GEMCA's Perspective

For several years there has been a disciplinary reconfiguration in the study of the arts and literature as well as a diversification of approaches regarding the modern period. Alongside literature and the history of art other approaches have come to the fore,  such as visual studies, the study of the historical development of semiotic theories, and cultural analysis, all allowing the assembly and comparison of certain facts and cultural products which have traditionally belonged to different disciplinary fields.  On the one hand this renewal has come about within disciplines and within the historical field, in the sense of an increase in the publication of major studies and of a revival of interest in neglected areas of the period (rhetorical and semiotic studies, humanist emblems and symbolism, baroque literature, “modernities”, anthropology of the image, etc.). On the other hand the renewal has come about through the adoption of an interdisciplinary and European perspective, in the sense of an opening up to inter-artistic exchange (the relation between texts, images and music, for example) and to a broad contextualisation of the literary and artistic reality, taking into account the social and political actors of cultural life relevant to the period. Literature has thus become open to history of art and to history of science, just as history of art is bringing renewed attention to bear on the connection between text and image.
But even more fundamentally, these two disciplines are characterised by an increased interest in cultural history and historical anthropology. Objects of study such as ‘the image’ have benefited in particular, since they are located at the meeting point of the disciplines cited above and have a complexity that can only be approached from an interdisciplinary perspective.
The historical opening up has also been made from a diachronic and critical viewpoint in studies relating to the reception and to the image of the 18th century fashioned and conveyed by historians, historians of the literature and art of the 19th century. Hence, this putting into perspective has been not only disciplinary and historical, but has also been geographical in that it pays attention to networks of European circulation working through certain types of organisation that surpass national boundaries.
GEMCA’s activities lie within this tradition, taking as  a springboard the study of representations, and in particular the study of the modes (or systems) according to which significant relationships between texts and images are established, or according to which images and texts maintain relations of necessity (cognitive, anthropological, theological, hermeneutic, rhetorical, etc.).


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