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Art and literature in a technological world

Language of instruction: English

About the theme: This module will address the question "In which ways can contemporary art be meaningful to the humanities in finding a stronger position in debates about the implications of the sciences? What does it mean that art can be important to the humanities' methodologies."

Absence in the public debate

The high pace of development in the techno-sciences poses major challenges to society that affect us daily. The humanities, however, are increasingly less involved in public and academic debates on the implications of science and technology; they have virtually no part in the process of agenda setting regarding key issues and developments in the sciences. This absence also applies to debates in areas that the humanities have traditionally concentrated on, such as issues concerning identity, the future, our personal and societal goals and how to achieve them.

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Humanities at the sidelines?

Similarly, regarding new developments in the area of media and digital technology whose cultural implications are equally far-reaching (such as data mining, privacy and surveillance, terrorism and legislation, the environment, and sustainable technology), scholars from the humanities often bring to bear all sorts of interesting observations and detailed insights into the public and scientific debates involved, but they do so only from the sidelines, while their role in policy design—one based on a strong and clearly defined humanities position—is limited at best.

Two threads that will guide our exploration are (a) how artistic practices may or may not open a critical space in society to engage with techno scientific questions, and (b) in which ways contemporary art can be meaningful to the humanities in finding a stronger position in debates.

Lecturer: Prof.dr. Robert Zwijnenberg studied Civil Engineering and Philosophy. He obtained his PhD from the University of Amsterdam on a dissertation about Leonardo da Vinci. Since 2007, he has held a Chair in Art and Science at the Faculty of Humanities.

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