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Past Events

  • Friday, October 16, 2015, 9:00 a.m.


    This international workshop is the last of a series of meetings meant to address these questions and explore the transformation of our understanding of sovereign decision-making in the 20th century.

  • Tuesday, September 29, 2015, 12:30 p.m.

    New discoveries

    CIRHUS, September 29, Randall White discusses new discoveries of Prehistoric art

  • Thursday, June 25, 2015, 12:30 p.m.

    Why “migration”?

    CIRHUS, Deans' Conference Room, 2nd floor

    In recent years, a number of reports issued by international organizations have associated “migration” with “mobility”. Why is “migration” thought to be so different from mobility?

  • Monday, July 13, 2015, 12:00 a.m.

    CFP: Futures of Intellectual History

    The Remarque Institute invites graduate students to submit proposals for the Futures of Intellectual History graduate student conference to take place at New York University on October 23-24th, 2015.

  • Wednesday, July 1, 2015, 12:30 p.m.

    History of Science as a Profession

    CIRHUS, Deans' Conference Room, 2nd floor

    This presentation will analyze the connections between scientific activity and the history of science in order to understand how the latter emerged as a profession in its own right.

  • Wednesday, May 6, 2015, 12:30 p.m.

    How to research human trafficking?

    CIRHUS?, Deans' Conference Room, 2nd floor?

    What are the ethnographic challenges and difficulties regarding research in human trafficking? “Victims of human trafficking” is a controversial category. It encompasses people who, because of prostitution activities or an undocumented migrant status, are often considered both as victims and criminals.

  • Wednesday, April 22, 2015, 6:30 p.m.

    Covering West Africa: Photojournalism in times of conflict

    Meyer Hall, 4 Washington Place, Room 121

    This conference will bring together photo editors, photojournalists and visual scholars to discuss the visual representations of West Africa at a time of popular unrests and wars. It will also investigate the professional challenges faced by foreign and local correspondents in covering and depicting current conflicts for global audiences.

  • Monday, March 23, 2015, 5:30 p.m.

    A Year in Prehistoric Time. Seasonality, Subsistence, Mobility.

    CIRHUS, 4 Washington Square North, 2nd Floor

    In prehistoric as well as in historical times, intra-annual variations and changes in environmental conditions, food resource availability, residential mobility, etc., directly impacted social and economic activities. Here, we propose examples of seasonal studies from Neandertal hunter-gatherers, and Neolithic agro-pastoralists, to discuss how past human populations coped with two different sets of environmental constraints: the major climatic fluctuations (MIS4 and 3) and prey replacements for the former, and the brand new seasonal challenges raised by the adoption of a food- producing economy for the latter.

  • Thursday, March 19, 2015, 12:30 p.m.

    Would you be friends or colleagues with a robot?

    CIRHUS, Dean's Conference Room, 2nd floor

    The worldwide population of elderly people is growing rapidly and in the coming decades the proportion of older people in the developed countries will change significantly. This demographic shift will create a huge increase in demand for domestic and health-care services and this in turn has the potential to create a major new market for domestic and/or assistive robots that can assist and support of the elderly. In the same way, the utilization of robotics in military is well known: they are robust, they are obedient, they are daring, and they don’t have fear of death. READ MORE.

  • Friday, March 20, 2015, 9:45 a.m.

    Dissecting Society. Periodical Literature and Social Observation

    CIRHUS, Dean's Conference Room, 2nd floor

    Starting in the late 1820s, a vast amount of short literary pieces on cultural manners, social types and societal developments appeared in the periodical press in Europe and beyond. This literary phenomenon was also reflecting developments in statistics, sociology and ethnography. This one-day workshop aims at stimulating an interdisciplinary and transnational approach to this literary corpus, in order to reconsider its place and its role in the emergence of the social sciences. Click to see more.

  • Tuesday, March 3, 2015, 12:30 p.m.

    Paths of Dignity: Visual Representations of Colonial Africa

    La Maison Française, NYU

    Photographers from the imperial era have left abundant images that give access to colonial history as it was lived and forged by European settlers and African people. Dr. Jean-Philippe Dedieu, CIRHUS Research Fellow at New York University, who has built one of the most important French private collections of photographs from this period, will analyze past and contemporary issues regarding visual representations for African societies and diasporas. Cultural and racial stereotypes that were constructed in the imperial age continue to shape and distort Western contemporary eyes. While Europe is currently submerged in a tide of mounting xenophobia towards its post-colonial migrants. the history of photography in Africa reminds us that the fight must engage not only at the level of the law, but also at the crucial level of representation.

  • Monday, March 30, 2015, 6:00 p.m.

    Abram de Swaan: Genocidal regimes and their perpetrators

    CIRHUS, Dean's Conference Room, 2nd floor

    Abram De Swaan will talk about his new book The Killing Compartments; The Mentality of Mass Murder (Yale U.P., Jan 2015).

  • Thursday, February 26, 2015, 12:30 p.m.

    “Water wars” in the Western United States

    CIRHUS, Dean's Conference Room, 2nd floor

    This talk will focus on “water wars” in the Western United States, a region whose economic development has been based on the exploitation of natural resources. Public policies in the urban East, developed through programs implemented by federal agencies, have contributed to the setting up of water infrastructures which have gradually transformed the semi-arid West into the bread basket of the East, and, later, into a thriving and autonomous center of economic development. Yet, centralized decision-making authorities have come up against powerful collective resistance. This talk will explore the diversity of actors involved in the management of water scarcity, and highlight analytical principles applicable to a sociology of the environment, taking into account the multiple layers of institutions and instruments that contribute to the framework of water policies regarding cross border issues.

  • Wednesday, December 3, 2014, 6:30 p.m.

    Metropolitics: a critical online journal of urban issues

    CIRHUS, Dean's Conference Room, 2nd floor

    Metropolitics/Metropolitiques is a peer-reviewed on-line journal dedicated to the publication of engaging, relevant short-form work that enhances public debate about the city, architecture, planning, and urban space. ​ READ MORE

  • Friday, November 21, 2014, 12:30 p.m.

    The Historical Epistemology of Alexandre Koyré

    CIRHUS, Dean's Conference Room, 2nd floor

    The historical epistemology of Alexandre Koyré is still poorly understood. Thanks to Koyré, the notion of "scientific revolution" became one of the most popular notion in the history of science as an academic field, but, surprisingly, it did not generate a strong interest in Koyré's work. He is still commonly considered either as a follower of his contemporary Gaston Bachelard, or as a precursor of Thomas Kuhn.

  • Tuesday, November 11, 2014, 12:30 p.m.

    Blood Money and the Anthropology of Law: North African Examples

    Kriser Room, Department of Anthropology, Rufas D. Smith Hall, 25 Waverly Place

    The payment of blood money--compensation for homicide or bodily injury—is a practice found in many societies and many historical periods. It engages fundamental understandings about the meanings and value attributed to human life. For this reason, it has attracted the attention of many early or more contemporary anthropologists interested in the mechanisms of conflict settlement and more broadly in the legal arrangements in the societies they have analyzed. Yet, if blood money is mentioned in many anthropological works, it has never been the central focus of any. This topic nonetheless provides an effective entry point for thinking about cross-cultural variations in notions of crime/tort and conciliation/reconciliation. Focusing on the Algerian and Sudanese contexts, this talk will outline a comprehensive and comparative approach to blood money in the field of the anthropology of law.

  • Friday, October 31, 2014, 9:30 a.m.

    Cross-disciplinary Ventures in Post-war American Social Science

    CIRHUS, Deans' Conference Room, 2nd floor

    This workshop will examine the different ways in which interdisciplinarity was understood and practiced in postwar social science. Interdisciplinarity has never been a univocal notion, and the study of interdisciplinary projects involving social scientists in postwar American universities shows that these projects were based upon very different notions of what constituted meaningful cross-disciplinary collaboration. Recovering these historical forms of interdisciplinarity also sheds light on the current articulation between disciplines in the research university.

  • Thursday, October 23, 2014, 12:30 p.m.

    Criminal Records and Public Housing in East New York.

    CIRHUS, Dean's Conference Room, 2nd floor

    In this presentation, François Bonnet (CNRS, Pacte) analyzes the consequences of legislation regulating access to public housing. In the 1990s, American lawmakers have gradually imposed stricter bans on people with criminal records in public housing. Because American criminal justice mass-produces people with criminal records, every year millions of people in need are kept out of affordable housing. The situation has perverse consequences for Public Housing Authorities, which must evict tenants who host people with criminal records; for supervision agencies like Parole, for which tracking parolees is made more difficult, and for cities, because of the resulting homelessness.

  • Monday, November 3, 2014, 9:30 a.m.

    Alexandre Koyré: Transatlantic Perspectives

    La Maison Française, 16 Washington Mews

    This symposium commemorates the 50th anniversary of Koyré's death by focusing on his legacy in the United States. In the 1950s and 1960s, pioneers of the history of science such as Thomas S. Kuhn, I. B. Cohen, Marshall Clagett, Gérald Holton or Charles Gillispie have all admitted his influence on the discipline. The participants will discuss Koyré's impact on the American intellectual landscape and the reception of his ideas among the historians and philosophers who sought to professionalize the teaching of the history of science in the United States. This event is organized by CIRHUS in partnership with La Maison Française, with the support of the Gallatin School and NYU Global Research Initiatives. Please RSVP before Oct. 29 at

  • Tuesday, September 23, 2014, 9:30 a.m.

    Historiography of International Relations Theory Workshop

    CIRHUS, Deans' Conference Room, 2nd floor

    For the past fifteen years, International Relations has been experiencing a historical turn and has witnessed the development of a small, yet robust and rapidly expanding subfield of disciplinary history. Against the textbook history of “great debates” or the myth of a realist tradition going back to Thucydides or Machiavelli, this new disciplinary history has challenged the self-image of the discipline as well as its official boundaries. How is this historiography revisiting the genealogy of the “international”? Can it transform its teaching and practice of the discipline? How is it related – if at all – to the international turn in intellectual history or to the emerging history of international law? What are the methodological issues it faces?

  • Tuesday, June 17, 2014, 5:00 p.m.

    Conceptualizing “party politics” as science

    CIRHUS, Deans' Conference Room, 2nd floor

    The research program that will be presented deals with the institutionalization of a theory of “party politics” during the Cold War. It aims at elaborating a sociological history of the transnational networks of scholars who fostered the study of “party politics” as a science. Its focus is on the various committees specialized in the study of political parties that were created during the 1950s and 60s, thanks to various sources of funding (such as philanthropic foundations or the UNESCO, among others). This work-in-progress is based on archival material and interviews and fits into a broader post-doctoral project concerned with the conceptual and utilitarian links between party politics and democracy.

  • Thursday, June 12, 2014, 5:00 p.m.

    L'EHESS et la politique scientifique de la Fondation Rockefeller

    CIRHUS, Deans' Conference Room, 2nd floor

    Before the end of World War II, the Social Sciences division (SSD) of the Rockefeller foundation launched a program meant to renew the social science disciplines. The program had two features: The first consisted in making the social sciences more relevant in terms of addressing social issues. The second was a systematic approach to mapping out the fields in which the social sciences were supposed to make a difference. These two defining features of the SSD policy shed new light on the early years of the Sixth Section of the Ecole Pratique des Haute Etudes, the future EHESS.

  • Tuesday, May 20, 2014, 9:30 a.m.

    Decisionism, then and now

    CNRS Campus, 3 Rue Michel Ange, 75016 Paris, Room K S1 223 (Green Room)

    While the notion of decisionism is generally associated with Carl Schmitt, it also refers to a specific understanding of politics that was pervasive in the writings of jurists, sociologists and political thinkers of the Weimar era. The aim of this one day workshop it to bring together scholars from various disciplines to explore and discuss the different forms and the legacies of decisionism in 20th century political thought, social science and political practice.

  • Thursday, May 22, 2014, 10:30 a.m.

    Pan-Africanism in Academia: John Henrik Clarke and the AHSA

    CIRHUS, Dean's Conference Room, 2nd floor

    At the 1969 African Studies Association annual meeting in Montreal, a group of Black intellectuals, soon referred to as the « Black caucus », challenged what they described as the neo-colonial functioning of the organization and pressed for greater Black representation within its leadership. Read more.

  • Wednesday, May 7, 2014, 10:30 a.m.

    Nathalie Montoya: "Cultural policies and art education"

    CIRHUS, Deans' Conference Room, 2nd floor

    American cultural policies are often described as fragmented, barely visible, incomplete and extremely diverse. Their forms, values, and logic have been subject to continuing debate for the past ten years. Despite a rich literature on the subject, experiences actually built by cultural and social organizations around works of art have barely been analyzed. Policy debates about art education offer a substantial ground to understand how experiences of art have been shaped and framed through the past fifty years in America.

  • Thursday, May 1, 2014, 5:00 p.m.

    A History of Behavioral Economics

    CIRHUS, Dean's Conference Room, 2nd floor

    What explains the emergence of Behavioural Economics as a distinct disciplinary field? This talk will cover the multiple contexts in which this field originated, from the Kahneman/Tversky collaboration to the establishment of the ‘Behavioral Economics Program’ funded by the Sloan and Russell Sage foundations, tying it specifically to the social and political contexts of the newly established state of Israel on the one hand and the USA in the mid-1980’s on the other.

  • Thursday, April 17, 2014, 5:00 p.m.

    Philanthropic Domination

    CIRHUS - Dean's Conference Room - 2nd floor

    Why did the US adaptations of Max Weber’s ideas prevail in Spanish-speakingcountries despite preexisting local translations? In several Spanish-speaking countries, local Weber interpretations, based on translations like Economía y sociedad (México DF, 1944) were replaced by the US adaptations. In the US but also elsewhere, the reception of Weber’s oeuvre was dependent upon a number of adaptations, primarily Talcott Parsons’ structural functionalism and its sequel, Gabriel Almond’s theory of political development, which was devised within the SSRC Committee on Comparative Politics and became predominant in Argentina as early as 1960. By contrast, neither autochthonous foreign nor interpretations took firm roots in Mexico until the 1980s, with only one exception, Hans Morgenthau’s theory of international relations, which also received some support from the SSRC. The talk will highlight the role of the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations and of their the local institutional relays in explaining these patterns of diffusion and translation of sociological theory in Argentina, Mexico, and Spain.

  • Thursday, April 17, 2014, 10:00 a.m.

    Vincent Debiais, “Empty: The Inscription of Blankness”

    King Juan Carlos Center, 701 (co-sponsored by the Department of History)

    Inscriptions carved or engraved on wood, metal and stone are omnipresent in medieval practices of writing and reading. They are the monumental parts of the textual networks defining medieval graphic landscapes. Inscriptions have been used for many reasons during the Middle Ages and they answered different objectives of communication thanks to the content of texts and the visual impact of epigraphic objects. Because these two aspects have usually been separated in European research on the topic, the presentation will demonstrate how the dialogue between content and form operate in medieval inscriptions. Throughout some examples inscribed in France during 11th and 12th centuries, it will emphasize in particular some implications of epigraphic writing in medieval Law and Romanesque Aesthetics around the notions of evidence, absence, blankness and silence.

  • Thursday, April 10, 2014, 10:30 a.m.

    The false start in economic analyses of law

    CIRHUS - Dean's Conference Room - 2nd floor

    Most of the historical works on “law and economics” focus on the origins of the movement (the 1940s and 1950s) or on its wide recognition (in the 1970s) by economists and legal scholars. Not much has been written about the 1960s and, quite surprisingly, on what happened at the University of Chicago. In this talk, Alain Marciano will focus on the work of two dissenters: law professors, Walter J. Blum and Harry Kalven, Jr. Although immersed in economics and interacting with the main actors of the law and economics movement in the early 1950s, they rejected economics as a possible and useful help for solving legal problems. In other words, they rejected the idea of an “economic analysis of law” that Posner and Landes and Ehrlich would “invent” in the early 1970s.

  • Tuesday, April 8, 2014, 3:30 p.m.

    Slavery and political participation in the Haalpulaar society

    CIRHUS, Dean's conference room, 2nd floor

    Democratic reform and decentralization in Mauritania have allowed members of subordinate groups to gain access to political positions since the 1990s. The institution of the right to vote has played a key role in the emancipation of these groups; however various forms of resistance to discrimination in other fields of social life have, in many ways, been just as important as democratic voting. This presentation will show how despite the persistence of formal hierarchies, social categories are being renegotiated and local powers recomposed.

  • Friday, April 4, 2014 – Saturday, April 5, 2014

    Language and Colonialism

    Location: CIRHUS - Dean's Conference Room, 2nd floor

    This international workshop examines the relationship between language and processes of colonization and decolonization as articulated in policies, ideologies, and everyday practices.

  • Wednesday, March 5, 2014, 5:30 p.m.

    Book presentation: The Sovereign Citizen by Patrick Weil

    NYU - Jurow Lecture Hall, Silver Center, 100 Washington Square East

    Please join us for a discussion with Patrick Weil (CNRS, Paris I and CIRHUS) and Michel Rosenfeld (Cardozo Law School, Yeshiva University) of Weil's newest publication The Sovereign Citizen, which deals with the denaturalization of American citizens based on political grounds, beginning with the infamous 1909 case of Emma Goldman. If interested in attending, please RSVP to

  • Tuesday, February 11, 2014, 10:00 a.m.

    Halbwachs's collective memory: a foundation for memory studies?

    Location: CIRHUS - Dean's Conference Room, 2nd floor

    For the past three decades, a renewed interest in “memory” has been felt across the social science and the humanities. It culminates in the current efforts to establish “memory studies” as an integrated field of research. Can contemporary “memory studies” claim Maurice Halbwachs as their founding father? Going back to Halbwachs' work on collective memory, Sarah Gensburger shows that it can lead to a very different research program, in which memory is studied with the methods of general sociology.

  • Monday, February 10, 2014, 7:00 p.m.

    Robbing the Jews in WWII Paris: Places, Traces, and Images

    Location: La Maison Française - 16 Washington Mews

    Roundtable discussion. Several “discoveries” of paintings taken from the Jews by the Nazis during World War II have been taking place since the late 1990s,but these discoveries and their media coverage do not give an accurate image of anti-Semitic looting during that period. The upcoming release of George Clooney’s movie Monuments Men (February 2014) provides an opportunity to delve into the politics and everyday practices of plunder, which were at once more banal and more widespread than the focus on the art masterpieces suggests. This event is co-sponsored by La Maison Française, Institute of French Studies, CIRHUS, and Dean for the Humanities

  • Thursday, January 16, 2014, 10:00 a.m.

    A Cultural History of Architecture and Urbanism in the Sun

    Location: CIRHUS - Dean's Conference Room

    CIRHUS fellow Daniel Siret (Graduate School of Architecture of Nantes) will talk about the relationship between societies and solar radiation as a cultural phenomenon that directly influences their symbolic, social and material productions, and particularly the way in which they design their architectural and urban environment. This phenomenon warrants the project of a cultural history of sun-oriented architecture and urbanism, with a particular focus on the North-American context at the turn of the twentieth century. PLEASE NOTE: this talk will be given in French

  • Wednesday, November 6, 2013, 12:30 p.m.

    Beyond Style

    Dean's Conference Room

    Join us for a lunch seminar on "Beyond Style. Modalities of representation in Northwest Coast art", organized by Marie Mauzé (CNRS)

  • Wednesday, November 20, 2013, 9:30 a.m.

    7th ANR Workshop

    The 7th ANR Workshop on Cross-disciplinary Research Ventures in Post-war American Social Science will be held at CIRHUS on Wednesday, November 20th.

  • Thursday, September 12, 2013, 2:00 p.m.

    Roundtable: Gender and the Subway Experience

  • Photo: Staff officers discuss convoy movements in the Operations Room at HQ Western Approaches Command, Derby House, Liverpool, September 1944. A25742 © Imperial War Museum

    Monday, May 20, 2013 – Tuesday, May 21, 2013

    The Rise of the Decision Sciences

    4 Washington Square N, 2nd Floor

  • Thursday, April 25, 2013, 9:15 a.m.

    Objects from Abroad: The Life of Exotic Goods in France & the US

    4 Washington Square N, 2nd Floor

  • Monday, April 22, 2013, 5:00 p.m.

    Inaugural Reception

    Please join us for our inaugural reception on Monday 22 April, 5-7pm. RSVP to

  • Monday, April 8, 2013 – Wednesday, April 10, 2013

    Symposium: Aurignacian Genius

    Hemmerdringer Hall and Kimmel Center