Monday, September 27, 2010

Conference in Kuwait: Crisis of the Human Sciences

Conference to be held at the Gulf University for Science and Technology (GUST), Kuwait

False Objectivity and the Decline of Creativity

Date: March 6-8, 2011

Updates and sample topics are available on the Conference Website.

Theme description:

Centralization and over-professionalization can lead to the disappearance of a critical environment capable of linking the disciplines to the "real world." The humanities need to operate in a concrete cultural environment able to influence procedures on a hic et nunc basis and should not entirely depend on normative criteria whose function is often to hide ignorance behind a pretentious veil of value-neutral objectivity.

For example, in sociology, the growth of scientism has fragmented ethical categories and distorted discourse between inner and outer selves. Philosophy is suffering from an empty professionalism current in many philosophy departments in industrialized and developing countries where boring, ahistorical, and nonpolitical exercises are justified through appeals to false excellence.

In all branches of the humanities absurd evaluation processes foster similar tendencies as they create a sterile atmosphere and prevent interdisciplinarity and creativity. An invidious technicization of theory plays into the hands of technocrats. Due to the centralization of editorial power in the hand of large university presses of Anglophone countries, the content, quality, and range of modern publishing has become only too predictable.

How do people working in the humanities respond to the crisis in their respective disciplines? Papers including either meta-scientific considerations or concrete observations are welcome.

Keynote Speakers:

* Lewis Gordon (Temple University)
* Richard Shusterman (Florida Atlantic University)
* Muhsin Jassim al-Musawi (Columbia University)
* Khaldoun al-Naqeeb (Kuwait University)

Proposals are welcome from scholars working in all fields of the humanities and social sciences as long as the proposals are directly related to the topic. Registration and submissions through the conference website: Create an author account and paste an abstract (250 words) and a bio-note (100 words) into the body of the text (do not attach files). For all inquiries contact Ayman Bakr or Thorsten Botz-Bornstein at

Deadline for abstracts: November 30, 2010

Papers should not exceed 3000 words (20 minutes reading time). For more information contact the above persons.

Conference fee: Early bird (until December 15) 50 KD [€130] covering the costs of an opening reception, a conference dinner, and refreshments. After December 15: 60 KD [€155].

The Gulf University for Science and Technology is a highly modern institution and strives to be among the leading private universities in the region.

Please circulate this call for papers by forwarding the link and by printing out the pdf flyer available on the website. Thank you very much.

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