Special Issue "The Challenges of the Humanities, Past, Present, and Future - Volume 2"

A special issue of Humanities (ISSN 2076-0787).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 June 2015).

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Albrecht Classen Website E-Mail
Department of German Studies, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA
Phone: 520 621-1395
Fax: +1 520 626-8268
Interests: medieval and early modern cultural history and humanities; premodern gender studies; history of mentality; comparative literature

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

One of the key issues which have faced the humanities throughout time simply pertains to their justification, legitimization, and hence acceptance in the canon of subjects at the academy. At the same time all cultures have been fundamentally determined by humanities. Yet the increasing capitalization of our world today, oriented toward profit making only, represents a new dimension in the attack on the humanities. Of course, there could be a lot of hype in such cheap shots against literature, the arts, philosophy, religion, or history, but in the present climate everywhere money seems to matter most. Nevertheless, as numerous influential scholars have argued recently, such an approach can only be called short-sighted and ultimately self-destructive since human life in all of its dimension requires considerably more than money, which is certainly necessary, but only a medium for other ends. We do not need to preach to the converted, but we need to engage the community of scholars in the humanities and their allies in all other disciplines to embrace the ideals represented by the humanities and explain effectively and convincingly what we can achieve, why we are important, if not essential, and how we can establish dialogues across the disciplines for the improvement of all human lives. Papers are invited that will probe more deeply what it means to pursue humanistic scholarship and how this can be connected with the basic human quest for meaning. Interdisciplinary approaches are particularly welcome.

Prof. Dr. Albrecht Classen
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Humanities is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


Keywords

  • humanities
  • legitimization
  • the canon
  • the academy
  • meaning of life
  • dialogue across the disciplines

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Thick Description beyond the Digital Space
Humanities 2016, 5(1), 2; https://doi.org/10.3390/h5010002 - 25 Dec 2015
Abstract
The arrival and rapid spread of digital media can help the humanities better discern general patterns in human societies and cultures, and single out instances or moments which need an in-depth analysis. However, the process of digitization also poses certain threats to the [...] Read more.
The arrival and rapid spread of digital media can help the humanities better discern general patterns in human societies and cultures, and single out instances or moments which need an in-depth analysis. However, the process of digitization also poses certain threats to the humanities: it introduces new and possibly distorting filters between ourselves and our object of research, it can make us blind to the social, political and cultural situatedness of the sources, and it can cause us to forget that certain aspects of human life are simply too complex to be digitally understood. Briefly elaborating on the case of parliamentary irony in Belgian history, I try to demonstrate the need to combine “flat” digital searches with multilayered hermeneutic approaches based on traditional philological research. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Ubiquity of Humanity and Textuality in Human Experience
Humanities 2015, 4(4), 885-904; https://doi.org/10.3390/h4040885 - 27 Nov 2015
Abstract
The so-called “crisis of the humanities” can be understood in terms of an asymmetry between the natural and social sciences on the one hand and the humanities on the other. While the sciences approach topics related to human experience in quantificational or experimental [...] Read more.
The so-called “crisis of the humanities” can be understood in terms of an asymmetry between the natural and social sciences on the one hand and the humanities on the other. While the sciences approach topics related to human experience in quantificational or experimental terms, the humanities turn to ancient, canonical, and other texts in the search for truths about human experience. As each approach has its own unique limitations, it is desirable to overcome or remove the asymmetry between them. The present article seeks to do just that by advancing and defending the following two claims: (a) that humanity is ubiquitous wherever language is used; and (b) that anything that can be experienced by humans is in need of an interpretation. Two arguments are presented in support of these claims. The first argument concerns the nature of questions, which are one of the fundamental marks or manifestations of human language. All questions are ultimately attempts to find meanings or interpretations of what is presented. As such, in questioning phenomena, one seeks to transcend the negative space or oppression of imposed structures; in doing so, one reveals one’s humanity. Second, all phenomena are textual in nature: that which astrophysicists find in distant galaxies or which cognitive neuroscientists find in the structures of the human brain are no less in need of interpretation than the dialogues of Plato or the poems of Homer. Texts are ubiquitous. The implications of these two arguments are identified and discussed in this article. In particular, it is argued that the ubiquity of humanity and textuality points to a view of human nature that is neither individualistic nor collectivist but rather integrational in suggesting that the realization of oneself is inseparable from the realization of others. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Involved Knowing: On the Poetic Epistemology of the Humanities
Humanities 2015, 4(4), 600-622; https://doi.org/10.3390/h4040600 - 16 Oct 2015
Cited by 1
Abstract
The humanities represent a type of knowledge distinct from, and yet encompassing, scientific knowledge. Drawing on philosophical hermeneutics in the tradition of the Geisteswissenschaften, as well as on the Latin rhetorical tradition and on Greek paideia, this essay presents humanities knowledge [...] Read more.
The humanities represent a type of knowledge distinct from, and yet encompassing, scientific knowledge. Drawing on philosophical hermeneutics in the tradition of the Geisteswissenschaften, as well as on the Latin rhetorical tradition and on Greek paideia, this essay presents humanities knowledge as “involved knowing”. Science, in principle, abstracts from the subjective, psychological conditions of knowing, including its emotional and willful determinants, as introducing personal biases, and it attempts also to neutralize historical and cultural contingencies. Humanities knowledge, in contrast, focuses attention on precisely these subjective and historical factors as intrinsic to any knowledge in its full human purport. In particular, poetry, which historically is the matrix of knowledge in all fields, including science, deliberately explores and amply expresses these specifically human registers of significance. The poetic underpinnings of knowledge actually remain crucial to human knowing and key to interpreting its significance in all domains, including the whole range of scientific fields, throughout the course of its development and not least in the modern age so dominated by science and technology. Full article
Open AccessArticle
“More Hands” Means “More Ideas”: Collaboration in the Humanities
Humanities 2015, 4(3), 353-368; https://doi.org/10.3390/h4030353 - 31 Aug 2015
Cited by 1
Abstract
Like those in the Sciences and Social Sciences, humanities researchers are turning to collaborations to explore increasingly complex questions and implement new forms of methodologies. Granting agencies are supporting this trend with specific programs focused on highly collaborative research. While researchers and other [...] Read more.
Like those in the Sciences and Social Sciences, humanities researchers are turning to collaborations to explore increasingly complex questions and implement new forms of methodologies. Granting agencies are supporting this trend with specific programs focused on highly collaborative research. While researchers and other associated team members welcome these collaborations as a way to undertake projects that would not be otherwise possible, work needs to be done to prepare individuals for team research. This becomes especially important for those in the Humanities who have been trained in single author work patterns and rewarded for those. Given this, what does collaboration look like in Humanities research? This paper will explore the experience of a large scale Humanities collaboration to understand the nature of collaboration, benefits and challenges and conclude with best practices for individuals and teams considering collaborative research. Full article
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