About the talk
The purpose of this book-length project is an Introduction to the Arts and Humanities to be used in schools and colleges. This new introduction responds to rapidly sinking enrollments in the humanities across the United States, which has led to a contraction of distribution requirements and the demand for a single introductory course covering all arts and humanities. Developing a new textbook for this type of general education course is an occasion to rethink what a basic humanities education should entail.
Central to my approach is the transmission of cultural objects and practices in institutions such as caves, theaters, and libraries. Since these institutions are always prone to failure, cultural history is marked by different types of interruptions and corresponding attempts at recovery. In this way, cultural history is driven by the interplay of interruptions and attempted recoveries both historically and in the contact among different cultures. (Text by Martin Puchner)