European Humanities Conference 2021
The conference is an initiative of UNESCO and the International Council for Philosophy and Human Sciences with the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology, and is part of the programme of the Portuguese Presidency of the European Council.
Lisbon and online
This event will be hosted by Portugal and take place in Lisbon on the 5th-7thMay 2021. Because of the pandemic, however, it will actually take place on line. The Conference will be streamed from the following address: www.europeanhumanities2021.pt
Josep M. Vilalta, GUNi Director, will give in the keynote speech "Synergies between humanities, science and technology: a transformative understanding of the humanities in the 21st century" (Friday May 7th 2021 - 10.30h CET) and will participate in the round table "Multidisciplinary Dynamics as Education and R&D strategies for meaningful problem solving" (Friday May 7th, 2021 - 11h CET), together with Jesús de La Villa (Professor of Ancient Greek Linguistics and Literature, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid ; FIEC), Jane Ohlmeyer (Erasmus Smith's Professor of Modern History at Trinity College Dublin), Doireann Wallace (Research Management at Trinity College Dublin), Darja Fišer (Professor at the Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana), Christian Pohl (Senior scientist, Co-Director USYS TdLab, ETH Zürich), Benedikt Loewe Professor (Universities of Amsterdam, Hamburg, and Cambridge) and Anne Snick (Club of Rome-EU chapter & WAAS Fellow).
Themes of the Conference
The conference’s central theme highlights European Humanities and Beyond. It considers the development and contribution of the Humanities to societal problems in Europe, assuming an understanding of Europe's responsibilities beyond its borders. In this field, the conference will highlight interactions with other academic traditions in the world and give priority to collaboration with Africa.
The following four specific topics articulate the cross-sectional central theme that raises issues such as climate and environmental changes, the relationship between heritage and historical and identity dynamics, management of urban and low demographic density territories, and legal implications of cultural processes or health and social cohesion.
1. Multidisciplinary Dynamics as Education and R&D strategies for meaningful problem solving
Discussions will include the teaching of classical and new Humanities in the various education levels, including a R&D approach and the need to consider all disciplines as equally important and closely linked in education: Science education and Humanities education depend strongly on each other and require a close dialogue across disciplinary borders, facing main global challenges (e.g. climate and environmental concerns, health and wellbeing, or digitalization and human rights).
2. Heritage, mobility and identities
Understandings concerning cultural tangible and intangible heritage, identities, memories and intercultural exchanges; the unity and diversity of Humanity; hierarchies and internal colonization of knowledge and knowledge production; languages and multilingualism; threats to human dignity, homophobia and gender studies; mobility processes, from migrations to tourism.
3. Influence and impact of the Humanities in society
Experiences resulting from R&D projects (interaction of researchers and academic institutions with society); contributions of the Humanities to public policies (cities and low-density territories; basins, oceans and environment adaptations; citizenship, democracy and the Humanities; justice; epidemics and health humanities); close cooperation between researchers from the humanities and natural and social scientists, on issues of trust in scientific and academic knowledge and expertise; the know-how of the Humanities in museums, archives and libraries; Humanities, sustainability and SDGs; impact, quality assurance and assessment criteria in humanities research.
4. The Humanities in the 21st Century
The contemporary Humanities have answered promptly to the societal challenges of our times by setting up programs, curricula, centers and institutes in new fields of enquiry, which are known as the New Humanities, or the Posthumanities. The Environmental Humanities raises issues linked to the debates on the so-called Anthropocene, the place of humans in planetary history, and their ability to self-destruct and the motivation to construct sustainable futures. The Digital Humanities connects the debate about the new digital media and information technologies to the civic mission of the university to train responsible, active and informed citizens. The Biomedical Humanities move beyond bioethics to develop an interdisciplinary field that studies the impact of genomics, synthetic biology, stem-cell research, but also the neural sciences, not only on medical practice, but also on society as a whole. The Public Humanities aims at using the potential of the humanities to connect to a broader societal purpose and outreach. Assessing heritage, civic culture and traditions, the public humanities try to (re)connect the humanistic studies which gathered its information from human society back to that society. This section aims to explore the following issues: what examples of best practices can we identify in the new Humanities in European institutions of Higher Education? What is the “humanities” component of these “new humanities”? What meta-patterns do emerge from these developments? Which convergences do we witness between them? What institutional changes and transdisciplinary approaches do they develop?