Lectures: August 25

Gerhard Wiesenfeldt and Bernard Wojcik will be lecturing in the Garage this month! Titles and Abstracts below:

What’s wrong with the humanities?

by Gerhard Wiesenfeldt

The current state of the humanities is often deplored, particularly by their practitioners. The study of humans and their cultural products – as far as it is not solely based on empirical research mimicking something perceived as the scientific method – seems to have gone out of fashion. It is ridiculed as a useless, fringe activity that is a waste of taxpayers’ money for irrelevant niche enterprises about issues that nobody really needs to know. Defences of the humanities frequently verge between the pitiful apologetic (e.g. that it is not that much money that is wasted on the humanities) and the disgruntled aggressive (e.g. that the current neoliberal regime does not acknowledge the proper value of the humanities). Against this reaction, I will argue that the misery of the humanities is largely self-imposed, induced by an unhealthy combination of inferiority and elitism as well as the common lack of reflexivity. I will trace the historical roots of this condition in an attempt to develop a remedy. Unlike this abstract might lead you to believe the talk is not intended as yet another humanities’ bashing.

Meaning and Nonsense: Philosophy and Semantics

by Bernard Wojcik

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