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TransferS, laboratory of excellence

Created in 2010, the labex (Laboratories of Excellence) aim to provide significant resources to research departments of international visibility. In this context, TransferS brings together, around the question of cultural transfers, all the humanities and social sciences laboratories of the école normale supérieure (ENS), its literary libraries and two departments of the Collège de France. Fully integrated into the life of the école normale supérieure, TransferS is located on the premises of the rue d’Ulm.

The implementation of this ambitious project requires not only the support of a team dedicated to researchers, but also the funding of various operations. TransferS annually supports dozens of programs structured into four research themes as well as numerous publications and various activities to disseminate knowledge. In addition, the creation of a Digital Humanities department offers its partners the opportunity to develop the most appropriate tools.


École normale supérieure

The École normale supérieure de la rue d’Ulm was created in Paris in 1794. Originally, the École’s aim was to train the teachers of secondary and higher education. Early on, it featured top-level research, even before the work Louis Pasteur carried out within its walls. The contribution of the ENS to scientific research is considerable. Among its former students, it has several Nobel Prize laureates, French Fields Medal winners and more than a hundred academicians. We must not forget many philosophers and writers, from Foucault to Bourdieu, and Sartre to Césaire. The ENS is a mecca of French research thanks to its forty laboratories, all pioneers in fields as diverse as art history, quantum optics and cognitive studies. It has seventeen teaching departments and research covering the essential literary and scientific disciplines.


Collège de France

A unique institution in France founded in 1530, the Collège de France is a public institution of higher education with no equivalent abroad. It is both the place of research – in all fields of literature, science and art – and of the teaching of these fields.


Paris Sciences & Lettres

Université PSL (Paris Sciences & Lettres) offers an ideal environment for the development of academic excellence, creation and innovation : 4 500 researchers, 181 laboratories, 17 000 students and a dozen of incubators, fab-labs and co-working spaces for students and entrepreneurs in the heart of Paris. Among the labex of PSL, TransferS focuses especially on cross-cultural issues in humanities and social sciences.


Research areas

  • Cultures and peripheries. This area aims to show how cultural systems are changing from their periphery and then transform it in return. Its starting points are the material cultures studied in archaeology, social practices, anthropology, ethnology and economic history.

  • Thinking in languages and translating. Following in the steps of the previous area, this section deals with the phenomena of circulation and linguistic appropriation. The differences of languages, the transition from one to another and their translation are considered from the point of view of their impact on philosophical thought or cultural history from Antiquity to the present day.

  • Aesthetics of transfers. The transfer of a cultural space to another in the aesthetic field allows the reviewing of certain established affiliations. The history of network exchanges between the protagonist’s artistic life, the circulation of works and also the dissemination of certain techniques, are then considered, in the long-term.

  • History of science. The transfers can also review data in the history of science. The circulation and the epistemology of knowledge, philosophical transfers or transnational history of law are all cases in which the labex applies its theoretical perspectives and methods.


Digital Humanities cluster

To contribute to the development of digital tools for research, TransferS has developed a Digital Humanities department. It operates on the structuring and the visualizing of information by creating databases and cartography.
This support department offers a technical analysis to the different scientific projects. By optimizing methods and research practices, it promotes collaboration between researchers around shared digital systems. Finally, the Digital Humanities department contributes to the emergence of innovative projects.


Dissemination of Knowledge

Research-based training is provided by many seminars taught within its components. These seminars are enriched by professors invited from overseas and a policy of the online distribution of audio-visual recordings, set up by the ENS.
The recent partnership with Fudan University, a good exemple of our foreign policy extended to many countries of the world, fits perfectly in this context. Besides the intervention of Chinese teachers at the École, many labex researchers will teach in Shanghai and Chinese students will come to the ENS.


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