1st Edition

The Humanities, the Social Sciences and the University A Study in Knowledge Production

By Harry Redner Copyright 2023

    The Humanities, the Social Sciences and the University is an intellectual history of research in the humanities and social sciences. It scrutinizes the priorities, values, objectives and publishing agendas of the modern university in order to assess the institutional pressures on research in major disciplines such as literature, history, sociology and economics. It argues that all these disciplines are currently experiencing a deep malaise – though to different degrees – due to loss of faith in the Enlightenment project, which entailed the pursuit of knowledge through reason. Extreme scepticism, promoted since the 1970s by French Theory, which regards knowledge as an instrument of power, is a major factor in this disorientation. Overall, the book concludes that though universities have grown stronger, wealthier and more powerful in the last century, the quality and seriousness of the research they typically produce are weaker and intellectually less important and the institution is in danger of losing its way.

    An accessible and compelling read, this book will appeal to scholars of sociology, education and intellectual history with interests in higher education policy and academic life.

      1.Literature and Criticism – revitalizing a dynamic relationship  2.History – the need for a new grand narrative  3.Sociology – the search for a common theoretical core  4.Economics – bridging the divide between scientific and socio-historical models  5.From the University to the Multiversity – and beyond  6.Academia and Publishing – a fraught relationship


      Harry Redner was Reader at Monash University. He also held endowed chairs at Darmstadt and Kassel Universities in Germany and visiting professorships at Yale, the University of California at Berkeley, Haifa University and the École des Hautes Études in Paris. He was the author of 18 books ranging across the natural and social sciences and the humanities, notably Beyond Civilization: Society, Culture and the Individual in the Age of Globalization, Quintessence of Dust: The Science of Matter and the Philosophy of Mind and Politics, Ethics and Culture in our Time: A Post-civilizational Perspective.