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Devoted to the study of the civilization of the Renaissance (the latter understood in its most extended chronological sense--from Petrarch to Descartes--and in its widest geographic reach, namely throughout Europe and the areas of European domination beyond), as well as to the interpretations of that initial European "modernity" offered from the fourteenth century to the present), the CESR has been organized since its inception on a broadly disciplinary basis according to eight research teams: 1) History; 2) History of the Visual Arts; 3) History of the Book; 4) Forms of Humanism; 5) French and Neo-Latin literature; 6) "Littératures--Mentalités--Représentations"; 7) Musicology; and 8) Philosophy.
Without rejecting the principle of research teams, which is still recognized, the establishment of its programmes of research has provided the CESR with the opportunity of pursuing as far as possible the logic of multi-disciplinarity (likewise recognized from the beginning), by putting in place four research axes, as well as a shared thematic orientation.
--Modernity and universality in the Renaissance sciences
--Representations and practices of the vita activa and the vita contemplativa
--The staging of forms of power and knowledge
--Forms of textual production, cultural transmission
--Shared thematic orientation: The Renaissance in--and of--the Loire Valley, which has as its objectives
In parallel with these projects, the support of the Ministry of Culture and of the CNRS ensures the continuation of two programmes of research in place since 1991:
--Architectura A data base of books on architecture manuscripts and prints published in France, written in French or translated into French during the 16th and 17th centuries
--History of the book: the cataloguing of French incunabula and the constitution of a "virtual Humanist library" (on the basis of regional collections)
--In musicology, the programme "Ricercar"