Dynamic metacritical, systemic, paradigmatic thinking about our times is a direct outcome of the work of the humanistic disciplines, for they provide us with the language to understand the operative and abusive functioning of power and inequality. The humanities also teach us that we internalize these systemic operations as new contradictory “locations”, as new experiences of space and identity, that destabilize and make more difficult our need to feel anchored in our social realities. This prefatory essay outlines a pertinent paradigmatic framing of our neoliberal context and reclaims higher education’s key role in the development of democratic traditions of civic engagement. It offers a hopeful regeneration of our times of crisis through the work of the humanities and highlights the long tradition of cultural critique already in place in gender-sensitive disciplines that opt for a reimagining of the future grounded on social change and justice.
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