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IHSS Annual Symposium 2022: The Humanities (In and After the Pandemic)

When: Tuesday, June 14, 2022, 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Where: Peston Lecture Theatre, Graduate Centre, Mile End Campus, Mile End Road, London E1 4NS

The third IHSS Annual Symposium will host Professor Helen Small followed by an in-depth discussion with Professor Simon Reid-Henry.

COVID-19 has seen the Humanities enrolled in the service of science and society. This lecture will consider efforts at articulating the public good of the Humanities in the context of the pandemic crisis and subsequent pressures on the economic and political contexts of university research. Particular attention will be paid to the terms of engagement on which some social scientists and scientists, encountering public resistance to their expertise, have sought assistance from the Humanities. Drawing on recent philosophical writing about styles of reasoning and the limits of disciplinary claims, the lecture will endeavour to explain why (even) high-level efforts at cross-disciplinary collaboration often falter—and identify ways of alleviating the difficulties.

About the Speaker

Prof Helen Small

Professor Helen Small is Merton Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Oxford. She is interested in the connections between literature, intellectual history, and philosophy (especially moral and critical philosophy), primarily since 1830. Her most recent book, The Value of the Humanities (2013) is a critical account of the claims standardly employed to defend the public value of the humanities. She is currently working on a book, funded by a Leverhulme Trust Fellowship, entitled The Function of Cynicism at the Present Time. She regularly write essays about Victorian fiction, poetry, and public moralism, and she has edited several well-known and less well-known nineteenth-century literary works, including Vanity Fair, Wuthering Heights, The Lifted Veil and Brother Jacob, The Eustace Diamonds, The Last Chronicle of Barset, and (with Stephen Wall) Little Dorrit. She is on the editorial board of the Journal of Victorian Culture and the advisory board of History of Humanities.

About the Discussant

Professor Simon Reid-Henry is Director of the Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences and Professor in Historical and Political Geography at Queen Mary University of London. He is the author, most recently, of Empire of Democracy: The Remaking of the West after the Cold War, 1971-2017.

About the IHSS Annual Symposium

The IHSS Annual Symposium seeks to recognise and bring to Queen Mary each year a scholar who has recently contributed a ground-breaking piece of work in the humanities and social sciences. The work will have engaged with multiple disciplines and have the potential to alter the social and political landscape. In particular we seek to celebrate work that has as its focus to overcome inequalities of various sorts and to promote social justice in the broadest sense. 

The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception.


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