Appel à communication : « En exil : intellectuels, artistes, et universités / In Exile: Intellectuals, Artists, and Universities » (Paris, 6-7 octobre 2016)

Ernst Gombrich devant le Warburg Institute de LondresParsons Paris and The New School for Social Research invite submissions for an international symposium dedicated to the transatlantic exchanges between intellectuals, artists, and institutions of learning  from the late 19th century to the present. Taking as a point of departure the intellectual exiles of World War II, this symposium commemorates the foundation of ‘universities in exile’ hosted by the New School for Social Research in New York to accommodate academic refugees from Germany, France and Western Europe. Of particular interest is the foundation of the École Libre des Hautes Études (1940-46) for Franco-Belgian exiles at the New School, which facilitated such notable intellectual exchanges as those between anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss and linguist Roman Jakobson whose groundbreaking work established structuralism as a new methodology in the social sciences.

While the École Libre of the 1940s was a major wartime accomplishment that deserves celebration and scrutiny, this symposium seeks to contextualize this episode within past and present debates surrounding political exile, mass migration and cultural transfer. By inviting scholars from a broad range of disciplines including the social sciences, sociology, art history, literature, political and diplomatic history, etc., the symposium will foster critical reflection on the specific status given to the figure of the migrating scholar, artist or intellectual. Can the universities in exile of WWII be considered seminal for the rise of a global academia? How did the transatlantic relationships between European and American scholars and research institutions develop in the second half of the 20th century? What is the legacy of these institutions in light of recent trends in the globalization of teaching and research institutions?

Though the primary focus of the symposium will be the intellectual exchanges between France and the US, it will also take into consideration wider networks and global trajectories. While monographic approaches are naturally welcome, the symposium also encourages triangulated approaches to artistic migration or cultural transfer in addition to case studies rooted in historical moments from the late 19th century to the present time. Finally, how might the intellectual and institutional history of exile shed light on the contemporary “migrant crisis” taking place today along the US-Mexico border, across the Mediterranean, and over the Balkan land routes into the European Union? How do contemporary discourses concerning these migrations force us to reconsider the specific status granted to intellectuals, scholars and artists—in other words, on what grounds are individual and groups of exiles perceived positively or negatively?

The official languages of the symposium will be English and French. Possible topics include – but are by no means limited to – the following:

* Historical case studies of transatlantic migrations from the late 19th century to the present (due to politics, revolutions, war, etc.)
* Exile of scholars, intellectuals and artists fleeing the Nazi regime and those of its allies in Italy, Spain and other countries (1933–1945)
* Immigration of scholars, intellectuals and artists to European countries and the Americas after World War II (1945 until today)
* Exile of artists & scholars under Communist rule (1917–1989)
* Tropes of exile and migration as conceptualized within contemporary art history & literature
* South-East Asian and Middle-Eastern refugees in Europe and the US from the 1970s onwards
* Triangulated transatlantic migrations through Africa and South America in the 19th and 20th centuries
* Internationalism and globalization in politics, academia and the arts
* Critical appraisal of the artist, scholar or intellectual as “universal” figures, or “citizens of the world”
* Politically motivated exile and the phenomenon of “brain drain”
* Discourses and political practices of welcoming exiles
* Political, cultural and personal escapism and expression
* Decolonization and postcolonial migration
* Intellectual, artistic, & mass migrations today

This symposium is supported by the Florence Gould Foundation. Select papers from the symposium will be included in a publication on “Transatlantic Responses to the Refugee Crisis: Then and Now”, a project supported by the Rockefeller Foundation.

Funding may be available to help defray travel and lodging costs.

Please send an abstract (max. 500 words), title, and CV to Emmanuel Guy, (, Stephanie Nadalo ( and Emmanuel Cohen ( by April 30th, 2016.

Successful candidates will be notified by e-mail by June 30th, 2016. Presentations should be 20 minutes in length.

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