Centralization and over-professionalization can lead to the disappearance of a critical environment capable of linking the disciplines to the “real world.” The humanities need to operate in a concrete cultural environment able to influence procedures on a hic et nunc basis and should not entirely depend on normative criteria whose function is often to hide ignorance behind a pretentious veil of value-neutral objectivity.
For example, in sociology, the growth of scientism has fragmented ethical categories and distorted discourse between inner and outer selves. Philosophy is suffering from an empty professionalism current in many philosophy departments in industrialized and developing countries where boring, ahistorical, and nonpolitical exercises are justified through appeals to false excellence.
In all branches of the humanities absurd evaluation processes foster similar tendencies as they create a sterile atmosphere and prevent interdisciplinarity and creativity. An invidious technicization of theory plays into the hands of technocrats. Due to the centralization of editorial power in the hands of large university presses of anglophone countries, the content, quality, and range of modern publishing has become only too predictable.
How do people working in the humanities respond to the crisis in their respective disciplines? Papers including either meta-scientific considerations or concrete observations are welcome.
Lewis Gordon (Temple University)
Richard Shusterman (Florida Atlantic University)
Muhsin Jassim al-Musawi (Columbia University)
Khaldoun al-Naqeeb (Kuwait University)
Visit the conference website here: http://conferences.gust.edu.kw/.