|French Anthropology: Between Science and Literature|
Drawing on his new book, L'Adieu au Voyage (Gallimard, Bibliothèque des Sciences Humaines series, November 2010), Vincent Debaene will discuss the reciprocal fascination of French writers with anthropology and of French ethnographers with literature. The former are wary of an austere, "scientific" discipline but are troubled by the objects it gathers and the issues it raises; the latter claim to be scientists but at the same time see themselves as the heirs of Montaigne and Rousseau and sometimes even engage in avant-garde literary experiments. These vexed relationships between anthropology and literature provide a window onto 20th century French intellectual history, from André Breton to Jacques Derrida, Marcel Mauss to Claude Lévi-Strauss.
Vincent Debaene is an Assistant Professor of French at Columbia University. He coordinated and prefaced the critical edition of the works of Claude Lévi-Strauss in the Bibliothèque de la Pléiade (Gallimard, 2008).