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“Presence – a key term for the humanities?” A symposium with and about Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht (Stanford University).
Participating: Christoph Lindner (Dep. of Literature), Natalie Scholz (Dep. of History), Josef Früchtl (Dep. of Philosophy)

Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, Professor in Literature at Stanford University, has re-evaluated a concept that didn’t have a good reputation within the humanities in the past decennia: the concept of presence. Though Gumbrecht has done this in its own specific manner: pretty personally, polemical, and testing, he certainly has a point. For constructivism and deconstructivism have crowned a tendency which always was characteristic of the humanities: their blindness to everything which is not at home in the realm of signification and meaning, text and sign. The humanities usually are fixated on understanding, interpretation and the transformation of texts. Insofar they are based on hermeneutics even when they disavow it. In contrast, the dimension of presence is concerned with phenomena insofar as they become tangible and have an impact on our senses and bodies. The slogan is: less signification, more sensuousness! Stop making sense – by excluding sensuousness! This sounds nice – but does it make sense (even for those who try to include sensuousness)?

Plaats: Goethe instituut (Herengracht 470). Tijd: 27 mei, 14.00-16.00 uur. Het wordt aanbevolen om te reserveren (020 – 5312900; info@amsterdam.goethe.org)

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