“Illusions and disillusionment of French intellectuals: the case of the Cultural Revolution”
French Maoism emerged in a context high politicization of the intellectual field with the Algerian war, a rising critique of Soviet communism, and the beginning of pro-third-world ideology. It took hold in an elite institution, the Ecole normale supérieure, in avant-garde groups such as Tel Quel, and spread among a young generation around May 68. The Gauche prolétarienne, who launched the journal Cause du peuple succeeded in attracting Sartre in 1970. They tried to implement a Cultural Revolution following the Chinese model, through inquiries and work in factories. After reconstructing the factors and conditions of emergence of this movement in the French intellectual field, the presentation will question its heritage and memory in French fiction and essays today.
Gisèle Sapiro is Professor of sociology at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) and Research director at the CNRS, currently fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg. Her interests include the sociology of intellectuals, of literature and of translation, as well as the history and the epistemology of the Social Sciences and the Humanities. The author of La Guerre des écrivains, 1940-1953 (English transl.: French Writers’ War, Duke UP, 2014),La Responsabilité de l’écrivain. Littérature, droit et morale en France, XIXe-XXe siècles (2011), La Sociologie de la littérature (2014 ; transl. Spanish and Japanese), Les Ecrivains et la politique en France (2018), she has also (co)edited Pour une histoire des sciences sociales (2004), Pierre Bourdieu, sociologue (2004), Translatio. Le marché de la traduction en France à l’heure de la mondialisation (2008), Les Contradictions de la globalisation éditoriale (2009), L’Espace intellectuel en Europe (2009), Traduire la littérature et les sciences humaines (2012), Sciences humaines en traduction (2014, online) and Profession ? Ecrivain (CNRS Editions, 2017). She coordinated the European Project INTERnational COoperation in the Social Sciences and the Humanities (FP7).