Friday October 7th, 10am-1pm, Auditorium of the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire du Judaïsme

Experience and Expression of Exile

Moderated by Emmanuel Guy, Parsons Paris

Autour de l’exposition Schönberg, by Fanny Schulmann, MAHJ



In 1898, at the age of twenty-eight, Arnold Schönberg converted to Protestantism. Despite his efforts to integrate into high Viennese society and thereby develop his career as a composer, he was marginalized not only due to the singularity of his musical experimentation, but also because of his Jewish origins.

In 1921, as he was vacationing at the seaside resort of Mattsee close to Salzburg, he was asked to leave the city like the other Jewish residents. Even if he did not emigrate to France and then the United States until 1933, this episode can be seen as the first step in the exile of  Schönberg, who from that moment on did not cease to point out the imminent danger that faced Jews in Europe. The questioning of his own identity is rooted in this political context, which contributed to a majority of his musical works beginning in the 1920s and 1930s.



Fanny Schulmann is an art historian and curator of modern and contemporary art at the Museum of Jewish Art and History in Paris. She co-curated the exhibition, “"Arnold Schönberg, Peindre l'âme."

Schönberg, la loi de l’exil, by Esteban Buch, EHESS


Building on an essay on the role of Moses in Schönberg’ representations written for the exhibition catalogue at the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire du Judaïsme, we will reflect on how exile affected the status of law in the work of the creator of twelve-tone music. Schoenberg’s work had been widely considered to engage with law, or even to be a proposition about law, since at least 1905, when a now-classical score like Pelleas und Melisande was perceived as a “disruption of the law of harmony” and “a whole new basis for all music,” according to one of his most virulent critics. However, Nazi persecution and Schoenberg’s move to California will give this issue a very peculiar historical weight. This is evident in the famous admonition from Pierre Boulez, “We must keep ourselves from considering Schoenberg as a sort of Moses who died in view of the Promised Land after having brought down the Tables of the Law back from a Sinai that some people obstinately want to confuse with Walhalla.” A Survivor of Warsaw (opus 46) brought this issue to its most incandescent aesthetic state by opposing Nazi Order with Jewish Law.



Born in 1963 in Buenos Aires, professor Esteban Buch teaches music history at the EHESS, where he oversees the Research Center on Arts and Language (CRAL, EHESS/CNRS) and the masters program in Music. A specialist in the relationship between music and politics in the 20th century, he is the author of numerous works, notably Trauermarsch - L’Orchestre de Paris dans l’Argentine de la dictature (Editions du Seuil, 2016), L’affaire Bomarzo – Opéra, perversion et dictature (Éditions de l’EHESS, 2011), Le cas Schönberg – Naissance de l’avant-garde musicale (Gallimard, 2006), La Neuvième de Beethoven – Une histoire politique (Gallimard, 1999) and Histoire d’un secretA propos de la Suite Lyrique d’Alban Berg (Actes Sud, 1994).

Émigration intellectuelle, exil et créativité, by Gisèle Sapiro, EHESS


This presentation will explore the factors that promote or impede artistic and intellectual creativity within circumstances of forced emigration and exile. Drawing from a variety of examples, it will examine in particular relations between the culture of origin and the host culture, the question of modes of expression (namely language), pre-existing transnational networks, and the structuring of cultural production in the country of origin and the host country. These structural factors must be considered in relation to migrants’ provisions and their capacity to convert different sources of capital within a new social configuration wherein certain resources can become handicaps and vice-versa.    


Gisèle Sapiro is a research director at the CNRS, a professor at the EHESS (Centre européen de sociologie et de science politique), and a member of the Academia Europaea. As a specialist in the sociology of intellectuals, literature, and translation, she is the author of La Guerre des écrivains, 1940-1953 (Fayard, 1999, second publication in 2006 ; The French Writers’ War, English translation at Duke UP, 2014), La Responsabilité de l’écrivain. Littérature, droit et morale en France XIXe-XXIe siècle (Seuil 2011) and La Sociologie de la littérature (La Découverte, 2014 ; Spanish translation in 2016 ; Japanese translation to be published).

She also co-directed: Pour une histoire des sciences sociales (Fayard, 2004), Pierre Bourdieu, sociologue (Fayard, 2004), Translatio. Le marché de la traduction en France à l’heure de la mondialisation (CNRS Éditions, 2008) ; Les Contradictions de la globalisation éditoriale (Nouveau Monde, 2009) ; L’Espace intellectuel en Europe (La Découverte, 2009) ; Traduire la littérature et les sciences humaines : conditions et obstacles (DEPS, 2012) ; Sciences humaines en traduction : les livres français aux Etats-Unis, au Royaume-Uni et en Argentine (Institut français-CESSP, 2014).

She is in charge of the European project Interco-SSH (International Cooperation in the SSH).

Les Conditions de l’exil et de l’hospitalité aujourd’hui. Leçons de Calais et d’ailleurs, by Michel Agier, EHESS




Since April 2015, the slum of Calais has been a locus for phenomena involving spatial organization, multicultural socialization, interactions between inhabitants, and politicization of the occupants. This is generally common in contemporary slums, but in this instance the process is accelerated. The case study of Calais opens new perspectives on the question of hospitality today.


Michel Agier is an ethnologist and anthropologist. He is a professor at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) and a research director at the IRD. He studies the relationships between human globalisation, the conditions and places of exile, and the creation of new urban contexts.

Since 2000, his lectures and research have developed an “anthropology of displacement and of urban logics.” His studies focus on the mobilities and spaces where displaced people, refugees, and populations in exile are gathered, first in Colombia and then Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and Europe: urban peripheries, refugee camps, transit zones, camps, and squats.

Two conjoined aspects are analyzed and correlated in his research: on the one hand, the production of figures of the “foreigner” in different national and urban contexts, on the other hand, the creation and stabilization of margins and border situations as urban and cosmopolitan contexts in progress.

In 2015, he was invited as visiting professor at the New School for Social Research and to  the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility. Since April 2016 he has been coordinating the collective research project “Babels – La ville comme frontière – Ce que les villes font aux migrants, ce que les migrants font à la ville” which has been selected and supported by the Agence nationale de la recherche (ANR, 2016-2018). This program gathers over 35 junior and senior researchers who investigate the thematics of border-cities, shelter-cities, and intersection-cities in Europe and the Mediterranean.

Recent publications include: Les migrants et nous. Comprendre Babel, CNRS éditions (collection Débats), 2016 (sortie 28/09/2016), Borderlands. Towards an Anthropology of Cosmopolitan Condition, Cambridge, Polity press, 2016. Un Monde de camps (direction, avec la collaboration de Clara Lecadet), La Découverte, 2014.