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Humanities And Social Sciences

The humanities have characteristically taken themselves as revealing what it is to be human and humane, just as the social sciences have long reproduced what they have presupposed as normative models of psychology, sociality, governmentality, even historicality. Together they have purported to teach what it means to be rational and reasoned, cultured and moral, social and political, learned and worldly. The institutional history of what has been conceived as "the humanities," and perhaps of social thinking more broadly, has always been deeply inflected with, if it was not founded on, dominant class and ethnonational determination. It has been a difficult revelation, then, that prior to at least World War II, and really well into the 1970s, the dominant trends in the humanities and social sciences throughout the Anglo-European academy as well as in universities worldwide that are founded on the Anglo-European (and more recently American) model(s)—and often part of a colonial project—for the most part were little more than expressions of European culture, society, and governance.

Even this way of putting it is misleading, for it was not European culture, sociality, and political structure in some broad articulation that was taken to represent intellectual, moral, cultural, and political superiority. Rather, it was the sociocultural articulation of historical layers and tissues of connection between dominant national configurations within the European orbit. Philosophy and classics, English, Romance languages (principally French and Italian) and German, and even history not only embody their own particular histories; they are taken, even—one could say especially—in their dominant ethnonational articulation, to represent the march of history as such. The "best that had been thought and written" had a distinct and delimited geolinguistic and intellectual range. Anything—and the intellectual life of anywhere beyond the English, French, and German, prompted by earlier influences of the Italian and Greek—was either rendered invisible or arrogantly dismissed as exotic, quaint, or simply inferior.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Incomplete dominance to IntuitionismInterdisciplinarity - Humanities And Social Sciences, Creating Disciplines, Toward Interdisciplinarity, Models For Interdisciplinarity, Interdisciplinarity As A Critical Project