European Consortium for Humanities Institutes and Centres

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Projects

The Humanities in Europe Interview Series

The Centre for the Humanities at Utrecht University, the Netherlands, in cooperation with ECHIC, proudly present an initiative ‘The Humanities in Europe Interview Series’, and would like to invite members of ECHIC to contribute to building the cartography of the European landscape of the humanities.

The idea for the project originated during the ECHIC’s Annual Conference in Oporto in 2014. When discussing the public humanities and strategies to showcase the value of the humanities and the wealth of their expertise and research of the field, the membership discussed the idea of a visual oral history project: making a cartography of short statements by humanities scholars and putting them online, a.o. on the ECHIC website.

Following this idea, Prof. Rosi Braidotti and the Centre for the Humanities’ team have developed ‘The Humanities in Europe Interview Series’, filmed by the award-winning documentarist Janina Pighat.  The idea is simple: by making a series of portraits of leading figures and promising scholars in the humanities in our part of the world and by  asking them all the same set of questions, we pursue a double aim. Firstly, we provide sources of inspiration and role models for practitioners and students alike. Secondly, we aim to trace a genealogical portrait of where the humanities have been, where they are at today and where they could go, since each person we interviewed was asked to trace their own itinerary, past, present and future.

The different itineraries that emerge from these interviews highlight the semantic, institutional and theoretical transformations the field has gone through in the last decades. We are also able to measure both the extent of the changes and the enduring vitality of the field.

We hope that viewing this mini-series, as practitioners but also as spectators,  we can express our trust in the humanities at a time when they are coming under attack in the public debate, in the press, in policy making and in terms of financial resources. Our hope is to show that the humanities in the 21st century are a vital, vibrant, critical and creative field by show-casing humanities scholars from country to country and recording their career and research.

Over 15 grand figures in the humanities have already been interviewed (a.o. Henrietta  Moore, Michel Serres, Tariq Modood, Ursula Biemann, Frans de Waal and Francoise Balibar).

The series are now available online:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL45DFSdO4MBiuzff1QvpXAN3TOWvaAQdi

The list of interview questions can be found here:

Interview questions (PDF)

We hope that other scholars and institutes around the world will feel inspired and encouraged by this initiative and we invite them to help us build this cartography, by conducting their own interviews also outside Europe, following the same format and questions.