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New Horizons for Research in the Humanities * Alain PEYRAUBE Alain PEYRAUBE CNRS and EHESS, Paris, France CNRS and EHESS, Paris, France.

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Presentation on theme: "New Horizons for Research in the Humanities * Alain PEYRAUBE Alain PEYRAUBE CNRS and EHESS, Paris, France CNRS and EHESS, Paris, France."— Presentation transcript:

1 New Horizons for Research in the Humanities * Alain PEYRAUBE Alain PEYRAUBE CNRS and EHESS, Paris, France CNRS and EHESS, Paris, France

2 Humanities in the ERA Looking back on the Humanities in the European Research Area, I think we have every reason to be satisfied with the results. (Martin Stokhof, September 2004) Looking back on the Humanities in the European Research Area, I think we have every reason to be satisfied with the results. (Martin Stokhof, September 2004) Two conferences « Humanities and the ERC » (Brussels, December 2004; Oslo, June 2005) confirmed the diagnostic. Two conferences « Humanities and the ERC » (Brussels, December 2004; Oslo, June 2005) confirmed the diagnostic.

3 Two challenges Necessity for a close collaboration with natural sciences, and also, of course, with social sciences, in order to promote a meaningful interdisciplinarity Necessity for a close collaboration with natural sciences, and also, of course, with social sciences, in order to promote a meaningful interdisciplinarity Necessity for a supranational, supra-continental and multicultural approach to be extended outside the European area Necessity for a supranational, supra-continental and multicultural approach to be extended outside the European area

4 Decentralisation of our Eurocentric position Europe is just one region, and a relevant horizon for a rather limited number of problems Europe is just one region, and a relevant horizon for a rather limited number of problems Europe is after all only provincial (D. Chakrabarty, Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference. Princeton UP, 2003) Europe is after all only provincial (D. Chakrabarty, Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference. Princeton UP, 2003)

5 Common ideas on the Humanities They are necessary for contributing to the economy, for promoting the dialogue between science and society, for thinking on ethical and moral problems faced by new scientific advances They are necessary for contributing to the economy, for promoting the dialogue between science and society, for thinking on ethical and moral problems faced by new scientific advances They have different focus areas and different methodologies; they are deemed to lack rigour; they are not part of what is called the sciences They have different focus areas and different methodologies; they are deemed to lack rigour; they are not part of what is called the sciences

6 Structural deficiencies of the humanities They are overwhelmed by organisational problems They are overwhelmed by organisational problems They have an unfortunate tendency towards isolation They have an unfortunate tendency towards isolation Also a tendency towards falling back onto research in a single discipline Also a tendency towards falling back onto research in a single discipline They are facing frequent paradigmatic shifs They are facing frequent paradigmatic shifs

7 Changes within the past ten years « The traditional image of the humanities researcher cooped up in a closet surrounded by dusty books and papers is simply no longer true » (Poul Holm) « The traditional image of the humanities researcher cooped up in a closet surrounded by dusty books and papers is simply no longer true » (Poul Holm) H. researchers today engaged in close collaboration with researchers in life sciences and medicine, in ICT, in earth sciences, and even in physics and chemistry H. researchers today engaged in close collaboration with researchers in life sciences and medicine, in ICT, in earth sciences, and even in physics and chemistry

8 Narrow down the differences existing between NS and H Put forward the claim and show that some humanities methods and theoretical frameworks are close to those used in natural sciences Put forward the claim and show that some humanities methods and theoretical frameworks are close to those used in natural sciences Open up the humanities to create a real interdisciplinarity with NS Open up the humanities to create a real interdisciplinarity with NS Organize the research around networks which favour intellectual transfers and exchanges Organize the research around networks which favour intellectual transfers and exchanges

9 Examples of recent research interdisciplinary outputs (I) Regret in decision-taking: role of the orbito- frontal cortex (Science) Regret in decision-taking: role of the orbito- frontal cortex (Science) Archaeo-zoology: the origin of the domesticatd cat in Cyprus (Science) Archaeo-zoology: the origin of the domesticatd cat in Cyprus (Science) Research on the cranium of a baby Homo Erectus: the secondary altriciality is a feature of humans (Nature) Research on the cranium of a baby Homo Erectus: the secondary altriciality is a feature of humans (Nature)

10 Examples of recent research interdisciplinary outputs (II) Discovery of our common ancestors, of Orrorin in Kenya (6 million years BP), of Toumai in Chad (7 million y. BP) (PNAS, Nature, Science) Discovery of our common ancestors, of Orrorin in Kenya (6 million years BP), of Toumai in Chad (7 million y. BP) (PNAS, Nature, Science) Terrorism: study of the individual factors in suicide terrorism; model of power-law distribution to account for the terrorist attacks of the last decade and anticipate future terrorist events (Science, Nature) Terrorism: study of the individual factors in suicide terrorism; model of power-law distribution to account for the terrorist attacks of the last decade and anticipate future terrorist events (Science, Nature)

11 Concluding remarks Put those disciplines ahead which have ways of posing and attacking scientific pbs close to those in natural sciences The Humanities belong wholly to the world of science Put those disciplines ahead which have ways of posing and attacking scientific pbs close to those in natural sciences The Humanities belong wholly to the world of science The other disciplines will find their place in this operation of de-singularising the humanities or bringing them back into the fold The other disciplines will find their place in this operation of de-singularising the humanities or bringing them back into the fold

12 FIN


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