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Humanities Lab 101

Language of Instruction: English

About the theme: The Humanities are a bundle of academic disciplines that study human culture in its many forms and from many different perspectives. History or literature, language or arts, philosophy or religion: their common thread is cultural practice. In this general module we will be exploring the broad field of Humanities by taking seven key questions as our lead — seven aspects of what it means to be human. These questions will typically cross disciplinary boundaries, raising questions about connections and differences between traditional approaches within Humanities. Moreover, they reach well beyond the sphere of Humanities as such, and will be challenging us to engage with other approaches to human culture in disciplines such as anthropology, psychology, biology, and others.

The goal of Humanities Lab 101 is to acquaint you with a range of different approaches to cultural phenomena both within and outside the Humanities, highlighting key problems of these fields (including consequences of globalisation and digitalisation), and reflecting on the relation between the Humanities and other disciplines (including natural sciences). The module includes tools and training for critical thinking (fundamental concepts, thought experiments, case studies), which you will be applying to topical issues in science and society. For that is the aim of Humanities Lab: show that Humanities can really make a difference!

Lecturers: Dr Jan Sleutels, Prof.dr. Arie Verhagen

Dr Jan Sleutels studied Philosophy in Nijmegen where he also completed a dissertation on the philosophy of cognitive science. He is currently teaching Metaphysics at Leiden University. His recent research has focused on the history of the mind, in particular the role of communication technologies (media such as speech, writing, the printing press and Internet) on the structure of mental processes.

Prof.dr. Arie Verhagen focuses on behavioural biological and cultural aspects of language. He studied Dutch at VU University Amsterdam, where he also completed his dissertation on the function of word order in Dutch. He was previously senior lecturer in Text Linguistics at Utrecht University and has been Professor of Dutch Linguistics in Leiden since 1998.


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