Humanities Futures

Center Research Theme for 2014–15

For 2014–15, scholars from the humanities, arts, and sciences will join the Center for 21st Century Studies (C21) in addressing the theme, Humanities Futures. This theme is designed to complement UWM’s Year of the Humanities.

In choosing to focus on Humanities Futures for 2014-15, the Center for 21st Century Studies will support projects that address Humanities Futures through their innovative use of methodologies and their definition of new research problems. In this sense we mean also to play on the financial meaning of futures as risk or speculation, in that we are especially interested in projects that take chances, that invest intellectual and scholarly resources into areas of study and methodologies that may be untried or experimental. We also encourage projects that imagine or demonstrate a variety of possible futures for the humanities, including but not limited to its engagement with new forms of digital media.

Work that falls under the rubric of Humanities Futures includes:

  • the creation and imagination of the future throughout the history of humanistic inquiry, the ways in which the humanities has always been engaged with the future as well as the past
  • the appropriation and interrogation of non-humanistic disciplines—e.g., natural and social sciences, arts, engineering, computing—with the scholarly, critical, and analytical tools and methods of inquiry that have marked the humanities for centuries
  • applications of non-humanistic tools and methodologies to areas of research traditionally falling under the rubric of the humanities—literature, philosophy, art, music, language, history, and culture—including but not limited to the digital humanities
  • expansions of the humanities beyond the academy itself, into the public humanities, which aim to bring the traditions of humanities research and scholarship to bear upon real-world problems
  • inquiries about where the future of the humanities lies, and projections about where the humanities should go

Image: Hydrogen Fluoride, Wikimedia Commons