The Nomadic Humanities: The Future or an Illusion

Thursday, October 1, 2015 - 5:00pm
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Thursday, October 1, 2015 - 5:00pm
Nador u. 9, Monument Building
Popper Room
Open to the Public

The Provost and Pro-Rector invites you to a public lecture 

The Nomadic Humanities: The Future or an Illusion


Sigmund Freud wrote that the promises of religion were an illusion. People believed them because they satisfied psychic needs. The humanities have also made promises that they could satisfy needs for truth, beauty, and meaning. During the “culture wars” of the past decades, many humanists have declared that these promises are themselves an illusion.  The job of the humanities is to expose cultural illusions and delusions. However, the need for truths, beauties, and meanings is insatiable. The talk proposes one way of doing the humanities now, “The Nomadic Humanities.” It draws on John Dewey, Democracy and Education; the “nomadology” of Rosi Braidotti; and J.M. Coetzee, Waiting for the Barbarians. 

Note:  The talk was given its title before the migrant crisis of Summer 2015. Although the talk does not focus on that crisis, it may lead to a discussion about the role of the humanities.

Catharine R. Stimpson, one of the pioneers in the study of women and gender, a founder of feminist criticism. She is University Professor and Dean Emerita of the Graduate School of Arts and Science at New York University. She is an affiliated member of the NYU Law School Faculty. Her public service has included the chairpersonships of the New York State Council for the Humanities, the National Council for Research on Women, and the Ms. Magazine Board of Scholars. In 1990, she was the President of the Modern Language Association. She is now a member of the board of directors of several educational, philanthropic, and cultural organizations, and a former member of the board of Public Broadcasting Service. From September 2000 through September 2001, she served as the president of the Association of Graduate Schools. Stimpson’s most recent book, Critical Terms for the Study of Gender, co-edited with Gilbert Herdt, was published by the University of Chicago Press in Summer 2014.

Reception to follow. 

RSVP to Szilvia Kardos at