For the first time in its history, the International Inuit Studies Conference took place in France in October 2006. It was hosted by the Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales (INALCO), in partnership with the Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS, research teams: CELIA - Centre d'études des langues indigènes d'Amérique; EHGO - Epistémologie et Histoire de la Géographie, UMR Géographie-cités; and GDR Mutations polaires), and took place in the newly opened Musée du Quai Branly (MQB).
The International Inuit Studies Conference has been a regular bi-annual meeting since 1978 and in Paris we celebrated its 15th edition. The Conference is pluridisciplinary and offers a unique overview of the state of Inuit studies worldwide. Each meeting encourages researchers to offer their contributions on a specific theme, chosen by the local organizing committee, while remaining open to other thematic sessions. For the Paris venue we decided to organize our scientific work around the theme of Orality, a major issue in contemporary Inuit societies. (Let us remind readers unfamiliar with Inuit culture that alphabetization occurred in the 18th or 19th century, or in the first half of the 20th century depending on the regions.)
As Bernard Saladin d'Anglure reminded Conference participants, 2006 was also the one hundredth anniversary of the publication of Marcel Mauss and Henri Beuchat's famous paper "Essai sur les variations saisonnières des Eskimo - étude de morphologie sociale", in L'année sociologique, later translated and published in English: 1979. Seasonal variations of the Eskimo: a study in social morphology. London / Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul.