A review edited by Georges Bataille, “Documents” represented, despite its short life (1929-1930), an extraordinary occasion of reflection both on the traditional notion of art and on the idea of avant-garde: one occasion whose aftermaths are still relevant. Its core was the leading role that Bataille assigned to the humanities. Ethnology in particular, re-founded as it was following Emile Durkheim and Marcel Mauss’s impulse, was the pivot of a “theoretical dismantling” carried out by its contributors. In contradiction with both academic aestheticism and Surrealism, the review – thanks to the work of leading ethnologists such as Michel Leiris, Carl Einstein, André Schaeffner and Marcel Griaule – assigned a crucial role to the humanities, enacting a critical deconstruction of traditional aesthetic categories. This took place through an unconventional use of photography (as with Jacques-André Boiffard and Eli Lotar), and of film image (Sergej Michajlovič Ėjzenštejn), which both aimed at dismantling the contemporary notion of anthropomorphism.
Our research centre intends to investigate the anthropological imaginary of the arts and of literature; in other words, it will explore the “ethnographic modernity” at the heart of James Clifford’s researches (On the Edges of Anthropology), with methodological insights also from Aby Warburg, Walter Benjamin and Jean Baudrillard.
Our main subjects are the systems of objects, of collecting practices, and of landscape; literary geography and different forms of literary imagination; heterotopias and of the tropes of memory
The Centre works in collaboration with an international doctorate programme, the EMJD Cultural Studies in Literary Interzones, with the doctorate Intercultural Humanistic Studies, with the Cahiers de littérature française review, in collaboration with the Sorbonne University, and with a research book series published by Bruno Mondadori.

GALLERIE / Il Flâneur


  • 01/12/2016 - Cahiers de littérature française

    Échos des doctrines gnostiques aux XIXe et XXe siècles, by Valerio Magrelli

  • 21/01/2016 - Détours de l'erreur

    Elephant&Castle n° 13: Actes du Colloque International Détours de l'erreur (Université de Bergame, 20-21/11/2014) edited by Franca Franca

  • 14/01/2015 - Boiffard surréaliste


  • 14/01/2015 - Centre Pompidou: record of the event "Boiffard surréaliste"


  • 05/11/2014 - Jacques-André Boiffard, la parenthèse surréaliste

    5 November 2014 - 2 February 2015
    Galerie de photographies, Centre Pompidou (Paris)