In his famous classification of the sciences, Francis Bacon not only catalogued those branches of knowledge that already existed in his time, but also anticipated the new disciplines he believed would emerge in the future: the "desirable sciences." Mikhail Epstein echoes, in part, Bacon's vision and outlines the "desirable" disciplines and methodologies that may emerge in the humanities in response to the new realities of the twenty-first century. Are the humanities a purely scholarly field, or should they have some active, constructive supplement? We know that technology serves as the practical extension of the natural sciences, and politics as the extension of the social sciences. Both technology and politics are designed to transform what their respective disciplines study objectively. The Transformative Humanities: A Manifesto addresses the question: Is there any activity in the humanities that would correspond to the transformative status of technology and politics? It argues that we need a practical branch of the humanities which functions similarly to technology and politics, but is specific to the cultural domain.
Non–Marxist Thought of the Late Soviet Period (1953–1991)
Author: Mikhail Epstein
Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
Category: Literary Criticism
This groundbreaking work by one of the world's foremost theoreticians of culture and scholars of Russian philosophy gives for the first time a systematic examination of the development of Russian philosophy during the late Soviet period. Countering the traditional view of an intellectual wilderness under the Soviet regime, Mikhail Epstein provides a comprehensive account of Russian thought of the second half of the 20th century that is highly sophisticated without losing clarity. It provides new insights into previously mostly ignored areas such as late Soviet Russian nationalism and Eurasianism, religious thought, cosmism and esoterism, and postmodernism and conceptualism. Epstein shows how Russian philosophy has long been trapped in an intellectual prison of its own making as it sought to create its own utopia. However, he demonstrates that it is time to reappraise Russian thought, now freed from the bonds of Soviet totalitarianism and ideocracy but nevertheless dangerously engaged into new nationalist aspirations and metaphysical radicalism. We are left with not only a new and exciting interpretation of recent Russian intellectual history, but also the opportunity to rethink our philosophical heritage.
Communication Theory Through the Ages presents communication theory as a journey through history by way of asking engaged questions. Encouraging intellectual vitality, the authors show students step by step how theoretical ideas are interconnected and lead to an increasingly complex understanding of communication. Students will be motivated to ask questions as they encounter historical figures, social events, and artifacts, resulting in a richer understanding of the biographical, cultural, and social context for communication theories.
The book aims to introduce a research concept called "Numanities", as one possible attempt to overcome the current scientific, social and institutional crisis of the humanities. Such crisis involves their impact on, and role within, society; their popularity among students and scholars; and their identity as producers and promoters of knowledge. The modern western world and its economic policies have been identified as the strongest cause of such a crisis. Creating the conditions for, but in fact encouraging it. However, a self-critical assessment of the situation is called for. Our primary fault as humanists was that of stubbornly thinking that the world’s changes could never really affect us, as – we felt – our identity was sacred. In the light of these approaches, the main strengths of humanities have been identified in the ability to: promote critical thinking and analytical reasoning; provide knowledge and understanding of democracy and social justice; develop leadership, cultural and ethical values. The main problems of humanities are the lack economic relevance; the socio-institutional perception of them as “impractical” and unemployable; the fact that they do not match with technological development. Finally, the resulting crisis consists mainly in the absence (or radical reduction) of funding from institutions; a decrease in student numbers a decrease in interest; a loss of centrality in society. A Numanities (New Humanities) project should consider all these aspects, with self-critical assessment on the first line. The goal is to unify the various fields, approaches and also potentials of the humanities in the context, dynamics and problems of current societies, and in an attempt to overcome the above-described crisis. Numanities are introduced not as a theoretical paradigm, but in terms of an “umbrella-concept” that has no specific scientific content in it: that particularly means that the many existing new fields and research trends that are addressing the same problems (post-humanism, transhumanism, transformational humanities, etc.) are not competitors of Numanities, but rather possible ways to them. Therefore, more than a theoretical program, Numanities intend to pursue a mission, and that is summarized in a seven-point manifesto. In the light of these premises and reflections, the book then proceeds to identify the areas of inquiry that Numanities, in their functions and comprehensive approach, seek to cover. The following list should also be understood as a statement of purposes for this entire book series. These, in other words, will be the topics/areas we intend to represent. Once elaborated on the foundations of Numanities, the book features a second part that presents two case studies based on two relatively recent (and now updated) investigations that the author has performed in the fields of musical and animal studies respectively. The two cases (and relative areas of inquiry) were selected because they were considered particularly relevant within the discussion of Numanities, and in two different ways. In the first case-study the author discussed the most typical result (or perhaps cause?) of the technophobic attitude that was addressed in the first part of the book: the issue of “authenticity”, as applied, in the author's particular study, to popular music. In the second case-study, he analyzes two different forms of comparative analysis between human and non-human cognition: like in the former case, this study, too, is aimed at a critical commentary on (what the author considers) redundant biases in current humanistic research – anthropocentrism and speciesism.
The global ecological crisis is the greatest challenge humanity has ever had to confront, and humanity is failing. The triumph of the neo-liberal agenda, together with a debauched ‘scientism’, has reduced nature and people to nothing but raw materials, instruments and consumers to be efficiently managed in a global market dominated by corporate managers, media moguls and technocrats. The arts and the humanities have been devalued, genuine science has been crippled, and the quest for autonomy and democracy undermined. The resultant trajectory towards global ecological destruction appears inexorable, and neither governments nor environmental movements have significantly altered this, or indeed, seem able to. The Philosophical Foundations of Ecological Civilization is a wide-ranging and scholarly analysis of this failure. This book reframes the dynamics of the debate beyond the discourses of economics, politics and techno-science. Reviving natural philosophy to align science with the humanities, it offers the categories required to reform our modes of existence and our institutions so that we augment, rather than undermine, the life of the ecosystems of which we are part. From this philosophical foundation, the author puts forth a manifesto for transforming our culture into one which could provide an effective global environmental movement and provide the foundations for a global ecological civilization.
This book explores the strong links between sustainability and the humanities, which go beyond the inclusion of social sciences in discussions on sustainability, and offers a holistic discussion on the intellectual and moral aspects of sustainable development. The contributions from researchers in the fields of education, social sciences, religion, humanities, and sustainable development fulfill three main aims: They provide university lecturers interested in humanities and sustainable development with an opportunity to present their work; foster the exchange of information, ideas and experiences acquired in the execution of teaching and research; and discuss methodological approaches and projects that provide a better understanding of how the humanities can contribute to the debate on sustainable development. Prepared by the Inter-University Sustainable Development Research Programme and the World Sustainable Development Research and Transfer Centre, the book reiterates the need to promote integrated approaches to sustainable development. Including practice-based lessons learnt that can be replicated further, it is a valuable resource for scientists and practitioners working in the humanities and sustainable development.
The contemporary study of sexuality too often finds itself at an impasse, conceptualizing sexuality either psychologically or sociologically: sexologists and psychologists have tended to point to the biological origins of sexuality underpinned by hormones, drives and, most recently, genetics; in contrast, historians and sociologists point to the social field as the defining force that shapes the meanings given to sexuality and sexual experience. Confronting the limitations and challenges this impasse poses, Katherine Johnson argues for a psychosocial approach that rethinks the relationship between psychic and social realms in the field of sexuality, without reducing it to either. Weaving through an expanse of theoretical and empirical examples drawn from sociology, psychology, queer and cultural studies, she produces an innovative, transdisciplinary perspective on sexual identities, subjectivities and politics that makes an original contribution to key debates ranging from identity politics and gay marriage, to mental health ‘risks’ and queer youth suicide. Embracing ideas from developmental psychology, social constructionist sociology, social and critical psychology, psychoanalysis and queer theory, this original book will be necessary reading for students and scholars of sexuality across the social sciences.