2018 Special Focus: “Reconsidering Freedom”

Defined methodologically, the humanities consist of a range of disciplinary practices designed to interrogate the nature of the human. More than this, the humanities have also historically built normative agendas for the human—hence notions of the humane, the humanistic, human rights, global humanity, and the locally humanized. “Freedom” is a key concept in many of these agendas—freedom of cultural action, freedom of speech and opinion, and rights to unfettered, autonomous creative expression. However, in what ways must we reconsider freedom in an age that seems increasingly to be characterized by dissociation, division, and social contestation? What is the role of the humanities in our current epoch? Are the fundamental principles of the humanities in jeopardy? What are the humanities’ ongoing obligations to freedom?

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