From dream to reality
the birth of "Vincennes"
The aim of this chapter is to revisit the creation of the experimental university centre known as "Vincennes", which subsequently became the current Paris VIII-Saint Denis University. The history of this university, built during the summer of 1968 and instituted by decree on 7 December 1968, is still essentially unknown, or at best merely glimpsed through its stars, Gilles Deleuze and Michel Foucault. Frequently associated with the events of May in the context of their commemoration, it is presented as the "incarnation of the spirit of May", whether that be intended as a positive or a negative attribute. Thus it is generally taken to have been hyper-politicized and radically "gauchiste", as well as the locus for avant-garde methods of intellectual production and dissemination. Its programmes are infamously known to have been interdisciplinary, taught in small groups and without any examinations in the traditional sense. And the supposedly open dimension of the centre is remembered above all for the fact that registration did not require the baccalauréat qualification, normally a prerequisite for entry to university in France. These rather mythical "facts' are all partial in both senses of the term, and tend to suggest that there was a much greater homogeneity of experience and practice than was in fact the case.
Dormoy-Rajramanan, C. (2011)., From dream to reality: the birth of "Vincennes", in J. Jackson, A. Milne & J. Williams (eds.), May 68, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 245-262.
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