Colloque Enacting heritage: aesthetics, creation and cultural transmission

International Conference

Enacting heritage: aesthetics, creation and cultural transmission



January, 25th – 26th 2018

Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac, Paris


Organizing Committee

Lorenzo Bartalesi (Marie Skłodowska-Curie, EHESS)

Jean-Marie Schaeffer (CRAL, EHESS,CNRS)


Institutional Partners:

Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions (Horizon 2020) – European Commission

Project IRIS Creation, cognition, societé, Paris Sciences et Lettres (PSL),

École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS)

Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac



Archaeological reports provide fully illustrated accounts of how aesthetic behaviours and expressive activities have carried out an important role in shaping the human cultural evolution at least since the first millennia of upper Palaeolithic. There is a rich ethnographic literature that describes how these activities are cross-culturally involved in magical, religious and political contexts where the knowledge of a social group is internalized in the bodies and affects of the components of community. Therefore, we could reasonably suppose that aesthetic cognition contributes to the cultural emergence and transmission of ideas, practices and norms objectified in the forms and figures of human cultural expression (artefacts, figurative and symbolic representations, performative practices).

Despite the fact that in multiple contexts aesthetic activation of artefacts, images or performances supports and enhances the efficacy of the process of cultural transmission and reproduction, anthropology has only very scarcely studied the cognitive and affective dynamics whereby aesthetic behaviours shape the constitution and re-enactment of cultural heritage. A study of the complex interaction between aesthetics as a historically instantiated specific style of cognitive and emotive experience and the creative and expressive behaviours is all the more necessary because it will help us to gain a better understanding of two basic aspects of human cultures: the generation of cultural diversity and the nature of social continuity.


The aim of the international conference is to address these questions by dealing in an interdisciplinary way with key issues relating to how aesthetic conducts and expressive behaviours are mobilized in the course of social interaction creatively transforming and communicating knowledge.


The conference will consist of three sessions of three or four 45 minutes speeches, followed by a discussion. English and French will be the official languages.

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