EHESS Summer School 2024

The EHESS summer school focuses on the relationship between the visual arts and the social sciences.

  • Date:
  • Venue: EHESS

Art, politics and the shaping of an identity discourse

This is the opportunity to analyze and dwell on notions such as “cultural repossession”, “symbol of national unity”, or “repatriation and contemporary art”. In the case of the restitution of cultural property between France and Benin, it is compelling to scrutinize the various strategies put in place by the Beninese government in an attempt to respond to the identity-related issues, and even controversies, that have arisen since the repatriation of the twenty-six objects. Indeed, how can culture, art and politics be allied and combined to exacerbate a sense of national unity, in other words, how can the recovered artifacts be repossessed to create and foster a new national identity? This question is all the more pertinent as it begs the question of how works of art from a single socio-cultural group, historically considered “oppressive” by other socio-cultural groups, can become a political tool for national cohesion.