15-21 December, Emilie Oléron Evans

This week’s curator comes to us from across Europe, representing France, the UK and Germany at least! Emilie is particularly interested in the interdisciplinary nature of the humanties, and I look forward to her take on this very relevant debate.

Hello, my name is Emilie Oléron Evans (@bringyourownsun) and I am an academic Inbetweener. I am currently working my way in-between countries, statuses, jobs and disciplines. I very recently completed a joint PhD, achieved at Queen Mary University, London, and at the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris III. I am a French native, originally a student of German, gravitating more and more towards the topic of art historiography.

My thesis tackles the cultural transfers in the life and career of the art historian Nikolaus Pevsner (1902-1983) and shows how his work played a major part in the progression of the history of art and architecture to the status of an academic discipline in the United Kingdom from the 1930s and 40s onwards. I did not go as far as to say that Pevsner introduced the concept of Zeitgeist in British culture for lack of evidence, but he did use it a lot ‘before it was mainstream’. I have always been interested in where cultural representations come from, and in my future (ahem) research I want to focus on verifying the intuition that the richest and most prominent components of cultural discourse originate from a dialogue with other cultures. The anglo-german dialogue is a fascinating field of study, in line with the current development of interdisciplinarity in academia.

The future and the challenges of the interdisciplinary approach are questions that I would very much like to discuss as curator of @wethehumanities. How much dialogue between the disciplines is possible as long as these disciplines dictate the structure of university departments and degrees? I am really looking forward to contributions from specialists in comparative and translation studies regarding the direction in which they wish to see their ‘interdisciplinary discipline’ evolve.

I would be happy to share my (very) fresh experience of taking two vivas, one in the UK and one in France. Feel free to ask any practical questions you might have. I would like to present the concept of joint degrees and to show that it is an idea with a lot of potential. International mobility is another subject I intend to talk about in this context: how best to navigate between academic traditions? I hope this discussion will attract some comments from the French contingent of Twitter academics (the ‘Nous les Humanités’ branch of our big, beautiful family).

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