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The Decline of the Humanities and the Decline of Society

Ibanga B. Ikpe

The debate as to whether the humanities is in decline is almost over. Statistics on declining enrolments, shrinking job prospects, dwindling funding and growing condescension from society add up to show that all is not well. Humanities scholars have, in the recent past, tried to discover what is wrong as well as do something to demonstrate that the humanities is still relevant to society. In this regard, many have suggested that the humanities should change to accommodate the needs of the marketplace, while others have argued that to do so will change the humanities so drastically as to render it unrecognizable. This article is about the current state of affairs in the humanities and the different views that have been expressed on it. It argues that rather than the humanities, it is actually society that is in decline, and as such changing the humanities to suit the needs of the marketplace would be a disservice to our long humanistic tradition. It acknowledges that humanities scholars need to engage more with society even as they continue in activities that have defined the humanities through the years and argues for humanities therapy as a way for the humanities to engage with a world that is increasingly enamoured with technê.

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Beyond the American culture wars

A call for environmental leadership and strengthening networks

Kate A. Berry

religiously motivated politics, traditional morality, and anti-intellectualism, and, on the other hand, those who embrace progressive politics, cultural openness, and scientific and modernist orientations. The current culture wars reflect opposition based on

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Editorial

The reawakening of interest in Sartre outside of specialist circles prompted by the publication of Lévy’s Le siècle de Sartre shows no sign of abating as we move into the new century. In England, it is true, a combination of endemic anti-intellectualism and age-old francophobia has conspired to ensure that Sartre’s face has sadly not graced the covers of Hello! Magazine or Home and Garden, but the theatre has proved more welcoming. Following Richard Eyre’s revival of Dirty Hands in Spring 2000, there have been two new productions of No Exit. The later of the two (Spring 2001) was unfortunately too recent for Ben O’Donohoe to be able to include in his witty review, in this issue, of the reception of Sartre’s theatre in the USA and UK; however, if the publicity bumph is anything to go by (‘Hilarious!’, ‘Uproariously funny!’) the director would appear to have tapped into a rich comic vein that had remained concealed these fifty-five years past.

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Intellectual labor in dark times

Lesley Gill

approach to how we work as scholars. It is a welcome contribution that arrives like a breath of fresh air at just the right moment. Nevertheless, it is hard to avoid cynicism. In a climate of anti-intellectualism and elite backlash, progressive scholarship

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Interview with Lionel Blue, 1965

Jonathan Magonet and Lionel Blue

, humanists, liberals, intellectuals, religious do-gooders. Antisemites, by definition, are ultranationalist, anti-intellectual and reactionary. This has been so ever since Zola wrote J’Accuse at the turn of the century. Whether we like it or not, we are

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Book Reviews

Boris Belge, Anna Bara, Tricia Starks, and Christopher J. Ward

Histories in a broader context than just academic justification. Namely, today we find ourselves living in an increasingly anti-intellectual climate where those who devote their lives to intellectual pursuits have come under more and more frequent and

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The Future of the Human Sciences

Ivan Jablonka

Translator : Nathan Bracher

attacking researchers, accusing them of trying to “excuse” terrorists or undermine the “national narrative” taught in textbooks. In the United States as elsewhere, it is more and more profitable in the political arena to be conspicuously anti-intellectual

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Nature, Science, and Politics in the Anthropocene

Tracey Heatherington

towers left to us now, in this age of wildfires and fierce rising seas, and anti-intellectualisms as extreme as our new weather systems. We must not only re-envision environmentalism, but also revitalize the academy. For just as humans are part and parcel

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Populism and the Failures of Representation

Suzanne Berger

subsidies. Suspicion of foreigners, negative views of non-Caucasians, anti-intellectualism, and nationalism are other recurrent themes in these subcultures. Although these attitudes and values have been around for a long time, they appear to have been

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From Cerisy to Oubapo

Thierry Groensteen

of the most abstruse, sterile, pretentious and ridiculous kind of discourse]. 18 The small-minded anti-intellectual camp was not about to cease hostilities. In 1993, I went back to Cerisy to organise a second conference, in tandem with André