Sometimes, there appears to be a general feeling that the humanities are in crisis, or somehow not up with the times. As an antidote to this crisis, a return to humanist values is then proposed, which would enable the humanities to defend its legacy as valuable in its own rights.
In Future Humanities, we would like to reject both of these tendencies: on the one hand we believe far from being in crisis, the humanities are rather going through a paroxysm which will ultimately lead to transformation; on the other hand, we believe that the humanities should look beyond and critically challenge their humanist legacy and seek fruitful transversal interactions with contemporary sciences and arts.
What we witness is a convergence of various forms of new and critical humanities, aimed at the environmental, biomedical, public, and digital challenges of our times. Far from being outdated, the humanities are crucial for emerging fields of research, not because of their emphasis on “human(e)” values, but instead for their ability and tools to look beyond and problematise them.
This journal proposes to become a platform for all forms of innovative humanities research, which take the epistemological, scientific, and societal challenges of our times seriously by actively outlining experimental methodologies, showcasing best practises in trans-disciplinary research formats, and bridging epistemic gaps in humanities and scientific research which have often been overlooked.
We witness how digital, technological, and biomedical innovations are quickly transforming our societies. These transformations demand more than the mere application of practical ethics onto these issues. We are increasingly lost for compelling narratives to make sense of these developments. The environmental challenges to societies are enormous, and present themselves as “hyper-objects”, which we are incapable of grasping with our inherited imagination skills. The role of public intellectuals becomes ever more important, but their task description is ever more opaque. This, however, should not lead us to agonise over the future. Instead we are looking at affirmative imaginations of transversal humanities practises, which might open up into a realm of post-humanities.
Future Humanities wants to present the width and depth of these transformations. Without remaining fixed to a single approach, or the need for programmatic “solutions”, we propose rhizomatic approaches which are able to “stay with the trouble”, and with a firm grasp on the realities at play.
Find out more about the new journal here
Dr. Francesco Tava is Associate Professor of Philosophy in the Department of Social Sciences at the University of the West of England.
Dr. Daan F. Oostveen is a philosopher and a scholar of religion working at the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies of the Faculty of Humanities of Utrecht University.