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Latour and the Humanities

edited by Rita Felski and Stephen Muecke

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How does the work of influential theorist Bruno Latour offer a fresh angle on the practices and purposes of the humanities?

In recent years, defenses of the humanities have tended to argue along predictable lines: the humanities foster empathy, the humanities encourage critical thinking, the humanities offer a counterweight to the cold calculations of the natural and social sciences. The essays in Latour and the Humanities take a different approach. Exploring the relevance of theorist Bruno Latour's work, they argue for attachments and entanglements between the humanities and the sciences while...

How does the work of influential theorist Bruno Latour offer a fresh angle on the practices and purposes of the humanities?

In recent years, defenses of the humanities have tended to argue along predictable lines: the humanities foster empathy, the humanities encourage critical thinking, the humanities offer a counterweight to the cold calculations of the natural and social sciences. The essays in Latour and the Humanities take a different approach. Exploring the relevance of theorist Bruno Latour's work, they argue for attachments and entanglements between the humanities and the sciences while looking closely at the interests, institutions, and intellectual projects that shape the humanities within and beyond the university.

The collection, which is written by a group of highly distinguished scholars from around the world, is divided into two sections. In the first part, authors engage in depth with Latour's work while also rethinking the ties between the humanities and the sciences. Essays argue for greater attention to the nonhuman world, the urgency of climate change, and more nuanced views of universities as institutions. The second half of the volume contains essays that reflect on Latour's influence on the practices of specific disciplines, including art, the digital humanities, film studies, and political theory.

Inspiring conversation about the relevance of actor-network-theory for research and teaching in the humanities, Latour and the Humanities offers a substantial introduction to Latour's work while discussing the humanities without falling back on the genres of either the sermon or the jeremiad. This volume will be of interest to all those searching for fresh perspectives on the value and importance of humanistic disciplines and thought.

Contributors: David J. Alworth, Anders Blok, Claudia Breger, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Yves Citton, Steven Connor, Gerard de Vries, Simon During, Rita Felski, Francis Halsall, Graham Harman, Antoine Hennion, Casper Bruun Jensen, Bruno Latour, Heather Love, Patrice Maniglier, Stephen Muecke, Barbara Herrnstein Smith, Nigel Thrift, Michael Witmore

Reviews

Reviews

The 'Latour' presented here is an intriguing network composed of diverse passions, concerns, inversions, colleagues, sermons, and fears. This collection amply demonstrates that his work offers a polyphonous, contentious, liberating, exasperating, and stimulating source of inspiration to that other amalgam, the humanities. Enjoy!

Bruno Latour is a protean thinker who has addressed the most crucial concerns of contemporary life, from networks to high technology to climate change. The essays in this volume innovatively apply Latour's insights to the humanities, exploring the current state of the field but also working to propose new directions.

Can the humanities still matter in a world of climate change and technological disruption? Can they wean themselves from the genteel (if angst-ridden) comforts of cultural critique? These accomplished and enlivening essays address these and other timely questions, making the case that Bruno Latour shows us paths and risks worth taking.

This excellent introduction to Latour's work fully embraces its adventurous quality. Bringing together leading scholars from across disciplinary boundaries, this book draws inspiration from Latour's art of interpretation to re-activate scholarship as a way of engaging with today's great challenges of ecological crisis, digital transformation, and economic turmoil.

About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
488
ISBN
9781421438900
Illustration Description
4 halftones, 6 line drawings
Table of Contents

Introduction, by Rita Felski

I. What Do the Humanities Do?
1. Stephen Muecke, An Ecology of Institutions: Recomposing the Humanities 00
2. Antoine Hennion, From ANT to Pragmatism: A Journey with Bruno

Introduction, by Rita Felski

I. What Do the Humanities Do?
1. Stephen Muecke, An Ecology of Institutions: Recomposing the Humanities 00
2. Antoine Hennion, From ANT to Pragmatism: A Journey with Bruno Latour at the CSI 00
3. Graham Harman, Demodernizing the Humanities with Latour
4. Heather Love, Care, Concern, and the Ethics of Description
5. Anders Blok and Casper Bruun Jensen, Redistributing Critique
6. Steven Connor, Decomposing the Humanities
7. Dipesh Chakrabarty, Humanities in the Anthropocene: The Crisis of an Enduring Kantian Fable
8. Yves Citton, Fictional Attachments and Literary Weavings in the Anthropocene
9. Simon During, Are the Humanities Modern?
10. Nigel Thrift, The University of Life

II. Latour and the Disciplines
11. David J. Alworth, Critique, Modernity, Society, Agency: Matters of Concern in Literary Studies
12. Claudia Breger, Cinematic Assemblies: Latour and Film Studies
13. Michael Witmore, Latour, the Digital Humanities, and the Divided Kingdom of Knowledge
14. Barbara Herrnstein Smith, Anthropotheology: Latour Speaking Religiously
15. Gerard de Vries, Politics Is a "Mode of Existence": Why Political Theorists Should Leave Hobbes for Montesquieu
16. Patrice Maniglier, Art as Fiction: Can Latour's Ontology of Art Be Ratified by Art Lovers? (An Exercise in Anthropological Diplomacy
17. Francis Halsall, Actor-Network Aesthetics: The Conceptual Rhymes of Bruno Latour and Contemporary Art

Afterword
Life among Conceptual Characters, by Bruno Latour

Contributors
Index

Author Bios
Featured Contributor

Rita Felski

Rita Felski is a professor of English and chair of comparative literature at the University of Virginia.
Featured Contributor

Stephen Muecke

Stephen Muecke is a professor of creative writing in the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at Flinders University and a fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. He is the coauthor of Reading the Country: Introduction to Nomadology.