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Verden ifølge humaniora: 40 banebrydende begreber der former vores virkelighed

If we open a newspaper we often read stories about new discoveries made by the natural sciences. We may also read about new gadgets and contraptions developed by the technical sciences. But what do the scholars in the humanities do? And how does their work contribute to the societies we live in?

A new book, edited by CWS member Anders Engberg-Pedersen along with two colleagues, Karen Gram-Skjoldager and Mikkel Bille, offers some answers. A key task in the humanities is to develop new ideas and concepts that help us navigate the world we inhabit. When our Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen decides to offer an apology to the boys from Godhavn, how can she apologize for acts she did not personally commit? Or when Denmark decides to go to war, what were the frames that structured the debate leading up to the decision? The modern humanities have coined a series of concepts that help us understand such questions. The book Verden ifølge Humaniora gathers 40 leading Danish humanities scholars. They have each chosen a concept from their particular field and use it to explain a problem or phenomenon in the world. To give a few examples: “Uformel økonomi: Hvorfor laver de arbejdsløse ikke noget?” “Bullshit: Kan man få verdens bedste tacos i Trump Tower Grill?” or “Tankens afkolonisering: Var Mandela bange for en sort pilot?”

Two of the essays deal specifically with war. In “Krigens rammer: hvordan dræber man et menneske to gange?” Anders Engberg-Pedersen examines Judith Butler’s influential concept “frames of war” developed in her book from 2009. Thomas Brudholm in turn takes up Hannah Arendt’s well-known but often misunderstood term “the banality of evil” in “Ondskabens banalitet: Kan du genkende en massemorder?” Both essays show how a perspective from the humanities is of central importance to important matters of concern in our society: war and evil.

The book can be purchased in bookstores and on the publishers website here: https://unipress.dk/udgivelser/v/verden-ifølge-humaniora/

Editing was completed: 12.12.2019