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Humanist Archives: Dec. 24, 2018, 9:11 a.m. Humanist 32.290 - 'humanities' or 'human sciences'

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 32, No. 290.
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    [1]    From: Catharine Mason 
           Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.288: 'humanities' or 'human sciences' (47)

    [2]    From: lachance@chass.utoronto.ca
           Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.280: 'humanities' or 'human sciences'? (50)

        Date: 2018-12-24 06:56:53+00:00
        From: Catharine Mason 
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.288: 'humanities' or 'human sciences'

Greetings All,

As a Franco-American scholar, I tend to use both terms. I cherish the term
'Humanities' that continues to be used in the intellectual tradition of my
birth country, but I find *les sciences humaines* to be a more accurate
expression of our academic values and goals. The strict division between
what may be referred to as the "lab sciences" and those sciences that study
human sign systems and cultural productions is highly problematic and
detrimental to the cultivation and transmission of our disciplines. The
political and economic degradation of the humanities/ human sciences is
clearly facilitated by the false idea that the study of human experience
and expression is non-scientific.

I also prefer being referred to as a scientist -- someone who upholds
observation and description, objectivity, and critical analysis as
essential to the activities we engage in -- rather than 'humanist', a term
that is, to my mind charged with confusing connotations and dogmas,
especially for those outside of our fields of study.

Lastly, I sometimes use the term 'culture sciences' as introduced by Ernst
Cassirer, and find his reunion of what he refers to as the sciences of
nature and culture to be of great value to these questions.



Catharine Mason, PhD
Associate Professor of English and Linguistic Ethnography
Université de Caen Normandie
Maison de la recherche en sciences humaines
Esplanade de la Paix
14032 CAEN Cedex

President of VOVA France and VOVA, Inc.

Board Member, Pays des Miroirs Productions

Board Member, Civ.Works

        Date: 2018-12-23 23:40:35+00:00
        From: lachance@chass.utoronto.ca
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.280: 'humanities' or 'human sciences'?


You point and deflect from the terminology question:

> This is a question about terminology, but I think not just that.


> What do others do? I very much hope not strengthen the barricades in
> view of the elders who rule within the fortifications.

Could it be a question of technological deployment? Trojan horses?

I point to this message that  appeared December 19, 2018 on the American
Musicological Society Listserv

I must confess that the line between musicology and ethnomusicology seems
blurred to me and I’ve never quite understood it (though I'll also confess 
that my ethnomusicology experience is extremely limited). It also seems to 
me that many universities and colleges do not have as large or active an
ethnomusicology staff as they do musicology; and it seems possible to me 
that's due to an increasingly connected and interdisciplinary academic world 
-- emerging scholars could be approaching their 'journey' from quite 
circumloquitous routes that do not follow a traditional academic path and 
discipline silo (I started in historical performance and now am exploring 
spatiomorphology in VR, and my doctoral chair is an electroacoustic composer 
who was formerly an engineer for NASA, and I can speak of many of my colleagues 
who likewise have an 'unconventional' path).

It seems like it is time to collectively begin broadening the discourse
about what our disciplines are and can be perceived as, and expanding/welcoming
integrated approaches to topics. I believe we are going to see an increasing 
amount of research that blurs the line between disciplines -- especially with 
technology pushing the lines between the arts themselves and the rise of emerging 
media and transmedia applications.

Jeffrey Clark MM
Doctoral Student
Ball State University

Francois Lachance

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