Monday, September 27, 2010

Birkbeck conference: "Why humanities?"

Those who just can't get enough talk about the future of the humanities should check out the conference on 'Why humanities?' at Birkbeck, University of London on November 5. Here's the description

This conference gathers together some of the leading voices in the humanities today. The purpose is to discuss the value of their disciplines in the context of university cutbacks, with a view to developing newly articulated defences of the worth of research in humanities disciplines.

Recent years have witnessed an increasing threat to any stable public understanding of the point of study in the humanities. In financially straightened times, value is too easily bound by an assumption of measurable pay-off that is best suited to the sciences, so that when government funding bodies press their question, we who value the humanities have too often found ourselves stuttering for an answer.
The conference opens with a keynote public address given by Professor Onora O’Neill on the evening of Thursday 4th November, and continues through Friday, with contributions from speakers: Quentin Skinner (QMUL), Joanna Bourke (Birkbeck), Francis Mulhern (University of Middlesex), Raimond Gaita (King’s College London), Kate Soper (London Met), Stefan Collini (Cambridge) and Iain Pears (Historian and Writer). Onora O'Neill keynote address - Thursday 4th November 6pm Beveridge Hall, Senate House, followed by a reception. This event is co-sponsored by the Institute of Philosophy and supported by the Philosophers' Magazine.
One day conference - Friday 5th November Room B34 Birkbeck Main Building. Both events are free and open to the public.
 I hope an ISW reader can attend and report back on their discussions!


  1. Do such events attract non-humanities, and, especially, non-academic persons?

    If not, then I'm not sure what sort of impact it will having in improving the situation of the humanities.

    But, like you, I hope an eyewitness will report.

  2. Edit: I tried to get my name, Eric Brown, in the post, but took a nice trip in the fail boat. Sorry.


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