Archives de l’intime : a theoretical and methodological approach
Round-Table Discussion organized by Edward Berenson (IFS, NYU) and Christelle Taraud (NYU Paris)
Friday, February 8, 2013
11:00 – 1:30 p.m.
La Maison Française of New York University
16 Washington Mews
New York, NY 10003
*Event in English and in French*
This roundtable discussion is inspired by the pioneering work of Ann Laura Stoler, known for her studies of intimate life and of the construction, interpretation, and use of archives. Along with Stoler, who will give the keynote talk, we will bring together a group of scholars who have each worked on what we have termed the Archives de l’intime, that is, on sources that illuminate the mechanisms of regulation and control of intimate life, both in France and in its colonies.
Our discussion will begin with a consideration of the concept of “the intimate” and how its use might enable us to rethink the categories “national” and “colonial,” “France” and “Outre-Mer,” and the relationships between them. Our next task will be to discuss how scholars should work with the “Archives de l’intime.” The different possibilities include: the effort to bring together sources originally meant to be distinct; to place different sources in tension with one another; and/or to unravel them from within by examining their gaps, silences, paradoxes, and what they may have left unthought. In all of these efforts, it is crucial to consider these archives in relation to agents of power and as strategic and privileged sites for the production of normative discourses and official knowledge. In doing so, we will reflect on Stoler’s idea that scholars should question the very nature of these archives, seeing them differently from the way we usually do historical sources. Les Archives de l’intime, according to Storler, are virtual and protean in ways that might make possible a new kind of history.
Our six participants, Emily Apter, Edward Berenson, Claudie Bernard, Todd Shepard, Judith Surkis and Christelle Taraud, will each take ten minutes or so to consider what they take to be the most promising methodological and theoretical possibilities that emerge from the Archives de l’intime.
11:00-11:10 a.m. – Opening Remarks, by Edward Berenson (in English)
11:10-12:00 a.m. – Keynote Lecture, by Ann Laura Stoler (in English)
12:00-1:00 p.m.: Round Table Discussion, with Emily Apter, Edward Berenson, Claudie Bernard, Todd Shepard, Ann Laura Stoler, Judith Surkis and Christelle Taraud (in English and French)
1:00-1:30 p.m.: Q&A (in English), and Concluding Remarks by Christelle Taraud (in French)
Emily Apter is Professor of French, and Comparative Literature (NYU). Her recent work has focused on the problem of self-property and self-ownership, literary world-systems and the translatability of genres, and how to think about translation as a form of intellectual labor. Her most recent books include: The Translation Zone: A New Comparative Literature (2006), Continental Drift: From National Characters to Virtual Subjects (1999). She is currently completing two books: “Politics small p:” Essays on the Society of Calculation (Stanford UP) and Against World Literature?: On the Politics of Untranslatability (Verso).
Edward Berenson is Professor of History and director of NYU’s Institute of French Studies. He has mostly worked on nineteenth and twentieth century France, but his recent research is comparative and transnational. His most recent books include: Heroes of Empire: Five Charismatic Men and the Conquest of Africa (2010); Constructing Charisma: Fame, Celebrity and Power in 19th-Century Europe, co-edited with E. Giloi (2010); The French Republic: History, Values, Debates (co-edited with V. Duclert and C. Prochasson, 2011); The Statue of Liberty. A Transatlantic Story (2012).
Claudie Bernard is Professor of French (NYU). She works on 19th-century literature and society, with a specific focus on history and the novel, the representation of family and the question of justice.Her books include: Penser la famille au XIXe siècle (PU Saint-Etienne, 2007); Le Passé recomposé, le roman historique français au dix-neuvième siècle (1996).
Todd Shepard is Associate professor of History (Johns Hopkins). He works on 20th-century France and the French Empire, with a focus on how imperialism intersects with histories of national identity, state institutions, race, and sexuality. His first book, The Invention of Decolonization: The Algerian War and the Remaking of France (2006), is a history of the close of the Algerian War and the difficult re-negotiation of French state structures and national identity that resulted. He is completing France, Sex, and “Arabs,” 1962 to 1979, a manuscript that explores how “sexual Orientalism” re-emerged in post-decolonization French politics and discussions.
Ann Laura Stoler is Willy Brandt Distinguished University Professor of Anthropology and Historical Studies at The New School for Social Research in New York. She has worked on colonial governance, racial epistemologies, and the sexual politics of empire. Her books include: Race and the Education of Desire (1995), Carnal Knowledge and Imperial Power (2002), Along the Archival Grain (2009), and the edited volumes, Tensions of Empire, with Frederic Cooper (1997), Haunted by Empire (2006).
Judith Surkis is Associate Professor of History at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. Her current book project, Scandalous Subjects: Intimacy and Indecency in France and French Algeria, 1830-1930, explores the role of law and gender in Algerian colonization. She is also the author of Sexing the Citizen: Morality and Masculinity in France, 1870-1920 (Cornell, 2006).
Christelle Taraud is Professor of History at New York University in Paris. She works on women, gender and sexuality in the colonial Maghreb. Her books include: La prostitution coloniale. Algérie, Tunisie, Maroc, 1830-1962 (2003, reed. 2009), Mauresques. Femmes orientales dans la photographie coloniale (1860-1910) (2003), « Amour interdit ». Prostitution, marginalité et colonialisme. Maghreb 1830-1962 (2012). Sexe et colonies. Virilité, homosexualité et tourisme sexuel au Maghreb (1830-1962) is coming out with Payot in 2013.