 95 (both days); Students: € 45.
Register at:

For more information:
Ilja Nieuwland,

PUBLICATION : Pilar González Bernaldo et Liliane Hilaire-Peréz (dir.) – Les savoirs-mondes. Mobilités et circulation des savoirs depuis le Moyen Âge

Les savoirs-mondes
Mobilités et circulation des savoirs depuis le Moyen Âge

Pilar González Bernaldo et Liliane Hilaire-Peréz (dir.)
Préface de Daniel Roche

Réunissant des historiens du Moyen Âge jusqu’au monde contemporain et des civilisationnistes spécialistes de diverses aires culturelles, cet ouvrage s’inscrit dans le contexte de décloisonnement disciplinaire des sciences humaines et d’essor des études transnationales, connectées et globales. À travers ces six chapitres, les auteurs présentent des recherches sur les sociétés dans leur diversité, à l’échelle du monde et sur la longue durée et ils promeuvent l’étude des transversalités culturelles.

*    Entre miroirs au prince et vision du monde
*    Circulation des corps et savoirs sexués
*    L’acclimatation métropolitaine des savoirs sur le lointain
*    Circulation des savoirs techniques : la territorialité mise à l’épreuve
*    Cultures européennes de la traduction
*    Circulation des savoirs et pouvoir dans l’espace atlantique
ISBN 978-2-7535-3517-6
Format : 16,5 x 24 cm
Nombre de pages : 514 p.
Illustrations : Couleurs et N & B
Disponibilité : en librairie
Prix : 25 €

Appel à contributions : Global Art Challenges (Barcelona, 26-28 Apr 16)

LIEU : University of Barcelona, April 26 – 28, 2016
DEADLINE : Sep 30, 2015

Global Art Challenges: Towards an “Ecology of Knowledges”

The International Conference Global Art Challenges: Towards an “Ecology
of Knowledges” aims to reformulate established approaches to the study
of global art in the face of ongoing challenges in that field. Building
on sociologist Boaventura de Sousa Santo’s concept of an “ecology of
knowledges” (2007), the conference seeks to go beyond “abyssal thinking
in modern Western-based conceptions” of art and to trace lines of
inquiry into new epistemological approaches to global art studies. As
theorized by de Sousa Santos, ecological thinking, understood as a
counter-epistemology, recognizes the plurality of heterogeneous
knowledge(s) and highlights the dynamic interconnections that exist
between them . Hence, faced with a longstanding monocultural conception
of knowledge and art an “ecology of knowledges” conceives of
knowledge-as-intervention-in-reality rather than a hierarchical
preference of Western knowledge(s) over other forms of knowing.

This approach proposes an emancipatory attempt to supersede predominant
epistemological frameworks that continue to reproduce the power
structures that have dominated Western thinking since the Renaissance.
Despite the spatial turn of global studies, longstanding monocultural
(Western) conceptions of knowledge and art continue to impact and shape
the study of global art, as well as its theorization and the validation
of artistic practices around the world. An “ecology of knowledges”, as
suggested by de Sousa Santos, is a useful concept to counteract this
perspective. It recognises the plurality of artistic knowledge(s) and
its socio-political agency in modern and contemporary global art. This
concept grapples with the current debates surrounding the need to
reassess global art study’s methodological tools, calling for the
importance of a transcultural and horizontal art history that puts the
accent on transnational transfers, cultural encounters, circulatory and
transformation processes.

This conference seeks to discuss, from a methodological,
epistemological and practical perspective, the possibilities of
developing an “ecology of knowledges” in art history, regarding also
artistic and institutional practices. It looks for ways to overcome
Western hierarchies and enter into a proactive dialogue between
practices, methods and discourses. Such perspectives, we hope, will
contribute to questioning taxonomies, values, temporalities, and
dichotomies that have not just been a part of the art historic
discipline since its foundation, but that have been imposed as
universal and taken-for-granted. Finally, the conference seeks to
become a platform for debating the possibilities of breaking that
(Western-dominated) view within art history, seeking a starting point
for a change of paradigm in the understanding of global art.

Conference Objectives:

The International Conference Challenges of Global Art: Towards an
“Ecology of Knowledges” aims …

– … to highlight, revalorize, and investigate new and “alternative”
forms of knowledge production regarding global art, identifying
non-Western and non-normative knowledge(s), know-how and practices.

– … to put forward forms of hybridization and different temporalities
by taking into account local as well as global dynamics in the
contemporary art scene.

– … to identify knowledge(s) and cases in which
real-world-interventions are enabled, highlighting local resistances,
subaltern experiences and political agency.

– … to highlight the transfers and circulatory processes in artistic
practices and art history by questioning discourses and notions (such
as modernism) that were built on the dichotomy between West and

– … to foster thinking about new concepts for the study of global art
that supersede the subject/object of knowledge binary.

– … to think of other methodological tools and strategies in Art
History and Global Art Studies that could be useful within the
framework of an “ecology of knowledges”.

– … to discuss the role of Global Art Studies, and of Art History more
generally, within the global setting of modern and contemporary art.

The conference will feature four panels and a round table discussion.
Every panel will be comprised of five speakers, with an allocated
speaking time of 20 minutes each. All three panels will be presented by
a convenor who will encourage debate among the participants. The
closing round table discussion will articulate the themes of the
conference and provide a space for dialogue among the conference

Scholars, arts practitioners, researchers, and graduate students
working in the field of global art are invited to submit proposals for
one of the following panels:

Panel 1. Critical Perspectives in Global Art History
Keynote Speaker: Monica Juneja (Universität Heidelberg, Germany)
Convenor: Anna Maria Guasch (Universitat de Barcelona, Spain)

This session aims to question and to reformulate established approaches
to the methodological study of global art history in the light of
on-going debates in the field. Such an undertaking seems especially
relevant when considering that the spatial turn has often led to an
extension of existing approaches and to a perpetuation of conceptual
imperialism historically embedded in Western art history. Guiding
questions of the session are: How can we gain a global and integrative
perspective and avoid the dangers of reproducing similar asymmetries
between artistic productions around the globe? What are the tools that
allow us to highlight multiple locations, temporalities and processes
of transcultural configurations? In how far can an ecological
perspective enrich and articulate our view on global art history?

Panel 2. ‘Close Others’ in ‘The West’
Keynote Speaker: Klara Kemp-Welch (The Courtauld Institute of Art,
London, UK)
Convenor: Nasheli Jiménez del Val (Instituto de Investigaciones
Estéticas-UNAM, Mexico)

This session addresses the need to continue decentering cultural and
aesthetic paradigms regarding the Cold War era. Despite significant
academic projects such as Former-West, the idea of ‘the West’ is still
usually taken as shorthand for Western Europe and North America. The
concept of the West therefore remains limited to an established series
of hegemonic centres, irrespective of the transformations of the global
cultural and political field since 1989. This panel explores the
relationship of the former hegemonic centres of the West to their
‘close-Others’ in Europe and the Americas (Southern and Eastern
European; Central and Southern American), and vice-versa. The aim is to
rethink the conception of the West itself from a range of dialogical
and dialectical perspectives and to thereby destabilise the concept
internally. We propose to treat the West as a pluri-cultural and
polycentric matrix, defined by the encounters and exchanges of multiple
cultures. In addition to challenging centre-periphery dichotomies, this
session seeks to bring to light the transcultural and multivalent
processes that the development of modernity and postmodernity has
entailed. We are especially interested in assessing the subaltern
potentialities of artistic practices and knowledge developed outside
normative spheres. Guiding questions of the sessions are: How do the
perspectives on race, gender and ideology that have emerged in
different parts of Europe and the Americas vary? What might these
variations contribute to the wider project of ‘provincialising the

Panel 3. Visualizing Global Networks
Keynote Speaker: Béatrice Joyeux-Prunel (École Normale Supérieur,
Convenor: Paula Barreiro López (Universitat de Barcelona, Spain)

This session aims to outline the possibilities of mapping the diverse
artistic and intellectual networks of cultural transfer and their close
intertwining with the social, political and economic spheres.
Globalisation is, in this context, understood as a process that starts
well before the fall of the Berlin Wall. Its roots can be traced back
to a long history of global exchanges and increasing social mobility,
which relate to the economic and political as well as to the cultural
fields. Guiding questions are: How can we visualise transnational
patterns and which are key characteristics of today’s global
experiences, such as circulations, exchanges and networks? How can such
a multi-level conception with various players and agencies challenge
binary models that still shape the discipline where culture is seen to
flow from metropolitan centres of the Western world to the peripheries?
In which way(s) can the visualization of global networks reveal the
complexity of artistic creation by bringing to surface the multiplicity
of practices and “knowledges” that configured the cultural world?

Panel 4. Art-as-intervention-in-reality. Ecology of Knowledges and
institutional practices.
Keynote Speaker: Maria Hlavajova (Basis Voor Akuele Kunst, Utrecht)
Convenor: Christian M. Alonso (Universitat de Barcelona)

The panel proposes to think about (and from within) contemporary
artistic practice at the present time, the latter characterized by
Zygmunt Bauman as the “condition in which rulers no longer can rule and
the ruled no longer wish to be ruled” . This context poses the need for
reassessing and rearticulating basic notions for the understanding of
western epistemologies such as progress, critique, nature-culture
relations, the very idea of state-nation and furthermore the museum and
the artistic institution. Therefore this panel suggests discussing ways
that manage (or that could manage) reorienting the activity of artistic
institutions in our contemporary world by implementing an “ecology of
knowledges” in the experimental and discursive field. Bearing in mind
that the “ecology of knowledges” understands
knowledge–as-intervention-in-reality a guiding question is: Which role
could the integration of various artistic practices (as knowledge
production) and their political agency play in the reconfiguration of
the artistic institution at present time?
Scientific Committee
Monica Juneja, Universität Heidelberg
Klara Kemp-Welch, The Courtauld Institute of Art, London
Béatrice Joyeux-Prunel, École Normale Supérieure, Paris
Maria Hlavajova, Basis Voor Akuele Kunst, Utrecht
Anna María Guasch, Universitat de Barcelona
Paula Barreiro López, Universitat de Barcelona
Nasheli Jiménez del Val, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico, D.F.

Organized by:

Anna Maria Guasch (UB), Paula Barreiro López (UB), and Nasheli Jiménez
del Val (UNAM, Mexico) and Christian M. Alonso (UB), within the
frameworks of the research groups Art, Globalization, Interculturality
(AGI: and
Decentralized Modernities: art, politics and counter-culture in the
transatlantic axis during the Cold War (MoDe(s) (HAR2014-53834-P)
( at the University
of Barcelona.

Aula Magna. Department of Art History, University of Barcelona (UB)
Auditorium. Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA)


How to submit
Papers, creative projects and other non-traditional presentations
exploring the aforementioned topics are welcome.

A completed application form (attached) including a 500 words abstract
and a short biography (300 words) should be submitted to one of the
panels throught the webpage AGI
or send to by 30 September 2015.

Authors will be notified of their acceptance for a panel, the
publication, or both, by 1 December 2015.

All abstract submissions (even if not selected for a panel
presentation) will be considered for the publication Global Art
Challenges: Towards an “Ecology of Knowledges”, an edited volume
presenting the results of this conference to be published by the
University of Barcelona.

Please note that at this time the conference organizers cannot provide
travel grants or accommodation stipends for presenters.

Appel à communication : The Alhambra in a Global Context (Zürich, 16-17 Sep 16)

The Power of Symbols. The Alhambra in a Global Context

International Conference
Prof. Dr. Francine Giese / Dr. Ariane Varela Braga (University of Zurich)

Deadline for submission: September 1, 2015

Keynote Speakers: Fernando Valdés Fernández (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid) / Pedro A. Galera Andreu (Universidad de Jaén)

In view of the current international globalisation debate this two-day conference intends to foster a re-interpretation of the Alhambra. Topics like the positioning of the Nasrid architecture in a global Islamic context, the phenomenon of cultural exchange on the Iberian Peninsula, the controversial debate of Orientalism after Said’s Orientalism (1978) or the political instrumentalisation of architecture will be the centre of attention.

Does the Alhambra – with its decorative motives and building techniques taken from the Islamic East, North Africa and the Christian Castile – not invite us to adopt a global point of view? Did the Alhambra of the 19th and early 20th century, famous through its neo-Nasrid buildings and interiors, not stand at the beginning of a global building tradition, which spread out to the New World? At the same time, the reception of the Alhambra raises conceptual questions. Has the significance of the Nasrid palace-town for the national identity of Christian Spain been perceived outside the Iberian Peninsula? Why did other nations, such as Brazil for instance, choose to represent themselves with neo-Nasrid pavilions atthe International World Exhibitions?

The world-wide fame of the Alhambra, that mostly relies upon British and French travellers of the 18th and 19th century, has however also its negative sides. How can the Nasrid palaces be conserved for future generations? Can the increasing pressure of the tourism industry be faced, and how? Which are the actual challenges that Granada, the Patronato and the international research community have to face?

The following four sections are planned:
– The Alhambra in Islamic Times
– The Alhambra and national identity
– The Alhambra in the World
– The Alhambra in the 21st century – New Challenges

Conferences will have a duration of 20 min. Conference languages will be German, English and French. Abstracts of no more than 300 words, together with a short CV, should be sent to:

Atelier 8 : « De l’objet-frontière à l’espace-frontière ». Paris, Maison Victor Hugo, lundi 8 juin 2015

Cliquez sur le lien ci-dessous pour découvrir le programme du 8e atelier qui aura lieu le lundi 8 juin 2015 à la Maison Victor Hugo (Paris) sur le thème « De l’objet-frontière à l’espace-frontière ».

Exogenèses – Programme atelier 8

Lecture Series on Textile Arts and Textility (Berlin, 28 May-15 Jul 15)

Berlin, Museum of Islamic Art and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin,
28.05. – 15.07.2015

Networks: Textile Arts and Textility in a Transcultural Perspective

May 28, 2015, 18:00 | Matthew Canepa, University of Minnesota
The Late Antique Kosmos: Textiles and the Transformation of Late
Antique Visual and Political Cultures of Power
Museum of Islamic Art, Mshatta-Hall, Am Kupfergraben 5 in 10117 Berlin

June 22, 2015, 18:00 | Marie-Louise Nosch, Centre for Textile Research,
Kleidergeschichten in der Späten Bronzezeit in der Ägäis und in
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, HS 3075, Unter den Linden 6 in 10099

July 7, 2015, 20:00 | Cécile Fromont, University of Chicago
Foreign Cloth, Local Habits: Textiles and the Art of Conversion in the
Early Modern Kingdom of Kongo
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, HS 3075, Unter den Linden 6 in 10099

July 15, 2015, 20:00 | Markus Ritter, University of Vienna
Kontext und Transfer in Westasien und Europa: Das Textil für Sultan Abu
Said von Iran und Gold-Seide-Stoffe mit arabischer Schrift im
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, HS 3075, Unter den Linden 6 in 10099

About Networks:

“Networks: Textile Arts and Textility in a Transcultural Perspective
(4th to 17th cent.)” is a research project directed by Prof. Dr.
Gerhard Wolf and based at the Institute of Art History and Visual
Studies at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Funded by the German
Research Foundation (DFG), its aim is to study the migration of
textiles throughout the globe, including raw materials, techniques and
patterns, as well as the representation of textiles in other media, in
territories including Asia, the Mediterranean, and Scandinavia from
Late Antiquity to the early modern period.

Within art history, textiles have traditionally held a marginal
position. The Networks project aims to give textiles the role in art
history that they deserve, especially in a moment when the field opens
to a global horizon. The project focuses on textiles themselves and
seeks to reconstruct their role as agents of cultural interaction: a
medium of easy transportability and high estimation in most societies,
textiles were a privileged field for the elaboration of cross-cultural
artistic languages. By encouraging a more intense dialogue among
various sub-disciplines of art history the project promotes new ways of
looking at textiles that connect these fields.

The Networks project studies the aesthetics of textiles with regards to
their materiality, surface structure, their ornaments and figurations,
including notions of framing, fragmentation and seriality, as well as
their performativity or motility. It concentrates on the intertwining
of aesthetics with systems of knowledge and the religious, political or
domestic functions of textiles as they wrapped bodies and articulated
spaces. Networks investigates the multi-faceted ‘biographies’ of
textile artifacts and the mythologies, historical discourses and
narratives of textiles throughout the centuries. Finally, networks
activates the concept of “textility,” exploring textile media as a
model for texts or a metaphor for “matter” or “world”, and for
“texture”, relating textiles to layout and multiple ways of interlacing
that occur, for example, in urbanism.

The Networks Lecture Series is organized by Vera-Simone Schulz and
Gerhard Wolf. It will be continued in autumn 2015.

All lectures are open to the public. For more information, click:

Discussion autour du livre : Frontières de sable, frontières de papier. Histoire de territoires et de frontières, du jihad de Sokoto à la colonisation française du Niger, XIXe-XXe siècles



L’institut des mondes africains vous invite à une séance de discussion autour du livre de Camille Lefebvre (CNRS, IMAF)
Avec la participation de :

– Barbara Cooper, Rutgers University (New Jersey) et Institut des Études avancées (Marriage in Maradi : Gender and Culture in a Hausa Society in Niger, Heinemann 1997 et Evangelical Christians in the Muslim Sahel, Indiana 2005)

– Isabelle Surun, université de Lille III et Institut des Études avancées (Géographies de l’exploration. La carte, le terrain et le texte. Afrique occidentale, 1780-1880, Th. 2003 et dir. Les sociétés coloniales à l’âge des Empires, Atlande, 2012).

– Romain Bertrand, CERI-Sciences Po (L’Histoire à parts égales. Récits d’une rencontre Orient-Occident. XVIe-XVIIe siècles, Le Seuil, 2011, prix des Rendez-vous de l’histoire de Blois 2012).

Coordination : Jean Schmitz (IRD, IMAF)

Les frontières africaines sont-elles les cicatrices de la violence des impérialismes étrangers en Afrique ? Ce lieu commun du partage de l’Afrique par les puissances coloniales a la vie dure. Mais, en cherchant à dénoncer l’arbitraire colonial, il fait des populations africaines des spectateurs passifs de leur propre histoire. Aux antipodes de cette analyse, cet ouvrage propose pour la première fois une histoire longue de la constitution des frontières d’un État africain – le Niger – englobant dans un même regard un siècle d’histoire antérieure à la colonisation et soixante ans de domination coloniale. Cet ouvrage raconte une histoire paradoxale, celle d’une poignée de militaires coloniaux, qui au début du XXe siècle instituent dans les plus grandes difficultés un gouvernement précaire qui s’appuie très largement sur les organisations politiques et territoriales locales et qui, ce faisant, contribuent à amoindrir leur importance. Le paradoxe est redoublé car ces frontières ayant été marquées par les dynamiques historiques internes du Soudan central au XIXe siècle, elles procèdent tout autant de l’immense califat de Sokoto issu du jihad d’Ousman dan Fodio (Nigeria actuel et au delà) au début du même siècle. On est loin du cliché d’Européens maîtres du jeu imposant sans considération le partage du monde.