Representation and power

April 27, 2017 | By HIGHER EDUCATION NY

Representation and power

Project

2017 Project submitted by John Hopkins | Embassy of France support: $ 6000

Project coordinators: Jacques Neefs and Derek Schilling

Summary of the Project

The Centre Louis Marin was created in 1992. To mark its twenty-fifth anniversary, we want to emphasize one of its principal continuing functions since its founding as well as for the years to come: bringing together senior and junior researchers (including doctoral students) who work in a variety of disciplines linked to the Humanities and who have developed theoretical research programs of crucial importance in these areas.

The Centre Louis Marin was created in the tradition of theoretical innovation and modernity specific to Johns Hopkins University, a longstanding tradition bolstered by vigorous exchanges between American and French scholars that harken back to the famous symposium of 1966 “The Structuralist Controversy: The Languages of Criticism and the Sciences of Man.” The colloquium brought together, on these shores, a great number of the most eminent and inventive French theorists of the second half of the twentieth century, including Lacan, Girard, Derrida, Barthes, Goldman, and Vernant. Subsequently, French scholars who had and still have a great influence in North America, including Marcel Detienne, Jacques Derrida, and Louis Marin, came to Johns Hopkins as visiting professors. Louis Marin (1931-1992) developed, particularly in the United States, at Johns Hopkins to which he came from University of California – San Diego, an entirely original, rigorous semiological approach to history, literature, art history, and the history of ideas that emphasized the links of each of these domains to the political sphere. That is why the founders of the Centre, in particular, Professor Stephen Nichols, chose to give it his name.

The aim of the present project is to engage in collective reflection and critical actualization of theories considered over the long term, ideas that were developed through exchanges between research cultures and relayed by successive generations of scholars. What life does a specific intellectual legacy take on within the shifting parameters of our disciplines? Featuring as a keynote speaker the eminent historian of cultures and Professor at the Collège de France Patrick Boucheron, the colloquium will feature highly significant figures in the history of ideas (Anselm Haverkamp, NYU and Munich; Timothy Murray, Cornell), in the history of art, the theater, and the book (Tom Conley, Harvard; Sylvaine Guyot, Harvard; Joan DeJean, University of Pennsylvania), including several who studied with Louis Marin, Pierre Antoine Fabre and Giovanni Careri (EHESS, Paris), as well as colleagues from Johns Hopkins who has the opportunity to study or work with Louis Marin in Baltimore (Jean McGarry, Stephen Nichols, Michael Fried, Neil Hertz). Our chosen subject, “Power and Representation,” is intimately linked to Louis Marin’s work. Importantly, it opens up the current critical questioning of the working of power in relation to discourse, to images, to books, and to esthetics. It is our conviction that Louis Marin’s vast body of work, which highlighted the power dynamics of Old Regime European society through its peculiar cultural artifacts – ranging from medallions and popular tales to court portraits, landscapes, and maps, constitutes a crucial interrogation for modern times.

participating centers