2023-2024 / PHIL0087-1

Analytical seminar and the creation of critical knowledge


45h SEM

Number of credits

 Master in communication (120 ECTS)10 crédits 
 Master in philosophy (120 ECTS)10 crédits 
 Master in French and Romance languages and literatures : general (120 ECTS)10 crédits 


Julien Jeusette, Julien Pieron, François Provenzano


François Provenzano

Language(s) of instruction

French language

Organisation and examination

All year long, with partial in January


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

This seminar takes a look at the different approaches to or the practical implementation of investigation in humanities' subjects, especially philosophy, literature and language sciences.

It will demonstrate:

- the structuring role played by this epistemological motif of our subjects in the long term;

- the importance and recurrence today of this motif in the latest ideas in the sphere of the humanities (for instance, Ginzburg in social sciences, Bayard in literary theory, Latour in philosophy);

- the plasticity and richness of this motif, both from the point of view of the subjects it affects and the social uses it allows.

The working hypothesis of this seminar is that investigation provides the preferred means to develop and operationalize the different methods of analysis and creation of critical knowledge. According to this point of view, investigation can be defined as an intellectual approach in tune with a problematic field that seeks to document forms of complexity, focused on creating a narrative, which acts as a method to pluralize reality. As such, it is, in itself, an epistemological, aesthetic and political motif. Epistemological, because it touches on the conditions in which knowledge is produced; aesthetic, because it engages in a relationship that is sensitive to an environment and an attention to forms through which it develops and spreads; political, because it intends to produce concrete effects on the way in which communities organise their lives.

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

The seminar allows students to see where they stand in relation to the different uses and conceptualizations of the motif of investigation through the subjects of the humanities.

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

Have a good grounding in the Philosophy and Letters subjects.

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Collegiate seminar, organised in the form of thematic sessions equivalent to approximately 3 h/month (schedule to be comunicated on the first-meeting date, on Wednesday 20th 2023, 12AM, classroom A2/6/11).

Every session will be led by one or more members of the teaching team and/or an external guest.

In Q2, the seminar will take the form of monitoring student work and the collective organisation of a study day.

Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)

Face-to-face course

Additional information:


Recommended or required readings

  • As part of the collective preparations for a study day on the mythologies of energy transition, students are invited to read the following work: Daggett (Cara N.), Pétromasculinité. Du mythe fossile patriarcal aux systèmes énergétiques féministes, Marseille, WildProject, 2023.
  • In connection with the seminar presentations, preparatory and/or extension readings will be provided in due course.
  • As a general introduction to the theorisation and practice of critical knowledge from the nineteenth century to the present day, we suggest the following reading list:
Marx (Karl), « Salaire, prix et plus-value » [1865] in Œuvres I Économie I], Gallimard, « Bibliothèque de la Pléiade », p. 473-533.

Benjamin (Walter), « Sur le concept d'histoire » [1940] in Œuvres III, Gallimard, « Folio », 2000, p. 427-443.

Benjamin (Walter), « Paris, capitale du xixe siècle » [1935] in Œuvres III, Gallimard, « Folio », 2000, p. 44-66.

Barthes (Roland), « Le mythe, aujourd'hui », dans Mythologies, Paris, Seuil, 1957, p. 181-233.

Fanon (Frantz), « Conclusion », in Les Damnés de la terre, Paris, Maspéro, 1961.

Adorno (Theodor W.), « L'industrie culturelle », Communications, 3, 1964, p. 12-18.

Deleuze (Gilles), « À quoi reconnait-on le structuralisme ? » in Histoire de la philosophie, dir. François Châtelet, vol. VIII, Paris, Hachette, 1972, p. 299-335.

Foucault (Michel), Sécurité, territoire, population. Cours au Collège de France 1977-1978 [leçons du 11, 18 et 25 janvier 1978], Gallimard/Seuil, « Hautes Études », 2009, p. 3-89.

Foucault (Michel), « Entretien avec Michel Foucault » [1978], in Dits et Écrits, t. 4, Paris, Gallimard, 1994, p. 41-96.

Foucault (Michel), « Vérité, pouvoir et soi » [1982], in Dits et Écrits, t. 4, Paris, Gallimard, 1994, p. 777-783.

Bourdieu (Pierre), « Espace social et espace symbolique » [1989], in Raisons pratiques. Sur la théorie de l'action, Paris, Seuil, « Points », 1994, p. 15-29.

Rancière (Jacques), « Du partage du sensible et des rapports qu'il établit entre esthétique et politique », in Le Partage du sensible. Esthétique et politique, Paris, La Fabrique, 2000, p. 12-25.

Latour (Bruno), « L'opéra du rein. Mise en scène, mise en fait », in Petites leçons de sociologie des sciences, Paris, La Découverte, 2007, p. 83-99.

Harvey (David), « L'art de la rente. Mondialisation et marchandisation de la culture », in Géographie de la domination. Capitalisme et production de l'espace, traduit de l'anglais par Nicolas Vieillescazes, Paris, Éditions Amsterdam, 2018, p. 31-56.

Federici (Silvia), « En guise d'introduction. Marxisme et féminisme : histoire et concepts » in Le capitalisme patriarcal, Paris, La Fabrique, 2019, p. 7-25. 

Ajari (Norman), « Une théologie de la dignité noire en Amérique du nord » in La dignité ou la mort. Éthique et politique de la race, Paris, Les Empêcheurs de penser en rond/La découverte, 2019, p. 169-202. 

Malm (Andreas), Comment saboter un pipeline ?, Paris, La Fabrique, 2020.

Stengers (Isabelle), « Covid 19 / Le monde de demain -Se libérer de l'imaginaire capitaliste ? », Entretien filmé, Asbl Atelier des droits sociaux, 2020, 35 min., https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTHVqvH2Bvg

Dorlin (Elsa), Sexe, genre et sexualités, Paris, PUF, 2021.

Tsing (Anna L.), « Résurgences et proliférations » in Proliférations, Marseille, Wildproject, 2022, p. 43-72.

Guien (Jeanne), « Introduction », in Une histoire des produits menstruels, Paris, Divergences, 2023.

Exam(s) in session

Any session

- In-person

oral exam

Written work / report

Continuous assessment

Additional information:

Exam(s) in session

Any session

- In-person

oral exam

Written work / report

Additional information:

The assessment will be based on a personal piece of work.

This work will consist of compiling a series of texts (that could potentially be very different), relating to the investigation as the motif, and drawing on the authors and paradigms presented during the seminar's sessions.

This collection will be physically handed in to the seminar leaders by 27th of May 2024 and should, in itself, be meaningful. In addition, it will be the subject of an oral presentation made to a collective jury comprised of the seminar leaders.

The assessment criteria are as follows:

- relevance and originality of the assembled texts

- formal completion of the work

- ability to comment orally on the work

Work placement(s)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course

The seminar will be in the form of a 3 h session every month (approximately). Attendance is required. Everyone should have read the preparatory texts prior to each session.

Students will meet on Wednesday 20th September 2023 at 12PM (classroom A2/6/11) for an introductory meeting, where they will be given all the information concerning the seminar's organisation.


Julien Pieron


François Provenzano


Julien Jeusette


Association of one or more MOOCs