Rita Felski and Stephen Muecke (eds.), Latour and the Humanities – Johns Hopkins University Press, September 2020
How does the work of influential theorist Bruno Latour offer a fresh angle on the practices and purposes of the humanities?
In recent years, defenses of the humanities have tended to argue along predictable lines: the humanities foster empathy, the humanities encourage critical thinking, the humanities offer a counterweight to the cold calculations of the natural and social sciences. The essays in Latour and the Humanities take a different approach. Exploring the relevance of theorist Bruno Latour’s work, they argue for attachments and entanglements between the humanities and the sciences while looking closely at the interests, institutions, and intellectual projects that shape the humanities within and beyond the university.
The collection, which is written by a group of highly distinguished scholars from around the world, is divided into two sections. In the first part, authors engage in depth with Latour’s work while also rethinking the ties between the humanities and the sciences. Essays argue for greater attention to the nonhuman world, the urgency of climate change, and more nuanced views of universities as institutions. The second half of the volume contains essays that reflect on Latour’s influence on the practices of specific disciplines, including art, the digital humanities, film studies, and political theory.
Inspiring conversation about the relevance of actor-network-theory for research and teaching in the humanities, Latour and the Humanities offers a substantial introduction to Latour’s work while discussing the humanities without falling back on the genres of either the sermon or the jeremiad. This volume will be of interest to all those searching for fresh perspectives on the value and importance of humanistic disciplines and thought.
Contributors: David J. Alworth, Anders Blok, Claudia Breger, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Yves Citton, Steven Connor, Gerard de Vries, Simon During, Rita Felski, Francis Halsall, Graham Harman, Antoine Hennion, Casper Bruun Jensen, Bruno Latour, Heather Love, Patrice Maniglier, Stephen Muecke, Barbara Herrnstein Smith, Nigel Thrift, Michael Witmore