History of ideas, science and the arts



Steering committee


The axis aims to encourage and develop inter and transdisciplinary research in the specific discipline "History of Ideas" by assessing the points of intersection between several disciplines - the history of ideas is distinguished from the history of philosophy and the History of Science by an interest in "ideas", which differs from "concepts" by being anchored in a varied historical setting and a varied corpus and disciplinary practices.


For thirty years now, the history of ideas has been the place of great epistemological controversy in Europe and the rest of the world. It also corresponds to an educational necessity and a major interest from the general public, reflecting a genuine curiosity in all historical approaches to cultural phenomena. In this context, it seems essential to be part of a movement, through what is called the Digital Humanities, which is that of a true "renaissance" of the humanities, in the broadest and most ambitious meaning of the word, to make the UNS, taking advantage of its multidisciplinary nature and its extremely favourable geographical location, an internationally visible and innovative place in this emerging disciplinary field in France and called upon to occupy a vital place in global research. This needs, more than ever, in all sectors, an examination of its own history and its own historical development conditions. A certain French “reticence” in the history of ideas matter must - and will - be bridged, and it is even more obvious that some of the most lively areas of this discipline, until now somewhat neglected by French universities, are the product - fruitful – of research conducted in France in the 60s and 70s (a paradigmatic example being that of Gender Studies, deeply influenced by the work of Foucault and Derrida, philosophers who were able to emancipate themselves from the history of philosophy in favour of a methodology borrowing from other disciplines, such as history or literature). All UNS disciplines and teams are concerned and we must rely on the resources and scientific specifics of the UNS (such as the interface between neurosciences / cognitive sciences related to the history of psychology and concepts of the theory of knowledge; the interface between social sciences - including economics, history, sociology and management science - mathematics and computer science around research concerning network concepts and use, and their genesis in the history of ideas and interdisciplinary contents; astrophysics in connection with the history of the idea of the universe, biology and history of the concept of "life").


An international and interdisciplinary symposium entitled "History of words, history of ideas" will be held in November 2015. It will aim to make a statement of the epistemological premises of the discipline "History of ideas" and its different currents and forms.

Main topics

  •     History of Ideas
  •     Cultural Circulation and Transfers
  •     Scientific, legal and technical corpus