Permanent Workshop “Images (of art) and political ecology”. Session 2

Session 2: Images and cultural history: a debate

One of the objectives of the permanent seminar is to approach from an ecological perspective the debates that have taken place over the last decades around the possibility of redefining cultural history as a way of thinking with and through images. Taking Aby Warburg’s work as a reference, different authors and research projects have imagined a genealogy of gestures and bodies that resists the linearity of positivist history and its narratives of progress. However, it is equally true that, at times, this emphasis on the anthropological character of recurring images throughout the various epochs and geographies (what Warburg called the Pathosformeln or “formulas of pathos”), has also generated a dehistoricization that becomes particularly delicate when we speak of gestures and expressions embedded in revolutionary processes with a particular political intentionality.
How to imagine a cultural history of images that rescues in a revulsive way the sensitive memory of the past, without losing sight of its concrete anchoring in the contexts of emancipation? This is the reason for an active discussion recently held between Georges Didi-Huberman and Enzo Traverso on the occasion of the publication by the latter of his book Revolution. An Intellectual History (2021). The debate, which originally appeared in the French journal Analyse Opinion Critique, has just been translated by the journal Acta Poetica (44-1, January-June 2023, pp. 13-94): . The reading of the epistolary exchange between the two intellectuals will serve as a trigger to think collectively about how to update the cultural history of the revolution (and its images) in times of ecological crisis.
Those wishing to attend the seminar, which will be held at the Centro de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales del CSIC (c/ Albasanz, 26, Madrid, room to be determined) on February 24, 2023 at 10 am, should let us know via this contact form.