Lecture 1-4 humanities notes.docx

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African Studies
Steven Rockel

thLecture 1 Humanities September 5 2013 Speculative ThinkingSpeculativetheoreticalSynonyms abstract analytical assumed conceptive dangerous dicey experimental formularized hairy hazardous hypothetical ideal idealized ideological iffy in theory intellectual logical notional philosophical presumed risky uncertain unproven unsubstantiatedEmpirical sciences help us understand the quantifiable aspects of the universeFacts or highly likely and testable hypothesesFocus is on answers We like answers in the humanities tooBut we really enjoy asking questions Humanities as a method of interrogationThe humanities are mainly analytic critical interpretive and evaluativeAnalytic Meticulous examination finding essential elements of the subject at hand looking for nuance and detail and avoiding overgeneralizationsCritical Skepticism trenchant engagement and problematization of norms andor assumptionsProblematizationComplicating common sense notions defamiliarizationEmpirical sciences show us what we should think about the world and the universeKnowableHumanities disciplines dont teach us what to think but give us new ways to think SpeculativePuts everything into perspective We are accustomed to looking for certaintiesthere is real human value in uncertainty doubt and skepticismHumanities education strives to question authorities norms and dominant structures of power in our societyThe more I learn the less I feel I knowGoodCertainty can be a trapThe end of critical engagementAcceptance of norms which may carry hidden prejudicesBig QuestionsThe Rockefeller Commission on the Humanities states Through the humanities we reflect on the fundamental question What does it mean to be human The humanities offer clues but never a complete answer They reveal how people have tried to make moral spiritual and intellectual sense of a world in which irrationality despair loneliness and death are as conspicuous as birth friendship hope and reasonthLecture 2 Humanities September 12 2013 History a record of events that took place in the pastthe study of past events particularly in human affairs the past considered as a whole OEDMediationHistory comes to us via other peopleIt is never simply us and the raw eventContext can shape how history is told and whose history is toldHistory is not an exact scienceAttempts at objectivity are not always successfulLiberation theology and liberation philosophyA clear awareness of histories of oppression can come to us only from an historical conspectus which emerges from below Dussel 132Conspectus A general survey of a subjectCentral and South America1960s and 1970sEnrique Dussel Was America Discovered or Invaded is a liberation philosopher from Argentina EmphasizingThose who suffer Those who are oppressed Those who are victims Those who are on the losing side of historyShifting the historical focus away from the colonizers and onto those who were colonizedHistory and the VictorsThe victors are not the only people to emerge from conflictHistory often takes on the character and worldview of those on topExploitation of natural goods particularly minesSlavery torture deathDestruction of entire culturesWhat did this discovery mean from the perspectives of the native inhabitantsColonialism and Imperialism Colonialism the policy or practice of acquiring full or partial political control over another country occupying it with settlers and exploiting it economically OEDEstablishing physical coloniesImperialism the policy practice or advocacy of extending the power and dominion of a nation especially by direct territorial acquisitions or by gaining indirect control over the political or economic life of other areas the extension or imposition of power MW
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