Humanities in Revolt

A conversation with Alastair Renfrew about the future of the humanities and higher education as a potential site of revolt


Fields of Knowledge
  • Pedagogy
  • Philosophy / Theory
  • Public culture

Organizing Institutions



Jean-Michel Rabate


Department of English, the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, and the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania

Opens to public





4017 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104


25% Formal - 75% Informal

Slought is pleased to announce a conversation with Alastair Renfrew on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 from 6:30-8:00pm, which will engage recent discussions about the future of the humanities and higher education.

"The 'dirge-like chorus' of recent identifications of the demise of the Humanities has been willing to engage with broader social, political and ideological factors only insofar as they are seen to impact directly on the ways in which universities function. Few voices in this 'chorus' have sought to pursue the implications of their own critique and to conceptualize the Humanities as a potential site of revolt against both the local effects of political and ideological agency, and indeed against the prevalent ideologies of our time. The purpose of this intervention is to question what theories of Revolution – mediated by and 'answerable' to an underpinning theory of conjuncture – can offer the contemporary Humanities; and to prepare an argument that that the practice of the Humanities can only now be understood in terms of 'revolt.'" - Alastair Renfrew

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Alastair Renfrew taught at the universities of Strathclyde and Exeter before coming to Durham University as Reader and Head of Russian in 2007. He was Director of Research in the School of Modern Languages & Cultures from 2009 to 2011 and Head of School from 2011 to 2012. His main area of research specialization is critical and literary theory, with particular emphasis on the Soviet 1920s.

He has published widely on Mikhail Bakhtin and the so-called Russian Formalists, including the monograph Towards a New Material Aesthetics (Legenda, 2006) and the recent collection Critical Theory in Russia and the West (Routledge 2010), and is currently completing an introduction to Bakhtin for Routledge Critical Thinkers. He has also taught and published on Russian and Soviet Cinema, Russian and Scottish Literature and is Editor of the journal Slavonica.