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This article focuses on the early institutionalization of area studies at the 6th section of the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, starting in the mid-1950s. It seeks to counter the conventional association between areas as an object of study and interdisciplinarity as a scientific and organizational approach by shedding light on the concrete disciplinary rearrangements generated by area studies. These new configurations are observed at the level of the institutional actors in relation to which the Area Studies Division of the EPHE situates itself, and of their specialization. They are also observed at the level of the accredited skills and trajectories of the individual actors who initiated its activities or took part in them. Finally, they are also analyzed at the level of the contents of its program, which is distinct from “slavistics” without however being confined to “sovietology.” Several dynamics are thus at work : the “disciplinarization” of a field of knowledge, pluri- and inter-disciplinarity, and the testing of disciplinary borders through the circulation of knowledge, both internationally and toward other social spaces, under the form of expertise.

Ioana Popa
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