CONFERENCE 'Michel Serres and Bruno Latour in conversation'
Please note that the event will take place at the Maison Française d'Oxford and be livestreamed on Zoom.
Eclaircissements (Conversations on Science, Culture and Time) is the original title of the volume of five dialogues between Michel Serres and Bruno Latour published in 1992. Widely translated, this book reflects a time of intense and joyous dialogue and sharing ideas. This conference aims to shed new light on their philosophical dialogue and explore how their views compare, clash, dovetail and are mutually enriching. How do, for instance, The Natural Contract and Politics of Nature, Biogea and Gaia, echo each other. This conference seeks to examine the legacy of Michel Serres in the light of his relation to Bruno Latour and identify continuities and fault lines between the two oeuvres. Beyond the question of legacy, the conference hopes to bring to the fore how both challenged modern categories to reconnect philosophy with the urgent questions concerning the Earth. The conference will also explore how their respective philosophical practices, as they break away from the traditional codes of academic writing, fashioned an idiosyncratic style of their own that allowed them to engage a larger readership and audience.


13h30 Welcome and start

14h-16h: Successions and Secessions

Steven Connor (King’s College, London): Sect and Secession: Serres, Bachelard and Philosophies of No

Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne): So Near and so Far: Two Object-centred Philosophies

Massimiliano Simons (Maastricht University): Nothing but Experience: The Empiricisms of Serres and Latour

Moderator: Christina Howells (Wadham College, Oxford)

16h-16h30: Coffee Break

16h30-18h30: Translations

Lilian Kroth (University of Fribourg): Serres and Latour: what does it mean to translate?

Elie During (Université Paris-Nanterre): Scallops and Structures: Serres’ Paradoxical Contribution to the ‘Sociology of Translation’

Martin Crowley (University of Cambridge): ‘A line in the sand’

Moderator: Macs Smith (University College, London)


9h30-11h30: The Natural Contract and Politics of Nature

Victor Simmonet (Université Paris 8 Vincennes – Saint-Denis): References and their potentials. Michel Serres and Bruno Latour’s politics through the prism of nature, modernity and style.

Catherine Larrère (Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne): Serres and Latour : From The Natural Contract to ‘The Parliament of things’

David Webb (University of Staffordshire): Reason, Judgement and the Problem of Decision Making in Latour and Serres.

Moderator: Timothy Howles (University of Oxford)

11h30-13h: Lunch

13h-15h: Styles of writing and performing

Henriette Korthals Altes (Maison Française d’Oxford): ‘What language do the things of the world speak?’

Frédérique Aït-Touati (EHESS, Paris): FIC and fables: Uses of Literature in Michel Serres and Bruno Latour’s Works

Simon Schaffer (Darwin College, Cambridge) The Balance and the Network

Moderator: Arto Charpentier (ENS Paris)
Date: 23 May 2024, 13:30 (Thursday, 5th week, Trinity 2024)
Venue: Maison Française d'Oxford, 2-10 Norham Road OX2 6SE
Speaker: Various Speakers
Organisers: Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent (Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne), Henriette Korthals Altes (Maison française d'Oxford)
Organiser contact email address:
Part of: Maison Française d'Oxford Events
Booking required?: Required
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Audience: Members of the University only
Editor: Anne-Sophie Gabillas