Why this conference?

International Conference 28 – 30 Abril 2020

Proposals (second CFP): until 30 November 2019

Organized by EHum2MHumanistic Studies on Migrations and Marginalization, a research team of the Centre for Humanistic Studies (CEHUM) at the University of Minho, together with other research teams in CEHUM and partners (national / international).

Humanity on the move is the title of a so-called Flagship Report of more than 500 pages (Berlin: WBGU, 2016): Nothing stands still on our planet any more, and above all, hardly anyone stays in the same place. Today, anyone who grows up in a residential block, hut or villa is highly unlikely to die there. He or she will move many times during lifetime – from house to house, from countryside to city, from village to metropolis, from home country to neighbouring country, from continent to continent, constantly commuting, travelling, roving, and … fleeing. These relocations of humanity are driven by the pursuit of happiness and self-fulfilment, by curiosity, but also by the logic of global value chains, by the harsh laws of poverty, violence, political disorder, military conflicts and social disintegration.

With the Humanity on the move, the Humanities should move. That is an idea launched by the World Humanities Conference. Challenges and Responsibilities for a Planet in Transition (Liège 2017): Until the Second World War, the Humanities were at the heart of both public debate and the political arena. In the last decades, their role has faded and they have been marginalized. It is crucial to stop their marginalization, restore them and impose their presence in the public sphere.

It is not about demonstrating that the Humanities are ‘useful’, but to determine their scope and how they can contribute to resolve the main challenges of the third millennium, dealing with, inter alia, decoupling quality of life from resource-intensive lifestyles. The starting point is an extended and reframed definition of quality of life and prosperity that goes beyond materially / economically ‘objective’ factors and also includes ‘subjective’ factors such as identity, solidarity, a sense of belonging, trust and social circles. In this sense, research should focus on how the complex and highly diverse life-long learning processes in Arts, Languages, Culture and Literature can stimulate changes in individual orientations and in collective lifestyles towards a sustainable solidarity-based life; research should analyse ways to find an alternative definition of ‘good life’ oriented, inter alia, towards a knowledge fed by the Humanities in its capacity for discovery, for building knowledge in ever new forms (Friedman, 2017: 347): how to live, to live together in shifting, heterogeneous community and to preserve the richness of plural memory that anchors collective consciousness of transcultural belonging.

Friedman, Susan Stanford (2017). Both / And: Critique and Discovery in the Humanities. PMLA 132.2 (2017), 344-351