The Cornell East Asia Program (EAP), in collaboration with the Flying University of Transnational Humanities (FUTH*), the Collège International de Philosophie (France), L’École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS; France), and The Society for the Humanities at Cornell held an international workshop July 10-14, 2016 “the Future of the Humanities and Anthropological Difference: Beyond the Modern Regime of Translation.” The workshop took place on the Cornell University campus in Ithaca, New York, U.S.A.
This workshop featured small group seminars led by leading translation studies thinkers as well as daily keynote lectures and roundtables open to the public and all participants. The seminar participants, graduate students and young scholars from institutes in Japan, England, Taiwan, India, Ukraine, France, China, Germany, and across North America, attended daily sessions of one of the three seminars, presented to their colleagues on their work, critiqued the papers of their fellow seminar participants, and contributed to the general dialogue of the workshop.
Hosted by Naoki Sakai (Cornell University, USA), the workshop addresses problematics of the role of the modern regime of translation in the knowledge production that founds work in the humanities and the social sciences. The practice and the theory of translation has been a mainstay for work in the humanities and in area studies in particular. The workshop examined what roles translation plays in the changing status of, and on-going reorganization of, the university. The workshop featured keynote talks by Boris Buden (Bauhaus University, Weimar, Germany) and Nadia Yala Kisukidi (Collège International de Philosophie and Université de Genève), as well as three multi-day seminars led by Joyce C.H. Liu (National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan), Jon Solomon (Jean-Moulin Lyon-3 University, France), and Rada Ivekovic (Collège International de Philosophie, Paris, France). Each seminar leader also gave a talk to all workshop participants. See below for the seminar topics.
The disciplines for modern knowledge production on human nature – generally referred to as the Humanities or human sciences - have been accommodated within the historically-specific bi-polar structure that consists of two orientations. The first, normative sciences without geopolitical modifiers, disciplinary forms of knowledge production on what has been regarded as humanitas or human beings in general. The second, particular disciplines of knowledge production on what have been seen as anthropos or human beings in their specificity, whose particularity is marked by geopolitical adjectivals. The interdisciplinary formation of area studies presupposes the putative object of their inquiry quite differently from the normative human science, whose object presumably is one aspect or another of universal human nature. In the last several decades, the Eurocentric structure of humanistic knowledge has been exposed and critiqued in a number of academic accomplishments. Relying on the consequences of such expositions, we are concerned with why such a structure remains largely intact in the disciplinary configuration of the Humanities even today, and also what sorts of attempts can be encouraged and cultivated to undermine the bipolarity of the Humanities. For this reason, as the central theme for this workshop, we have decided to adopt the changing status of area studies in the Humanities and social sciences at American universities as well as in higher education in the rest of the world.
* FUTH is a consortium of universities: Hanyang University (South Korea), University of Leipzig (Germany), University of Pittsburgh (USA), St. Andrews University (UK), University of Tampere (Finland), National Chiao Tung University (Taiwan), Sogang University (South Korea).
FUTH workshop lectures and roundtables video album on EAP Vimeo