woensdag 22 februari 2017

How a New Field Could Help Save the Humanities

Here's my essay in the Chronicle Review that has just been published. I make a case for studying the general history of the humanities on par with (and in close alliance with) the history of the sciences.

"Unlike the history of science, the history of the humanities is not an academic discipline. This is surprising — humanists are among the most historically minded scholars. How can it be that humanists care about the history of everything except about their own? The situation is of course more subtle: There is historiography of philology, of history writing, of religious studies, of art history, of musicology, of literary studies, and more, but what is missing is an academic discipline that explores the history of the humanities together. For the "humanities" to be more than just an umbrella term, this bewildering gap in intellectual history must be remedied. [...]"

Click here for the complete essay.

maandag 6 februari 2017

Workshop on "The Classics of the Humanities"

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor woman scholar painting

What are the classics of humanistic scholarship? Most historians of science or historians of philosophy would be able to produce a list of classical texts within their field in a short time. Such texts are well known, often reproduced, and recommended in syllabi and readers around the world. Nothing similar exists for the history of the humanities. Even if much debate in recent decades has criticized the idea of cannons, there may be good reasons why we need one. An established list of classics would not only make the history of humanities a more teachable topic, but also to promote new research in the field. On the one hand, such a list could inspire scholars to reinvestigate the classics. On the other hand, it could provoke others to question what should and should not be considered classics, as it has happened in recent decades in other historical fields.

We focus upon the formative period of the modern humanistic disciplines from the middle of the eighteenth to the middle of twentieth century. We are especially interested in texts that exemplify the methods and research practices of the modern humanistic scholarship. These texts can be foundational texts in specific disciplines and/or text that have had long lasting influence beyond disciplinary and national boundaries. However, we are also interested in texts from “lost” scholarly traditions, which were once considered as foundational, but no longer are read. This could, for example, be texts from traditions of scholarship that are now considered as outdated, such as antiquarianism, traditions that have been discarded as political and scholarly mistakes, such as racist anthropology, or non-western scholarly traditions.

Organizers:  Rens Bod, University of Amsterdam, and Kasper Risbjerg Eskildsen, Roskilde University

For more information and registration, click here.

[IMAGE: Juana Inés de la Cruz (1666). Signed J. Sánchez. Juana Inés de la Cruz (1651–1695) was a self-taught scholar, poet and dramatist.]

Call for Abstracts: The Making of the Humanities VI, Oxford, 28-30 September 2017

The sixth conference on the history of the humanities, ‘The Making of the Humanities VI’, will take place at the University of Oxford, Humanities Division and Somerville College, UK, from 28 till 30 September 2017.

Goal of the Making of the Humanities (MoH) Conferences

The MoH conferences are organized by the Society for the History of the Humanities and bring together scholars and historians interested in the history of a wide variety of disciplines, including archaeology, art history, historiography, linguistics, literary studies, media studies, musicology, and philology, tracing these fields from their earliest developments to the modern day.
    We welcome panels and papers on any period or region. We are especially interested in work that compares scholarly practices across humanities disciplines and civilizations.
    Please note that the Making of the Humanities conferences are not concerned with the history of art, the history of music or the history of literature, and so on, but instead with the history of art history, the history of musicology, the history of literary studies, etc.

Keynote Speakers

Elisabeth Décultot, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg: From an Antiquarian to an Historical Approach? The Birth of Art History in the 18th Century
Shamil Jeppie, University of Cape Town: Styles of Writing History in Timbuktu and the Sahara/Sahel
Peter Mandler, University of Cambridge: The Rise (and Fall?) of the Humanities

Paper Submissions

Abstracts of single papers (30 minutes including discussion) should contain the name of the speaker, full contact address (including email address), the title and a summary of the paper of maximally 250 words. For more information about submitting abstracts, see http://www.historyofhumanities.org/.
Deadline for abstracts: 15 April 2017
Notification of acceptance: June 2017

Panel Submissions

Panels last 1.5 to 2 hours and can consist of 3-4 papers and possibly a commentary on a coherent theme including discussion. Panel proposals should contain respectively the name of the chair, the names of the speakers and commentator, full contact addresses (including email addresses), the title of the panel, a short (150 words) description of the panel’s content and for each paper an abstract of maximally 250 words. For more information about submitting panels, see http://www.historyofhumanities.org/.
Deadline for panel proposals: 15 April 2017
Notification of acceptance: June 2017