Changing the Humanities / the Humanities Changing

16 July 2009 - 18 July 2009

Gillespie Conference Centre, Clare College, Cambridge

Convener: Professor Mary Jacobus  



Conference Trailer

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Celebrating the 800th anniversary of the University of Cambridge, Changing the Humanities/The Humanities Changing is a major international conference designed to inquire into the current standing and disciplinary formation of the Humanities today. Leading critical thinkers from Cambridge and elsewhere will take stock of the changing role and significance of the Humanities, inside and outside the university. The event aims to look both comparatively and historically at the Arts, Humanities, and interpretative Social Sciences, including the ways in which they relate to Science and Technology. Offering a wide range of thematic panels and public discussions, the conference will also ask how the Humanities contribute to understanding society.

The 800th anniversary of Cambridge offers a unique vantage point from which to view changes that have taken place during the University’s modernisation, and place them in relation to current developments in the Humanities. A public session will be devoted to revisiting the ‘Two Cultures’ controversy about the relationship between sciences and humanities, sparked by C P Snow and F R Leavis at Cambridge in 1959. The President of the British Academy, Onora O’Neill, Sir Martin Rees, President of the Royal Society, as well as Richard Sennett, sociologist at the London School of Economics, will pick up the gauntlet of the Two Cultures ‘50 years on’. Further panels will include high-profile speakers on a wide range of related issues, including Victorian and contemporary debates on maths and classics, the impact of new technologies, the emergence or transformation of disciplines such as English and Government, the Cambridge School of intellectual history, the role of normativity in the humanities, and the implications of Humanities research for policy.

Combining academic expertise with debates addressing wider audiences, Changing the Humanities/The Humanities Changing will offer participants a lively intellectual exchange and an extraordinary gathering of expert speakers.

This conference is co-sponsored by the Mellon Foundation and the Cambridge University 800th Fund. It is convened by the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities as part of the Mellon-funded Consortium of Centres of Disciplinary Innovation (CDI) at CRASSH.