Recomposing the Humanities

Stephen Muecke

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


THE INTREPID and somewhat perplexed anthropologist of the moderns who carried out Bruno La tour's Inquiry into Modes of Existence for him was invited to Australia -of all places, the end of the world? -to prepare a similar report for the venerable peers of the Academy of the Humanities.l•l This august body, of which I happen to be a fellow, was concerned about the status of the humanities in universities in the traditional subjects of history, languages, archaeology, philosophy, and literature. They were also uneasy about the possibility of declining relevance, as indicated by the recently elected right-wing government's attacks on the "increasingly ridiculous research grants" awarded by the Australian Research Council. The chair of the Scrutiny of Government Waste Committee, Jamie Briggs, was sure he knew, just from the title, what a ridiculous grant application looked like, and he "singled out four projects, two involving philosophy and Hegel, one to do with 'urban media art' and adaptation to climate change, and an exercise in anthropology, 'Sexuality in Islamic interpretations of reproductive health technologies in Egypt"' (Lane).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReset Modernity!
EditorsBruno Latour, Christophe Leclerc
Place of PublicationCambridge, MA
PublisherMIT Press
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)9780262034593
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Bruno Latour
  • Academy of Humanities
  • status of humanities subjects
  • history
  • languages
  • archaeology
  • philosophy
  • literature
  • Australian Research Council
  • relevance


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