Pascal Dibie / Walls & Bridges
Pascal Dibie is a professor of ethnology at the University of Paris Diderot-Paris 7, where he is co-director of the division of sciences of the city. He is the author of a two-part ethnology of a village in Burgundy that has become a classic in the discipline: Le Village retrouvé, ethnologie de l’intérieur (Grasset, 1979) and thirty years later, Le village métamorphosé, révolution dans la France profonde (Plon, 2006). He is also the author of Ethnologie de la chambre à coucher, which has been translated into fifteen languages and has sold 30,000 copies (Grasset, 1987; Métailié, 2000), La Tribu sacrée, ethnologie des prêtres (Grasset, 1993; Métailié, 2004), and La Passion du regard, essai contre les sciences froides (Métailié,1998).
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Ethnologie de la porte
[Ethnology of the Door]
What is a door? Its very definition implies the existence of an “outside,” of what is “beyond the door.” Here we are: doors are first seen from the inside of the house by one who is inside. From this starting point, everything is left to the imagination: inside, outside, open, closed, well-being, danger. This is why we humans have set ourselves up to be great paranoiacs as well as gods and technicians! There is no space we have wanted to sleep in that we have not barricaded, not a field we have not fenced, a temple we have not charged, nor a family or city we haven’t protected. Our doors are everywhere, be they narrow exits or monumental gates. From the Magdalenians of Etiolles to the gate of Ishtar in Babylon, what madness took hold of us? From Greek porticos and triumphal Roman arches to Jesus preaching at the gates and the Hell that invents them, our door-related imagination was built little by little. We armed castles with drawbridges and symbols, shut women in, then made ceremonious entrances, invented labels for men as well as for books. We raised barriers everywhere, eventually inventing borders. Cities spread, society became disciplined, numbered and invented rules that it displayed at the gates: prestige, standards, death, one can read everything at the gates of our lives. Folklore appropriated thresholds, nourishing our beliefs and our strange rites of passage. Others like us, from “an elsewhere close by“ or far away, did the same: nouns and locks keep watch in Africa, while in China people still calculate the direction of openings, the balance of the entire universe depending on each door. In the Amazon, doors are within us, whereas in Oceania, they are a long path of partnership. Doors are for each of us a daily source of joy and worry simply because, of all our daily objects, they represent an inexhaustible world of thoughts.
Proposed lectures (in French)
Lectures about his books:
-Ethnologie de la porte [Ethnology of the Door], Metaillé, 2012
-Le village retrouvé [The Rediscovered Village], Éditions de l’aube, 2008
-Le village métamorphosé [The Radically Changed Village], Plon, 2006
-La Tribu sacrée [The Sacred Tribe], Métailié, 2004
-Ethnologie de la chambre à coucher [Ethnology of the Bedroom], Métailié, 2000
-La Passion du regard [A Passion for Observation], Métailié, 1998
Date already booked:
Saturday, October 19th: Walls and Bridges, New York