Seeing the world in ‘triangulation’

Research on Africa and Islam via Japan, in the wake of Junzo Kawada and Ippei Tanaka

26-27 août 2021

ICAS 12 Roundtable and Side event

Seeing the world in ‘triangulation’: Research on Africa and Islam via Japan, in the wake of Junzo Kawada and Ippei Tanaka

Those events are initiated by the ‘triangulations’ research group of the Fondation France-Japon de l’EHESS (FFJ), composed of junior and senior researchers whose academic trajectories connect knowledge paradigms and field experiences between Japan, France and various societies in Africa and/or the Muslim world. The aim is to explore triangular approaches, with reference to the geodesic measurement method, by applying them to the methodological and theoretical positions of researchers in the production of knowledge in the humanities and social sciences.

To do so, particular emphasis is laid on the work of Japanese anthropologist Junzo Kawada (1934-), one of the pioneers of African studies in Japan who has been working on the Mossi society of Burkina Faso and earned his PhD under the supervision of Georges Balandier, in France. His thought is characterised by the concept of "cultural triangulation" (bunka no sankakusokuryō), an approach whereby he proposes a method of discontinuous comparison, setting aside the issue of disseminating practice in related social spaces, but which aims to single out contrasts and constants, as well as possibilities of transfer and adaptation, from a perspective that is not only descriptive but also creative.

Other Japanese authors, by investigating distant societies from the Japanese standpoint, have also carried out research questioning the understanding and assimilation of the Other in the Japanese society and mindset. Ippei Tanaka (1882- 1934) was one of the pioneers of Islamic studies in Japan, by considering Islam from the perspective of China and Chinese religious reconceptualisation, resulting in a pan-Asian vision that has ensued an integration of Islam that differs from Western-centric worldviews.

This round table proposes to put into perspective the research of Kawada, Tanaka and other researchers, by situating them within the intellectual stakes of their time and by remobilising their thinking to respond to today’s intellectual challenges, which requires a rethinking of the circulation and exchange of models.

By focusing on the concept of ‘triangulation’, the collective seeks to consider the angles opened up by third-party positions significantly involved in the construction of questions, the collection of information and the production of interpretations, rather than assigning each and every one to a linear identity defined at the crossroads of their national framework of initial academic training and their focus area of specialization.

The Round table and the Side event are co-organized by the Fondation France-Japon de l’EHESS, the GIS Asie, the GIS Afrique and the Campus Condorcet, in the framework of ICAS 12.

  • Round table: 26 August 2021 | 9.00 - 11.00 (France) | 16.00 - 18.00 (Japan)
  • Side Event: 27 August 2021 | 9.00 - 12.15 (France) | 16.00 - 19.15 (Japan)
  • Online through the ICAS website or onsite: Campus Condorcet, 2 cours des humanités 93300 Aubervilliers, Centre des colloques, Salle 50 (free of charge onsite)
  • In English 
  • Speakers: Kae Amo (Kyoto Seika University), Mohamed Belhadj (CéSor/CCJ-EHESS), Éloi Ficquet (CéSor-EHESS), Frédéric Joulian (Centre Norbert Elias-EHESS), Sébastien Lechevalier (FFJ-EHESS), Sakiko Nakao (Kyoto Seika University, CAACCS), Yana Pak (CETOBAC-EHESS), Oussouby Sacko (Kyoto Seika University), Clémence Schantz (IRD), Aurélie Varrel (GIS Asie), Mayuko Yamamoto (CESPRA-EHESS)  
Aires culturelles, Anthropologie Afrique, Arabe (monde), Asie, Europe, Japon, Musulmans (mondes)

Informations pratiques

  • Thursday 26 August 2021 - 09:00 to Friday 27 August 2021 - 12:15
  • Campus Condorcet, 2 cours des humanités 93300 Aubervilliers, Centre des colloques, Salle 50
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