1st Edition

Humanism: Foundations, Diversities, Developments

By Jörn Rüsen Copyright 2021
    122 Pages
    by Routledge

    122 Pages
    by Routledge

    The book describes humanism in a systematic and historical perspective. It analyzes its manifestation and function in cultural studies and its role in the present.

    Within the book, special attention is given to the intention of contemporary humanism to overcome ethno-centric elements in the cultural orientation of contemporary living conditions and to develop humane dimensions of this orientation. This is linked to a fundamental critique of the current post-human self-understanding of the humanities. Furthermore, the intercultural aspect in the understanding of humanism is emphasized; for non-Western cultures also have their own humanistic traditions. Two further aspects are also addressed: the Holocaust as the most radical challenge to humanistic thinking and the relationship of humanism to nature.

    Sitting at the intersection of history and philosophy, the book is perfect for those exploring humanism from an historical perspective.


    1. What is Humanism?

    2. Classical Humanism – a Historical Survey

    3. Intercultural Humanism – How to Perform the Humanities in the Era of Globalization

    4. Towards a New Idea of Humankind – Unity and Difference of Cultures in the Crossroads of Our Time

    5. Historizing Humanity – Some Theoretical Considerations on Contextualization and Understanding with an Outlook on the Idea of Humanity

    6. Humanism: Anthropology – Axial Times – Modernities

    7. Humanism in Response to the Holocaust – Destruction or Innovation?

    8. Humanism and Nature – Some Reflections on a Complex Relationship


    Jörn Rüsen is Senior Fellow at the Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut (Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities) at Essen, Germany. He specialises in the theory and didactics of history and intercultural humanism. His recent books include History: Narration, Interpretation, Orientation (2005) and Evidence and Meaning: A Theory of Historical Studies (2017).