Update: 2011 Conference on Modernity, Critique, and Humanism

full name / name of organization: 
California State University, Los Angeles
contact email: 

Marshall Berman, City University of New York
Jörn Rüsen, University of Essen, Germany
Stephen Shepherd, Loyola Marymount University
Frederik Tygstrup, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

This conference is the result of a close collaboration of faculty from Cal State L.A. with colleagues representing the Universidad de Guadalajara at Los Angeles, the Universidad Michoacana (México), the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Cuajimalpa (México), CONACyT (Consejo Nacional de Tecnología y Ciencia), and the University of Copenhagen (Denmark). The aim of the conference is to present a forum for the discussion of ways in which modernity, critique, and humanism can be imagined, reasoned, and practiced in a world that has become increasingly interdependent. The conference organizers welcome debates on critical theory and modernity, including challenges to the very notion of their singular condition or possibility. The debates and scope of dialogue are thus open to the contemplation of synchronous but dissimilar modernities, to the critique of new forms of global communication, and to the diverse challenges to all aspects of University curricula, modern or emergent. The conference organizers also wish to reach beyond the limits of current and established debates, encouraging an interdisciplinary dialogue to consider and reflect on the experiences and theoretical models that have been recorded in print or other formats by scholars, artists, and writers with innovative representations of global modernities. The conference will critically examine how the meanings of modernity, critique, and humanism are interconnected. Transdisciplinarity is thus highly encouraged. We invite papers from a diverse range of disciplines of the humanities and the social sciences.

Suggested areas of critical examination include (a) practices of interaction in civic, communitarian, national, and global communication; (b) pedagogical forms of instruction that are emergent and innovative in the fields of the humanities and the social sciences in modern Universities across the world; (c) challenges to humanism and the humanities by current research and world historical changes; (d) theoretical innovations in the fields of literature and the arts, criticism, social theory, politics, and philosophical and humanist thought. More specifically, the organizers of the 2011 Conference on Modernity, Critique, and Humanism invite papers on the following topics:

• The problematics of humanism, cultural traditions, and historical change.
• Humanism or plural humanisms?
• From the critique of humanism to post-humanism.
• The meaning of humanism from ancient to modern civilizations.
• The ethics of humanism and critique in non-Western world cultures.
• Modernity, critique, humanism, and religion.

• Contemporary debates about modernity in social theory.
• Globalization and the challenges for critical theory.
• Postcolonialism, humanism, and social theory.
• Reconsidering urban space in social theory.
• Humanism and institutions: toward a theory of responsibility.
• Is there a humanist-turn in social theory?

• Migrant labor and the law: World workers with no legal protection.
• Human life in the world's megacities.
• Intersocial communication in the Electronic Age.
• The question of humanism and ethics in a global context: case studies.
• Global border conflicts.
• Humanism, the arts, and the corporate culture industry.
• The rise of megacities and the decline of the nation.
• Humanism, critique, and modernity in relation to global ecosystems.

• Humanism, critique, and the modern family structure.
• Humanism and gerontology: aging and living through tradition and change.
• Human values in societies facing political anarchy and violence.
• Humanism and technology: toward a critique of understanding.
• The meaning and function of humanism and modern art in world megacities.

The deadline for a one-page abstract of conference papers is December 12, 2010. The submitted abstracts will be peer-reviewed, and their acceptance or rejection will be communicated by e-mail on or before December 15. If you live in Mexico, send your abstract as an electronic attachment to Dr. Oliver Kozlarek, okozlarek@yahoo.com; if in the United States or abroad, send to rcantu@calstatela.edu or mail to the following addresses:

Dr. Roberto Cantú
Professor of Chicano Studies and English
California State University, Los Angeles
5151 State University Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90032