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Norbert Elias on African Art: a Situated Sociology

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Anne Lafont

Veranstaltung des FF4 / Campus Westend / Hörsaalzentrum / HZ 14

This lecture will examine the place of African art in the work of the German sociologist Norbert Elias, from his early article on primitivism in the late 1920s, via the exhibition at the University of Leicester's gallery in 1970, to a more extensive study published after his death and written around 1980. Elias's extensive work on manners and forms of civility in the early modern period is well known, including his monographs on two major artistic figures of the eighteenth century: the painter Antoine Watteau and the composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. In contrast, his texts on African art have not yet been taken seriously for a number of specific reasons (among them: the preponderance of the anthropological approach in the study of Africa and its culture) that we need to address in order to grasp what motivated Norbert Elias when, at the age of 60, he decided to go and teach in Ghana (1963-1964), and in order to seize how he made African objects the basis of his understanding of Africa.

Anne Lafont ist Studiendirektorin am EHESS mit dem Lehrstuhl für Kunstgeschichte und Kreolitäten

Mittwoch, 12.07.2023
Beginn: 18:00
Ende: 20:00
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