What’s the Point?
Impact and the Future of the Humanities
Utrecht University Humanities Graduate Conference 2019
11 and 12 April 2019
Professor Simon During (School of Communication and Culture, University of Melbourne) and
Professor Eleanora Belfiore (Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies, Loughborough University).
How should we deal with the question of “Impact” in the Humanities? Over the past decade, disciplines across the humanities have undergone the same pressure at some point — the pressure to justify their own existence. With ongoing budget cuts and explicit attacks to their epistemological function from political and societal actors, the humanities have been repeatedly asked to state their own value. ‘Why should research that provides only opinions rather than verifiable knowledge deserve our money’, they ask. Rather than answering those who display ignorance or animosity towards the study of culture and the human condition, we would like to rephrase the question, and ask those who have just started practising that study: How are the humanities valuable for society?
This conference invites paper submissions from MA students and Ph.D. candidates from all humanities disciplines to analyse and reflect on the twinned issues of impact and knowledge utilization, whether within their own field of research or that of humanities research in general. All disciplines within each of our four research schools have different approaches and means to deal with issues of knowledge production, utilization, and impact. Hearing about initiatives from other disciplines and the opportunities they generate provides us with a broader perspective and new ways of viewing the value of our fields.
Possible subjects for papers include, but are not limited to:
– Defining “value” for Humanities disciplines
– The growing disdain for “experts” in politics
– Politics in/of the humanities
– Issues of employability
– Subjectivity versus objectivity
– Meta-reflections on different fields
– Future directions for Humanities disciplines
– Science-oriented expectations for Humanities research
– The question of whether impact is necessary
We welcome abstracts of 200-300 words to the email address with HGSC submission in the subject line. Please include a short biography (name, study programme, university.) Please send all submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org by 15 February 2019.
More information here.