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The Future of the Humanities and Anthropological Difference: Beyond the Modern Regime of Translation

 

Conference venue: Ithaca campus of Cornell University, New York
Period: July 10 ~ 14, 2016
Deadline for submitting abstracts: March 31, 2016


Description of the Event

The Cornell East Asia Program (EAP), in collaboration with the Flying University of Transnational Humanities (FUTH) [a consortium of universities: Hanyang University (South Korea), University of Leipzig (Germany), University of Pittsburgh (USA), St. Andrews University (UK), University of Tampere (Finland), National Chiao Tung University (Taiwan), Sogang University (South Korea),  the Collège International de Philosophie, and L’École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS) (France) invites paper proposals for presentation and participation at its July 10-14, 2016 workshop “the Future of the humanities and Anthropological Difference: Beyond the Modern Regime of Translation.” The workshop will take place on the Cornell University campus in Ithaca, New York, U.S.A.

This workshop will feature small group seminars led by leading translation studies thinkers as well as daily keynote lectures and roundtables for all participants. Participants are expected to give one 20-30 minute paper on their work, critique the papers of their fellow seminar participants, and to contribute to the general dialogue of the workshop.

Applications from graduate students and junior scholars in all disciplines are particularly welcome. There are a limited number of grants to assist travel and lodging for the workshop. Prospective participants should apply online at https://cornell.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_3ITpSpCDaUDf2CN with proposals that include a title, a 500word abstract, a short (2page) CV, and names and email of two referees. Proposals should address problematics of translation and the institutional conditions of humanistic knowledge in their field of work, and should reference any links between the proposal and broader global, historical, and especially interdisciplinary approaches and questions. Those admitted will be notified at the beginning of April.

Eligible topics for the conference

The general issues of anthropological difference and area studies be discussed with respect to the following topics:

  • We must call into question “the modern regime of translation” as well as the consequences brought about by this regime that are institutionalized in the disciplines of the Humanities. We must pursue how the new image of translation transformed knowledge about human nature; and how the transformation of our images of translation would affect the modes of knowledge production in the Humanities.
  • How can the distinction of the general human sciences from area studies still be maintained? For example, Indian or Chinese philosophy is most often taught in area studies programs and is excluded from philosophy-proper. Then, how should we deal with philosophical debates discussed in translation, in non-European languages, which refer to modern European or American philosophy, and in other disciplines, anthropology, sociology, art criticism, media studies, and gender studies?
  • The two binary oppositions, “the West and the Rest,” and “humanitas and anthropos,” are premised upon the unity of the West and “the shape of the European spirit” (humanitas according to Edmund Husserl). Unless the unity of the West is presumed, these binary oppositions cannot sustain its conceptual coherence. Then, how can the unity of the West be possible? How was it historically constituted? On what grounds can these “Western” national philosophies be distinguished from “non-Western” national philosophies such as these of Brazil and Japan?
  • What roles does anthropological difference play in the production of local knowledge in national histories and cultural studies in the West as well as the Rest? How do human and social sciences contribute to either the transformation or consolidation of anthropological difference? How is the reference to the West indispensable in the formation of cultural nationalism in national histories in non-Western countries? And, perhaps the most immediate concern for those engaged in university education, and one we cannot evade is the following: What roles does curriculum in the Humanities and social sciences in undergraduate and graduate education play in the conservation of anthropological difference?
  • How do demographic changes in area studies affect the positionality of the area expert? For instance, in the early phases of area studies – prior to the 1980’s - virtually no or only a few indigenous scholars or students were present in the classrooms for area studies courses at American universities. An area and its inhabitants were distant objects with which area experts assumed no or little personal relations. Most often the very few students from the object area who happened to be present there were treated largely as “native informants.” Today a sizable portion, or sometimes the majority, of such a class consists of students from the object area or who are ethnically related to it. Clearly this is closely related to the issue of diversity, whose importance the university community cannot afford to ignore.
  • In the global processes of capitalist commodification known as globalization or imperialism (distinct from pre-modern imperialism), commodity exchange nullifies existing differences of rank and status and gives rise to a homogeneous space of a market, while generating wide schisms in wealth and cultural capital. How can the binary oppositions of the West and the Rest and of humanitas and anthropos still be maintained unless in terms of the individual accumulation of cultural capital, rather than in terms of race, ethnicity or civilizational background? Or, are these oppositions losing their efficacy today? Are they transforming themselves, so that the West operates in different registers? How are these factors redefining our perception of diversity on the university campus today?
  • In order to assess the future of the Humanities, one aspect of anthropological difference – humanitas vs anthropos – cannot be focused on in isolation from its other aspects. Already this has been discussed in the studies of racism and postcoloniality in relation to difference in gender with respect to the differential dynamics not only of the male and the female, but also of heterosexual normalcy and gender polivalency. It must now be articulated to differences in animality (human vs animal) and intelligence (human vs machine). How can the disciplines of the Humanities possibly transform themselves so as to accommodate these diverse aspects of anthropological difference?
  • In view of the anticipated end of the old disciplinary formation of area studies, what are their purposes still worth preserving? How should we transform area studies so as to rejuvenate the intellectual productivity and critical relevance of the Humanities to current global situations? Or should we abolish the Humanities and replace them with an entirely new disciplinary formation?


Attending the workshop

Travel and accommodations
There are no fees to participate in the workshop. However, participants are expected to cover their own travel and accommodations. The workshop will provide several of the meals during the four days.

LODGING
The East Asia Program has arranged for rooms on the Cornell campus.
For an air-conditioned SINGLE OCCUPANCY dorm room on the Cornell West campus, the cost is $78/night, or approximately $455 for the 5 nights (July 10 – 14, 2016) including 8% tax.
For an air-conditioned DOUBLE OCCUPANCY dorm room on the Cornell West campus, the cost is $55/night, or approximately $330 for the 5 nights (July 10 – 14, 2016) including 8% tax.

Other Accommodations
See Vistitithaca.com's Lodging Search page for accommodations in the surrounding area. There are houses for short-term rental, which could accommodate groups of people at an overall lower cost than taking single rooms. Hotels in downtown Ithaca or near to the Cornell campus are also available.

Organizer

Information & contacts

Questions can be addressed to the East Asia Program at cueap@cornell.edu.

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