Paris – Cambridge Archaeology Seminar. Epistemological dialogues Series – with Emmanuelle Honoré

Last month was launched the Paris – Cambridge archaeology seminar, a bi-national series of exchange seminars, held both in Cambridge and Paris, and with a focus on the epistemologies of Prehistory.  “Inside prehistoric societies: dialogue on the epistemologies of prehistory” is an initiative to bridge the gap between those two separated traditions of thought. Coordinated by Dr Emmanuelle Honoré (currently a  Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellow) this series consist of six sessions, on which a Cambridge speaker will be mirrored by a Paris speaker.
From left to right: Jacques Pelegrin, Graeme Barker, Emmanuelle Honoré & Sophie Archambault de Beaune, respectively chairman, speaker, organizer and speaker at the 17 Nov session in Paris-Nanterre

So I took the opportunity to ask Emmanuelle about her experience with managing not just a seminar series, but an international one too.

Why a Cambridge-Paris seminar? 

It all began with the shift I have experienced moving from Paris to Cambridge 3 years ago for my first post-doc. I already had knowledge of the differences in the way we think about archaeology, and the way we do Prehistory,on both sides of the Channel. But nonetheless I quickly experienced an intellectual jet-lag. The idea of this exchange seminar thus originated in my wish to reconcile two ways of thinking that otherwise could have led me to schizophrenia. This seminar is the occasion to see if there is virtually quite no exaggeration in this statement or if we share more than it looks.

In what way the time you spent in Cambridge inspired you with the idea for this seminar- if it did?

The Paris-Cambridge seminar is a new initiative in its form, but the intellectual exchange is not new. Besides individual collaborations, I have had the echoe by Françoise Audouze that Sander van der Leeuw, while he was lecturer in Cambridge from the mid 80’s to the mid 90’s, organized such a seminar between Cambridge and l’Université Paris 1, for which he invited French researchers like Jean-Paul Demoule, Annick Coudart, Serge Cleuziou and Pierre Lemonnier. Cyprian Broodbank also reminded me that Nathan Schlanger when he was a Cambridge student started to launch such a project of exchange as well, and the event was prevented to happen because of the administrative complexity – which is a very French speciality.

What did it take for such a seminar to take shape?

I have been able to experience myself the difficulties for organizing such a binational seminar as it took me 2 years of efforts to make the exchange happen, and I want to express my warmest thanks to the institutions and people who made it possible: The European Union under the Research and Innovation Programme H2020. Merci au McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research in Cambridge: Cyprian and Sally, Emma, Trish, Laure- thank you very much for your support! The research team Ethnologie Préhistorique at the CNRS, with which the exchange is made. And my thanks go without reservation to the participants!

Enrico Crema’s talk at the 20 Oct session in Cambridge


The next meeting in the series takes place this Friday 24 Nov (2.30 – 4.30. McDonald Seminar room) with the topic: Approaching identity and individuality in Prehistory.  Speakers: Dr  Fanny Bocquentin (CNRS, France), Prof Marie Louise Sorensen (Univ. Cambridge), and chaired by Dr Marianne Hem Eriksen (Univ. Cambridge).

This will be followed by the meeting on  Thursday 7 Dec (11 pm to 1 am. McDonald Seminar room): What approaches to understand hunting techniques? with Dr Ludovic Mevel (CNRS, France), Dr Olivier Bignon-Lau (CNRS, France), Dr Preston Miracle (Univ. Cambridge), and chaired by Dr Luc Moreau (Univ. Cambridge).



The 27 Oct session in the seminar room at Paris-Nanterre
John Robb’s talk at the 27 Oct session in Paris-Nanterre
Fiona Kildea’s talk at the 20 Oct session in Cambridge
From left to right: Nathan Schlanger, Emmanuelle Honoré, John Robb at the 27 Oct session in Paris-Nanterre
Boris Valentin’s talk at the 27 oct session in Paris-Nanterre

Follow the seminar :

Photos credit: Emmanuelle Honoré.


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