The Humanities Towards a New Agenda

Conference 2:

Aarhus University, 14-15 November 2013



What characterises the humanities today? Which methods and questions are at stake and developing? How do the humanities address current societal challenges, and how do they interact with other scientific traditions and research fields? How should we conceptualise the new human sciences that are developing at the borders between the humanities and the natural and social sciences?

The two research programmes THE HUMAN TURN, directed by Sverre Raffnsøe and Morten Raffnsøe-Møller, and HUMANOMICS, directed by Frederik Stjernfelt and David Budtz Pedersen, are pleased to invite scholars, researchers and stakeholders to participate in this second conference in a series entitled Negotiating the Humanities at Aarhus University, 14-15 November 2013.


The conference aims to explore the latest scholarly debates in contemporary humanities and to map the societal fields that call upon research in the humanities. A particular aim of the conference is to understand the humanities as situated between disciplinary science and other modes of research. In this second conference in the series Negotiating the Humanities, the focus is on two key topics:


Mapping scientific fields and research practices has become an area of growing interest to scientists, universities and funding agencies. New methodologies have surfaced ranging from computation of scientometric data to ethnographic case studies and web-based surveys that aim at conceptualising and visualising the flow of knowledge in science. However, research in the humanities is often difficult to map and survey, since these fields are characterised by numerous and heterogeneous epistemic practices. Some are specifically bound to local contexts, languages and terminologies, and the humanities lack a global body of references and classifications. Some of the most important methodological challenges relating to mapping the humanities concern the classification of disciplines, the design of sampling strategies in a changing research landscape, and the construction of a framework for describing research outputs in the humanities. Developing better and more coherent surveys and case studies will help further the understanding of challenges and societal drivers in the human sciences.


The human being and its particular characteristics as a self-interpretative, expressive, authentic and a culture-bearing being are in focus within both science and society. But the humanities no longer have the exclusive license to study man and impact society’s knowledge of and governing of human beings. Today human nature and the character of human beings are intensively investigated in the medical, technical, natural and social sciences, whereas the humanities are increasingly defined as “culture studies”. The conference aims to foster a discussion of the scientific perspectives, knowledge, theories and methods that help shape today’s image of and societal governing of man. What is the role of the humanities, and how are the humanities affected by other scientific traditions and, in turn, affecting other scientific traditions when it comes to the new determination of what it means to be human?


Anyone with interest in attending the conference is strongly encouraged to reserve the date and submit an email indicating their interest in participating ( The main conference programme with the list of keynote speakers will be forthcoming in late summer 2013.

About the Organisers

The Human Turn examines the new call for knowledge of the human in the natural sciences, the life sciences and the social sciences. The common drive is the realisation that knowledge of the human is a decisive factor in handling societal challenges and the advancement of science. Focusing on a number of exemplary interdisciplinary fields such as political science, welfare science, health science, environmental science and the science of management, The Human Turn investigates the consequences and potentials of this new human turn. Participants include Kirsten Hastrup, Uffe Juul Jensen, Anne-Marie Mai, Sverre Raffnsøe, Morten Raffnsøe-Møller and Marius Gudmand-Høyer. For further information, see

Humanomics is an interdisciplinary research programme that studies the historical, conceptual and institutional dynamics of the humanities. The programme seeks to provide insight into which humanist theories, methods and concepts that are operative in today’s science system, and in doing so seeks to develop a general philosophy of the humanities. The research team consist of Vincent F. Hendricks, Andreas Roepstorff, Simo Køppe, Svend Østergård, Claus Emmeche, Esther Oluffa Pedersen, Uffe Østergård, Cecilie Juul Jørgensen, Lasse Johansson, Frederik Stjernfelt and David Budtz Pedersen. For further information, see

The research programmes have received generous support from the Velux Foundation. The programmes aim at supporting the development of a research-based debate about the potentials and challenges for the human sciences in contemporary society. For further information about the Velux Foundations’ Meta-Hum Initiative see or contact Henrik Tronier,

Please note that registration is required. Conference fee is DKK 200. The fee includes coffee, lunches, and conference dinner.

Deadline for registration: Nov. 10, 2013.

We would kindly ask you to register by using the webshop:

For more information, please contact:

David Budtz Pedersen, Co-Director, Humanomics, Aarhus University (

Ditte Vilstrup Holm, Project Manager, The Human Turn, Copenhagen Business School (