Centre interdisciplinaire sur les enjeux stratégiques (CIENS)

Year 2023-2024 > Semester 1

Culture, Art and War

This year-round course, led by Céline Jurgensen, takes place on Thursday evenings from 6 pm, with several external speakers. It is part of PSL’s “Humanités” master’s program. It is open to Normaliens, students and external auditors.

Date: Thursday, 6-8pm

Registration: please pre-register using this online form: https://forms.gle/C2Mo4NNzWCXHtkAU6 to be kept informed of the progress of this course. Final registration for students from Ecole Normale Supérieure is via the usual platform.

Venue: 29 rue d’Ulm, Salle Paul Langevin until October 5; from October 26, Salle U209.

Validation: Attendance and writing of a reading or summary note.

Teacher: Céline Jurgensen, diplomat.

Contact : ciens@ens.fr, pierre.ramond@ens.psl.eu (CIENS doctoral student)


The aim of this seminar is to study the relationship between war and art and culture in the broadest sense (cinema, TV series, literature, comics, music, video games, fashion, etc.), and to provide keys for understanding the main political, diplomatic, cultural and strategic issues at stake, by placing them in the context of recent events. How is war represented? How have artists used their works to mobilize or challenge war? At a time when recent major international security crises have served as a reminder of the extent to which cultural heritage has been deliberately targeted, how can we protect art and artists in times of armed conflict, document the destruction of heritage and bring the perpetrators to justice? What kind of remembrance policy should be implemented? To analyze and understand these multiple issues, we need to multiply our disciplinary approaches, with the help of a number of external speakers – both practitioners and academics. This seminar is neither a course on the history of art applied to the study of war, nor a course on the art of war.


Session 1, Thursday September 28 – Inaugural session

Session no. 2, Thursday October 5 – Nuclear imaginations

No classes on October 12 and 19

Session 3, Thursday October 26 – Rose Valland, a curator in the Resistance

Guest: Alice Buffet, Director of the Musée de la Résistance et de la Déportation de l’Isère

Session 4, Thursday November 16 – Cultural exception: the history of a diplomatic battle (hybrid session)

Guest: Bernard Miyet, Former United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Honorary President of AFNU (Association française pour les Nations Unies), former Chairman of SACEM

Session 5, Thursday November 30 – The memory of war, its role today, and commemorations of the past

Guest: Serge Barcellini, President of Souvenir Français

Session n°6, Thursday December 21 – The influence of military clothing on fashion

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