What are the humanities good for?


Clive Barnett with some thoughts on the ‘War against the Humanities’ piece I shared yesterday.

Originally posted on Pop Theory:

SMAGThere is, apparently, a ‘war against the humanities‘ going on in British higher education, according to a piece in The Observer this weekend. The piece cites as its primary evidence for this ‘war’ the perspectives of scholars from the humanities, of course, lamenting the effects of changes to funding regimes but also the culture of management in British Universities on the proper pursuit of scholarship.

I always worry when ‘the humanities’ is used as a catch-all to encompass the social sciences as well as more ‘arts’-type fields. It is true, of course, that both arts and social sciences disciplines have suffered from the same funding changes since 2010, but I’m not quite sure that the standard ‘whither the humanities?’ style of criticism of higher education policy over this period necessarily sheds much light on what is really going on, or on how best to evaluate it. The piece in The Observer

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Michel Foucault, Qu’est-ce que la critique? Suivie de La culture de soi (2015)


Qu’est-ce que la critique? Suivie de La culture de soi is published

Originally posted on Foucault News:

vrin-15Michel Foucault, Qu’est-ce que la critique? Suivie de La culture de soi
Édition établie par H.-P. Fruchaud et D. Lorenzini
Introduction et apparat critique par D. Lorenzini et A.I. Davidson

Vrin – Philosophie du présent
192 pages – 12,5 × 18 cm
ISBN 978-2-7116-2624-3 – mars 2015

Further info

PDF Table des matières

Le 27 mai 1978, Michel Foucault prononce devant la Société française de Philosophie une conférence où il inscrit sa démarche dans la perspective ouverte par l’article de Kant Qu’est-ce que les Lumières? (1784), et définit la critique, de manière frappante, comme une attitude éthico-politique consistant dans l’art de n’être pas tellement gouverné. Ce volume en présente pour la première fois l’édition critique.

On y trouvera également la traduction d’une conférence inédite intitulée La culture de soi, prononcée à l’Université de Californie à Berkeley le 12 avril 1983. C’est le seul moment où, définissant son travail comme…

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Latour (in French) at the Quai Branly Museum on March 14

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The war against humanities at Britain’s universities

The war against humanities at Britain’s universities – article in The Guardian.

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Top posts on Progressive Geographies this week

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From toxic wreck to crunchy chic: A photo essay – Leslie Kern


Also from Society and Space, a photo essay to accompany a recently published article. Both the essay and article are open access – the article for one month and the essay permanently.

Originally posted on Society and space:

The following photo essay is a supplement to Leslie Kern’s article, “From toxic wreck to crunchy chic: environmental gentrification through the body”, that appears in issue 1 of the 2015 volume of Environment and Planning D: Society and Space. As in the paper, here she draws on her research on Toronto’s Junction neighbourhood to consider how a polluted past can be mobilized as an asset for neighbourhood rebranding and gentrification. The paper will be open access until April 27, 2015. 

Gentrification is a global phenomenon that transforms cities, neighbourhoods, and everyday lives. Cities like Toronto, Canada have seen a variety of neighbourhoods – working class, commercial, ethnic – remade by an influx of wealthier residents and new retail enterprises. But what if your neighbourhood is better known for abattoirs, toxic chemicals, and diesel trains than Victorian housing stock, ethnic restaurants, or historical significance? For over ten years, (2000-2010) I lived…

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Society and Space open access highlight papers updated

The ‘highlights’ section of the Environment and Planning D: Society and Space website has been updated. Several recent papers are now available open access – including pieces by Giorgio Agamben, Henri Lefebvre, Bruce Braun, Melissa Wright, Katharyne Mitchell, Sarah Elwood, Matthew Gandy…

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The Uncollected Foucault – further updates to texts available and requests

This site’s list of Foucault’s uncollected notes, lectures and interviews has been updated again.

One which took a bit of locating was a text supposedly under the title ‘Pour la défense libre’, prepared in late 1979 for a 1980 meeting of lawyers.  The text was apparently originally unsigned, and is sometimes attributed to multiple authors, but both Daniel Defert (‘Chronologie’, DE I, 57) and Philippe Chevalier report that Christian Revon says Foucault was its sole author. It was published in Actes, No 24-25, but it’s actually in a supplement rather than the issue itself (pp. 5-6) – the copy I bought didn’t include it. I found it eventually in the useful archival collections Liasse 1: Se défendre, p. 9, and Quelques archives de la lutte pour la défense libre, pp. 10-11. The image below (click to expand) is the full text. It actually has the title “Se défendre”:Foucault - 1980 Se défendre

Clauses 2 and 3 are quoted in Defert’s Chronology, which is in English in the Blackwell Companion. I’m fairly sure no complete English translation exists. Given Defert mentions it, it’s strange that it’s not included in Dits et écrits.

I am still looking for nine texts – five in French, one of which is in a Tunisian paper, and one each in Portuguese, Italian, Dutch and English. Please help if you can. These are proving very difficult to locate.

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Neil Brenner in Melbourne – video of lecture and audio of interview

Video of Neil Brenner’s recent lecture at the Melbourne School of Design

And an interview conducted on that visit: Man about town: Neil Brenner on reframing our cities and their global impact; with a transcript here.

Thanks to Alvaro Sevilla Buitrago at Multipliciudades for the links.

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Fanatical counter-histories – A conversation with Alberto Toscano and Gisle Selnes

Fanatical counter-histories – A conversation with Alberto Toscano and Gisle Selnes at Eurozine.

The philosopher Alberto Toscano visited Bergen on 29 November 2014 to participate in the seminar “Fanaticism, Extremism, Radicalism”, organized by the research group Radical Philosophy and Literature at the University of Bergen. Toscano also took part in an event at the Literature House in Bergen, where he was interviewed by Gisle Selnes, professor in Comparative Literature at UiB. This interview is an edited version of their conversation and was first printed as part of a dossier on fanaticism in the Norwegian magazine Vagant’s first issue of 2015.

 There is another interview with Alberto at An und fur sich from 2014.

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