Renewing the Encounter between Human Sciences, the Arts, and the Humanities

The 2012 International Human Science Research Conference will take place on the 25th to the 29th of June, on the campus of the University of Quebec at Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

In our preparations for the International Human Science Research Conference of Montreal, 2012, we are guided by the hope that the conference may lead us all to a deeper questionning of the inherent, ancient and interdependent relationship between the human sciences, the arts and the humanities. We therefore warmly invite presentations inspired by that theme, but with the understanding that we do not mean to discourage others from addressing different topics of interest to our community.

Both Husserl and Gadamer –and many others– have extensively commented on the perverse effects of narrow scientism, materialism and objectivism on our culture in general and on the practice of the human sciences in particular. Their criticism remains as relevant today as when it was first formulated by Husserl more than three quarters of a century ago.

The conference at Montreal wants to be an occasion to reflect on the distorting effects of narrowly conceived methods, theories and practices that forever send the human sciences on new paths that do not connect with the older, nor set the stage for future ones. We might well ask to what extend the modern human sciences owe their existence to a fascination with methods and procedures rather than to a genuine desire to shed light on the human condition.

This appears to be so much the case that it often escapes us to think of the arts and the humanities, and included in this myths and religious practices, literature and even cinema, as sources of light that illuminate our existence and that permit us in the first place to bring self, world and others into sharper focus.

We might ask if it is still possible for the contemporary human sciences, as these are taught and practiced in the modern university, to reconnect us to those other and older human explorations or “sciences” in the form of the arts, the humanities, and the great works of our cultural heritage. Seen from this angle we might inquire how the contemporary human sciences might break out of the cocoon of scientism so as to find their way back to the age-old traditions of the humanities. It would appear that such a homecoming to ancient disciplines and sources would revitalize the human sciences and permit these to do greater justice to the variety and richness of human experience.

Note : The University of Quebec in Montreal is a French-speaking institution, but all the scientific, social and festive activities of the conference will be held in English.


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