ECHIC Annual Conference 2015

Noticias recientes del congreso

"The humanities are not interested in solving technical problems: they seek to deepen reflection and dialogue"

Lejf Moos, coordinator of the European Alliance for Social Sciences and Humanities, participated in the V Annual Meeting of the European Consortium for Humanities Institutes and Centres (ECHIC), which was hosted by ICS

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FOTO: Carlota Cortés
27/03/15 11:18 Isabel Solana

"The political realm wants the humanities to produce useful tools to solve technical problems, but that's not what we are interested in. We seek to provide a more profound vision and to deepen reflection and dialogue." Or so said Lejf Moos at the Institute Culture and Society (ICS). Professor Moos teaches at Aarhus University (Denmark) and is the coordinator of the European Alliance for Social Sciences and Humanities (EASSH).

He was speaking at the V Annual Meeting of the European Consortium for Humanities Institutes and Centres (ECHIC), which the ICS hosted on the 26th and 27th of March. The event took place at the Museum of the University of Navarra.

In his talk, Moos focused on Horizon 2020, which is found within the European Union's Framework Program for Research and Innovation, to finance projects. "It's a tool with which the European Commission wants to govern the sciences and research," he noted, while he criticized the fact that, within this program, "the humanities and social sciences barely have a place.

As he lamented, "The Commission argues that the humanities and social sciences should be incorporated into some of the social challenges that the proposals call for, but if we look at the objectives of each work plan, less than 30% of these calls are open the humanities and social sciences."

In this sense, he warned that it not only harms researchers in these disciplines, but "also communities and societies, which need to be represented by this voice to find real answers to their challenges."

Understanding and dialogue between cultures

Professor Moos recalled the importance of the humanities' role in understanding society and the world in general because, as he said, "it is impossible without understanding human beings." Therefore, he emphasized the need for research: "In the global market, we not only trade with other cultures, but we also must dialogue with them and be able to understand them when people from other countries visit or when they come as refugees or migrants, for example."

The Danish expert argued that, although the humanities can not resolve conflicts between values, "a better understanding of other cultures— whether religious or otherwise— can help us identify whether or not there are grounds for conflict", which can contribute to a solution.

Some thirty experts from centers in the UK, the Netherlands, Portugal, Italy, Poland, Denmark, Ireland and Spain took part in the ECHIC's V Annual Meeting. Among other issues, they addressed things such as civic humanities, public and private funding and the value of the humanities in society.

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