2nd November 2022 | 16:00 - 17:30
Author talk by best-selling and prize-winning French author Prof Ivan Jablonka
The Use of the “I” in the Human Sciences
The “I” of Method
Reflections on Methodological Transparency
In the human sciences, where does the taboo of the “I” come from? Scientists in the late 19th century attempted to establish an ideal of scholarly neutrality. In order to make science, it would be necessary to do away with one’s ego. However, if one takes a closer look at the way in which historians, anthropologists, and sociologists practice their profession, one finds that this “anti-subjective” idea does not often prevail. Whether or not we recognize ourselves in the heritage of scientism, one has to admit that the “investigative ego” is omnipresent, albeit silently, and that it fertilizes every stage of the scientific operation. Hence this notion: the “I” of method, which at the same time indicates one’s situation, describes the investigation, and conveys an emotion. What if this “I” was the new frontier of the human sciences, with an extraordinarily potential, interweaving its functions with the thread of the scientific narrative?
Ivan Jablonka is Professor of History at Sorbonne Paris Nord University. He holds a Senior research fellowship from the Institut Universitaire de France. He is a series editor with leading French publisher Le Seuil and one of the founders and editors of the online journal La Vie des idées. His publications focus on the history of childhood, gender identity construction and gender violence, legacies of the Holocaust and the writing of humanities and social sciences. They include A History of the Grandparents I Never Had (Stanford UP, 2016), History Is a Contemporary Literature. Manifesto for the Social Sciences (Cornell UP, 2018) and A History of Masculinity: From Patriarchy to Gender Justice (Allen Lane, 2022). His books have been translated into 15 languages.
See his recent interview in The Times
This talk is given by Ivan Jablonka as part of his visiting Fellowship at the University of Surrey, sponsored by the Institute of Advanced Studies.
The report for this workshop is coming soon, please check back later.