On 3 October 2020, a young researchers' study day entitled "Searching for the little beast. Man and the Animal in Antiquity". The first presentation, by Donatella Izzo, explored the ancient origins of a literary and iconographic representation of the rat that is still evident in the collective imagination: a repulsive animal that belongs neither to the domestic sphere of humans nor to the wild world, recluse in an in-between category that often makes it a parasite. The clichés that permeate the French language are just as disreputable: the bookworm, walled up in the shadow of books; the laboratory rat, a weak tool for experimentation.
The RAT junior laboratory has set itself the task of reinvesting these depreciative clichés in order to question their presuppositions. Its name reflects this desire to reconsider our traditional representations of animality, with the dual aim of exposing the ideological biases involved in relegating animals to the bottom of the hierarchy of beings, and of debating the status of a human being perceived as "master and possessor of nature" and, in so doing, of animals. The aim is to bring together young researchers from the Descartes and Monod sites, with a view to federating current research on animals in the arts, literature, social sciences and natural sciences.
Zeïna TMART, Jeanne MOUSNIER-LOMPRÉ and Perrine BELTRAN