1st Edition

The Humanities Reloaded Addressing Crisis

Edited By Keyan G. Tomaselli, Pier Paolo Frassinelli Copyright 2023

    This volume examines the crisis of humanities narratives in the context of neoliberal capitalism and of the emergence and consolidation of the metrics-driven, corporate, managerial university. Do narratives of the crisis of the humanities mobilize specific notions of value and prestige? How are these notions classed, gendered and racialized? How do narratives of the crisis of the humanities relate to current debates and contestations surrounding decolonization? Does the crisis of a traditional configuration of the humanities open up opportunities to use their institutional space for work that is both socially and politically relevant and academically rigorous? The aim is to provide a counter-narrative of the present and future of the humanities.

    In addition to the study of a multiplicity of media texts and other multimodal expressive forms, formats and platforms and genres, a communicative turn in the humanities entails deepening the study of the value chains in which they are inserted and their conditions of production, circulation and reception. Communicative and digital capitalism, now labelled the Fourth Industrial Revolution, is on its way to bringing its own waves of struggles and confrontations to our campuses and beyond, to which humanities scholars and activists can make a vital contribution—should some of us decide to do so.

    This book will be of interest to researchers and advanced students of art, literature, media and cultural studies, education, politics, sociology, and social and cultural anthropology. The chapters in this book were originally published in the journal Critical Arts: South-North Cultural and Media Studies.

    1. Humanities Reloaded. An Overview of this Volume

    Keyan G. Tomaselli

    2. Crisis? Which Crisis? The Humanities Reloaded

    Pier Paolo Frassinelli

    3. Humanities, Citations and Currency: Hierarchies of Value and Enabled Recolonisation

    Keyan G. Tomaselli

    4. Kind of Blue: Can Communication Research Matter?

    viola candice milton

    5. "Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me": Rethinking the Humanities (in Times of) Crisis

    Jeremy De Chavez and Asha Varadharajan

    6. Crossing Worlds: South–North Collaborations as Creative Encounters with Arts, Humanities and Sciences

    Kim Berman and Michelle LeBaron

    7. Jessica Ramirez Goes to the Johannesburg Solstice Critical Theory Workshop at the Institute of Critical Reasoning
    Melissa Tandiwe Myambo

    8. Transformation of Cultural Studies into Transdisciplinarity

    Jeffrey Sehume

    9. Alter-egos: Cultural and Media Studies

    Keyan G. Tomaselli

    10. Charles Taylor and the Pre-History of British Cultural Studies

    Marc Caldwell

    11. Why do Cultural Discourse Studies? Towards a Culturally Conscious and Critical Approach to Human Discourses


    12. In Search of a Real Freedom: Ubuntu and the Media

    Ngaire Blankenberg

    13. Charles Taylor in the Archives

    Stuart Hall

    14. Neoliberalising Higher Education: Language and Performing Purpose in Corporatised Universities

    Brenden Gray

    15. They are Burning Memory

    Njabulo S. Ndebele

    16. Cultural Studies under Mediterranean Skies

    Iain Chambers

    17. Marx, Labour Economics and the Academy

    Christopher Merrett

    18. Academic Managerialism in the Art and Design School

    Patrick Lynn Rivers


    Keyan G. Tomaselli is Distinguished Professor in the Humanities Dean’s Office at University of Johannesburg, South Africa. His other books on this topic include Cultural Tourism: Rethinking Indigeneity (2012), Writing in the San/d (2007), Where Global Contradictions are Sharpest (2005) and Encounters in the Kalahari (a Visual Anthropology special double issue, 1999, reprinted).

    Pier Paolo Frassinelli died in 2022 well before his time. He was on sabbatical leave and working on an African cinema project at the University of Stellenbosch. His home base was the University of Johannesburg, South Africa, and he retained his connections with colleagues in Italy. Frassinelli’s research interests included cultural and media studies, critical and decolonial theory, and African cinema. His latest book titled Borders, Media Crossings and the Politics of Translation: The Gaze from Southern Africa was published by Routledge in 2019.