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Accueil > Séminaires en cours > Powers of Imagination. Historical Approach.

Powers of Imagination. Historical Approach.

Seminar EHESS/CNRS organised by Elizabeth Claire (CNRS), Béatrice Delaurenti (EHESS), Roberto Poma (University Paris Est-Créteil) and Koen Vermeir (CNRS)
……… Contacts :
elizabeth.claire (at) ; beatrice.delaurenti (at) ; poma (at) ; koen.vermeir (at)

The concept of imagination is today seen as as a legitimate object of study, having long been discredited by scientific research. However, in modern and contemporary literature, imagination is generally considered in a negative way, as a mental faculty that can cause disease, error, illusion or sin. By cons, its role was very important, because the imagination formed the necessary link between body and soul.
So that was the preferred place to act to perform bodily healing as well as spiritual.
We would go against this idea of ​​imagination by studying intellectual tradition and alternative and misunderstood practice. Since the XIIth and XIIIth centuries until the early XIXth century, thinkers and practitioners from a diverse set of disciplines, expressing themselves from different institutional positions, supported the idea that imagination has great powers on the body and on the body and mind of others.
As in the previous years, the seminar will work around these texts in the manner of a workshop, and will endeavor to implement a collective work of discussion, analysis and comparison of sources over the long term.

PROGRAM 2021-2022

The program is under development and will be online on this page. It will replace the 2020-21 sessions.

SCHEDULE 2020-2021

On Fridays, 9am–5pm, at EHESS, 54 or 105 bd Raspail, Paris 75006

March 19, 2021 April 16 May 21
The seminar will be held by videoconference. To receive the connection link and allow us to contact you, please register on

March 19, Room BS1-05

  • 9am–10:30am : Benoit Grévin (CNRS / CRH),
    Boncompagno, l’intellectus imaginarius et la transumptio. "Imaginer" le monde à travers la métaphore au XIIIe siècle
  • 10:45am–12:15am : Nicolas Weill-Parot (EPHE/Saprat)
    Action à distance et imagination dans les commentaires de la Physique d’Aristote (XIIIe-XVe siècle)
  • 1:30pm–3pm : Thibaut Trochu (University of Lille/INSPE)
    L’imagination religieuse selon William James
  • 3:15pm–4:45pm : Roberto Poma (UPEC)
    Misère et grandeur Della forza della fantasia umana (1745) de Ludovico Muratori

April 16, Room BS1-05

  • 9am–10:30am : Suzanne Rochefort (CRH)
    L’imagination comme exercice dans les traités d’art de l’acteur au XVIIIe siècle
  • 10:45am–12:15am : Roberto Poma (UPEC)

    Mollesse du corps et force de l’imagination dans l’éducation des enfants (XVI-XVII siècles)
  • 1:30pm–3pm : Jean-Pierre Cavaillé (EHESS / CRH)
    Magie naturelle et pouvoir de l’imagination dans quelques textes du XVIIe siècle : Campanella, Gaffarel, Naudé
  • 3:15pm–4:45pm : RMarion Lieutaud (University of Paris Sorbonne)
    Pouvoirs de l’imagination et contractions de l’âme chez Giordano Bruno

May 21, Room A05-51

: : Session together with the seminar of History of dance.

  • 9am : welcome
  • 9:15am-9:45am
    Elizabeth Claire (CNRS / CRH) & Roberto Poma (UPEC)
    Introduction sur la notion de la contagion en danse (l’exemple du vertige)
  • 9:45am–10:45am
    Béatrice Delaurenti (EHESS / CRH)
    La contagion du bâillement et le pouvoir de l’imagination
  • Break
  • 11am–12:30am
    Gregor Rohmann (Université de Francfort)
    With or without contagion : Dancing Mania before and after the 1518 outbreak (in english)
  • Lunchbreak
  • 2pm–13:30pm
    Alessandro Arcangeli (Univsité de Vérone)
    On the archaeology of the notion of dancing mania : of Tunisian women, and other stories (in english)
  • Break
  • 3:45pm–5:15pm
    Thibaut Julian (CRH)
    Avant/après : l’imagination contagieuse du spectacle théâtral, de Diderot à Talma