HiCSA research centre

HiCSA research centre - University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne

Director: Pierre Wat, professor
General manager: Zinaïda Polimenova, research engineer
Administrator: Antoine Scotto, research technician

The HiCSA (cultural and social history of the arts) host team at the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne is one of the leading university research centres in France for the history of art, both for the size of its permanent staff (39 lecturer-researchers in 2023) and the number of areas covered, from medieval cultures to the most contemporary art, including the Renaissance and modern Northern Europe. While works of art and creative processes form the core of the centre’s research, matters relating to institutions, the study of relations between art, architecture and heritage, and the inclusion of art economics and art communities are currently among our research teams’ interests. Within HiCSA, art history is defined in an open-ended manner, extending beyond the traditional perimeter of the fine arts, photography, decorative arts and the conservation and restoration of cultural goods. A number of projects concerning the world outside Europe, such as Africa, Latin America and the Middle East, are evidence of our desire to see art history against a wider background, open to contemporary issues both in terms of methods (visual culture) and the geography of art in an age of globalisation.

These research fields require multidisciplinary points of view and are situated at the crossroads of the humanities and social sciences: art philosophy, cultural history, visual anthropology, sociology, art economics, literature. By removing the barriers between chronological and cultural areas, seeking out new themes and emphasising critical theory, we at HiCSA see ourselves as an emblematic forum where researchers practise and invent a history of art engaging with culture as a major anthropological and political feature of modernity.

HiCSA’s research activities include scholarly events, research programmes, publishing and the provision of masters and PhD courses for large numbers of students. HiCSA supervises over 160 PhD students from ED 441 History of art, France’s largest art history doctoral school.