Culture and Empire

“The enchanted place in which the marquise usually received her intimate friends was the famous Chambre Bleu-The Blue Room. The walls were hung with blue brocade interwoven with threads of silver and gold; the chairs were upholstered in blue; the curtains on the bed were blue. In addition to this enchanting unity of color, another surprise was the unusual purpose to which the room was put. Breaking with convention, Madame de Rambouillet had transferred her actual bedroom to a little closet and had turned the big bedroom into an official reception room. The decision, taken for reasons of convenience and health, allowed Arthenice to receive her guests as she lay stretched on the daybed in the most protected corner of the room. The practice set an example and was to become a social ritual. The ruelle-as the space between the bed and the wall came to be known-was to become par excellence the part of the room where seventeenth-century ladies received their guests.”

– The Age of Conversation

The unexpected joy and theatrics of Madame de Rambouillet’s salon, captured the hearts and imagination of 18th century Paris.

We invite you, good friends, to re-enchant the world with us in a spirit of Enlightenment for our November salon entitled “Culture and Empire.” The celebrated Dr. Hans Köchler will be our honorary guest. Dr. Köchler is Chairman of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Innsbruck and President of the International Progress Organization, a think-tank with consultative rights with the Economics and Social Council of the United Nations. Among his innumerable achievements he has developed a hermeneutics of trans-cultural understanding. Additionally, he was nominated by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan as an observer at the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing trial. We have the special opportunity to converse with him on the imperial claim to cultural supremacy versus the dialectics of cultural identity.

Although we will not receive our guests reclined in a daybed, one can be sure that the evening will hold many delightful surprises for the senses, the intellect, and above all, the spirit.

In preparation for a fruitful conversation, we encourage you to read “Civilization as Instrument of World Order? The Role of the Civilizational Paradigm in the Absence of a Balance of Power” An online version is available here: http://i-p-o.org/Koechler-Civilization_as_Instrument_of_World_Order-2006.pdf

To receive an invitation to the Autumn Salon, please contact Justine Kolata at jk554@cam.ac.uk