Frédéric Joulian will be giving a Brown Bag Lunch presentation on Tuesday, May 9 at 12:15 pm. His talk is entitled “Non-Human Aesthetics: A Trans-Species Perspective.”


Frédéric Joulian is an anthropologist. As a professor at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, he was Deputy Director of the Laboratory of Social Anthropology at the Collège de France and responsible for the Evolution, Natures, and Cultures Interdisciplinary Program of EHESS until 2011. He edited the interdisciplinary journal Techniques & Culture from 2006 to 2016. His research focuses on the evolutionary processes and the meanings of technical and cultural phenomena, as well as on human-animal interactions in Africa and Europe. His publications include Is Nature Cultural? (Editions Errance, 1998), The Natures of Man (with S. de Cheveigné, 2007), Dire le Savoir-Faire (with S. d’Onofrio, 2008), Anthology of Techniques & Culture (with G. Bartholeyns and N. Govoroff, 2010), and Gesture & Matter (2011). Other recent publications include Fixing the World: Excess, Leftover, and Innovation (with the MuCEM, 2016), Le Corps Instrument (with G. Bartholeyns, 2017), and a personal book retracing the dawn of his work in Africa entitled Origins of Culture: Men and Chimpanzees in Perspective.

In this talk, Joulian will try to show how it is now possible to link research in social anthropology, prehistory, and primatology via new field data results and to address the non-material dimensions of living primate societies—or of prehistoric hominid societies. He will explore two questions: how, in a non-reductive and non-essentialistic way, do we account for the complexity of human and non-human artifacts in paleolithic times? And, how do we account for interspecies relationships and their role in human evolution?