The value of the humanities: A two day colloquium

Keynote speaker, Professor Helen Small’s eponymous book The Value of the Humanities (OUP, 2013), will serve as a focus for discussions at the event.

The colloquium will feature panels on:

Knowledge Worlds and Use Value
Pleasure and Practice
Humanities, Civil Society and Democracy
Humanities Futures
Communicating the Humanities
Evaluating the Humanities.

This two-day colloquium will discuss the current state of global humanities through the question of value. Rather than simply defending the humanities against the perceived onslaught of a bureaucratic instrumentalism or praising the humanities for upholding intellectual and aesthetic autonomy, the colloquium will seek to examine the ways in which the Humanities makes and communicates knowledge, and, in the process, expresses its value to the world at large. When humanities scholars engage in public debate or seek to influence policy development, they do not necessarily capitulate to an economic or political instrumentalism. Nor are idealistic perspectives on the humanities invariably tinged with a romantic or modernist disdain for the utilitarian. Optimization of pleasure and the cultivation of a good life are after all long standing utilitarian tenets.