Engaged Humanities: Rethinking Art, Culture, and Public Life

edited by Aagje Swinnen, Amanda Kluveld and Renée van de Vall
Amsterdam University Press, 2022
eISBN: 978-90-485-5040-1

What is the role of the humanities at the start of 21st century? In the last few decades, the various disciplines of the humanities (history, linguistics, literary studies, art history, media studies) have encountered a broad range of challenges, related to the future of print culture, to shifts in funding strategies, and to the changing contours of culture and society. Several publications have addressed these challenges as well as potential responses on a theoretical level. This coedited volume opts for a different strategy and presents accessible case studies that demonstrate what humanities scholars contribute to concrete and pressing social debates about topics including adoption, dementia, hacking, and conservation. These “engaged” forms of humanities research reveal the continued importance of thinking and rethinking the nature of art, culture, and public life.

Aagje Swinnen is Professor in Aging Studies at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Maastricht University. She has published on representations of aging in literature, photography, and film; meanings of art interventions in dementia care; and ways in which professional artists understand and give meaning to creativity in the later stages of their career in journals such as Journal of Aging Studies, The Gerontologist, Dementia, Ageing and Society, and Feminist Media Studies. Swinnen is co-founder of the European Network in Aging Studies and the open access journal Age, Culture, Humanities.

Amanda Kluveld is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Maastricht University. Her research focuses on the role of genealogy in academic Holocaust studies. Central to her current research project are the forgotten Jewish prisoners of the Amersfoort concentration camp (Kamp Amersfoort) from 1941–1945.

Renée van de Vall is Professor in Art and Media at Maastricht University. She has published on the phenomenology of spectatorship in contemporary art and on the theory and ethics of contemporary art conservation. Between 2016 and 2019, she was project leader of the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network New Approaches in the Conservation of Contemporary Art (NACCA).

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