Université Paris 8
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1914-2014: war in performance in literary creation

International symposium

4-5 December 2014

Théâtre National de la Colline
15 rue Malte Brun
75020 Paris
Metro Gambetta (line 3, 3bis)

University of Colombia in Paris
Reid Hall
4 rue de Chevreuse
75006 Paris
Metro Vavin (line 4)


This symposium falls within the research fields that studies how humans respond to situations of historical violence through artistic practices. Thanks to the Great War’s centenary, we chose to study the relation between art and war violence from the angle of the notion of performance: execution, re-updating, paying attention to the dimension of the body and violence inflicted to it.


The concept of performance relies on assuming that words are effective in a way, a concept usually summarized in the famous sentence taken from pragmatic linguistics: "when saying is doing". Yet the violence in worldwide or civil wars puts the subject’s words and language through the test of what is said: in this sense, what is tried in the experience of war violence, is the performative dimension of the words themselves.


Il est singulier que de nombreuses œuvres précisément qualifiées de « performances » - qu’on songe à celles de Tadeusz Kantor, qui porte la mémoire des deux guerres mondiales – mettent en scène des difficultés à nommer, à dire, à faire mémoire, à élaborer. Qu’en est-il donc, dans ces conditions, de la puissance de la parole ? Lorsque l’échec du dire émane de l’expérience d’une catastrophe qui a pour effet de sortir le sujet de ses repères symboliques et imaginaires, la parole peut-elle être en toute rigueur qualifiée de performative ?


We will review this notion and set the conditions of a transdisciplinary and transhistorical research fixed in contemporary esthetic and political stakes that are connected to violence. That is why this symposium was created in tribute to the memory of Nicole Loraux, Hellenist and anthropologist.


> Eliane Beaufils, (University Paris 8): War and contemporary performance in France


> Marvin Carlson (CUNY): to be confirmed


> Françoise Davoine (EHESS): From Pat Barker’s trilogy: thoughts on a new update of a war situation in an analytic cure.


> Jean-Max Gaudillère (EHESS): The memory that does not forget


> David Lescot (University Paris Ouest): to be confirmed


> Patrice Loraux (University Paris I): « The cycle » : Thinking the language triggers and performativity.


> Charles Malamoud (EPHE): Rituals and performance


> Jean-Michel Rey (University Paris 8): Performance in the field of economy

Labex Arts-H2H

The Laboratory of Excellence in Arts and Human Mediations is part of the “Investments for the future” program since 2011. As part of this program, its members conduct research following three main lines: situations, technologies, hybridization.

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