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Tempora’s field of research can be defined as the history of facts and representations in Western societies from antiquity to the present day. The team is mostly made up of historians who maintain a fresh approach to their work through dialogue with researchers from other human and social sciences fields such as anthropology, political sciences or archaeology. Aware of the contemporary challenges of history, the team strives to actively participate in topical debates: the link between citizenship and secularism, the resurgence of populism and religious extremism, the social effects of the digital revolution and the relationship to natural environments.

Research Topics

Effects of scale: from the local to the global

By working at the regional scale (Brittany, in particular) as well as from a transnational approach (in Europe and other continents), and over long periods of time (from antiquity to the 21st century), Tempora pursues three fields of research: identity construction, the relationships between communities and territories, and networks and exchanges.

Governing and being governed

Rather than considering States and spiritual governments as unchanging monolithic realities, the Tempora team analyses their evolutions by narrowing the focus down to their shared continuous processes of construction and fracture. This construction of powers is approached from the following angles: States and Churches: institutional machinery and agent, exercise of authority and population control, dissent, rebellion and repression, wars and societies.

Socio-cultural knowledge and practices

Cultures are developing in the reticulate networks of communities, powers, and trade exchanges, and it is important to understand their complexity. The laboratory’s objective is to cross-relate some of the factors in the historical approach that are generally disjointed but underpin the same identities – always plural and often contradictory. These studies focus in particular on learning, writing practices and book cultures, gender, the body, appearances and identities.


Key Figures:  31 lecturer-researchers / 17 PhD students / 46 associate members



Tempora has access to the documentary resources of the François-Lebrun Library (18,000 works, oriented towards research in history from the Middle Ages to the present day).

The Scientific Interest Group (GIS) Appearances, the Body and Society, with over fifty members throughout Europe, is run by a Tempora member.

Tempora staff are also involved in two ANR projects: PANSER (Southern natural heritage: a small-scale global history) and ACTEPI (French episcopal acts of the Middle Ages: a multi-media edition and analysis).

There is also a Tempora delegation at the French University Institute (IUF).

Each year, Tempora co-organizes History Encounters, an event aimed at the general public held at the Les Champs Libres venue in Rennes.