Objectivity in the Humanities

Montag, 25. - Freitag, 29. Oktober 2021
The New School for Social Research, New York

Program (pdf)


This seminar will revisit our paradigms concerning objectivity in the humanities. To many, it seems as if the humanities provide us at best with less-than-objective knowledge claims. Arguably, there are at least two overall reasons for this. On the one hand, there is a tendency to associate objectivity with the kind of knowledge-acquisition, explanation, and justification characteristic of the natural sciences. On the other hand, the humanities themselves have contributed to the impression that they might be less relevant than the natural sciences to epistemic progress, due to internal discussions about the very concept(s) of knowledge, reality and objectivity. In order to reshape our account of the human being as the source and object of knowledge claims, our seminar will test the following thesis against a variety of objections: we cannot eliminate from our account of reality as such the standpoint from which humans grasp both human and non-human reality.

Dates: 10/25/21 – 10/29/21

October 25
9:00AM -11:00AM EST
Bayo Akomolafe: “On Not Thinking Straight: Stupidity, Trust, and the
Ethics of Vaccine Hesitancy in the Anthropocene”

October 26
9:00AM – 11AM EST
Jill Lepore: “ How Data Killed Facts”

October 27
9:00AM – 10:30AM EST
Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht: “Hermeneutic Complexity and Philological Powers”

October 27
11:00AM – 12:30PM EST
Monika Kaup: “Narrative Objectivity”

October 28
9:00AM- 11:00AM EST
Lorraine Daston: “The View From Everywhere: Objectivity in the Humanities”

October 29
9:00AM- 11:00AM EST
Alice Crary: “The Unhappy Marriage of Objectivity and Politics”