The Humanities call us to pay attention to what conditions our attention. By doing so, they help us take distance towards the lures of “communication”, and reframe issues of “information.” Media perform agential cuts which condition what matters to us collectively and individually. Consequently they structure our political constitutions as “mediarchy,” rather than as “democracy.” This reframing may not be irrelevant at the times of populist leaders who gain political momentum lately throughout the world. In such a context, we need to devise the Humanities as cultivating arts of collective embodied attention, which is necessary to orient, steer and reconfigure the techniques of automated attention currently mobilized through computational assemblages.
The following day, Friday April 20, Citton will participate in a panel discussion discussing The Future of the Humanities in Posthuman Times in the Banquet Room, University Club.
Presented in partnership with the Department of French and Italian.
Yves Citton is professor of French Literature at the Université Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint Denis. He previously taught at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, at the University of Pittsburgh, PA, at the Université Grenoble Alpes, France, and has been invited Professor at New York University, Harvard and Sciences-Po Paris. He is co-editor of the journal Multitudes. He recently published Médiarchie (Paris, Seuil, 2017), The Ecology of Attention (Cambridge, Polity Press, 2016, translation of Pour une écologie de l’attention, Paris, Seuil, 2014), Gestes d’humanités. Anthropologie sauvage de nos expériences esthétiques (Paris, Armand Colin, 2012), Renverser l’insoutenable (Paris, Seuil, 2012), Zazirocratie (Paris, Éditions Amsterdam, 2011), L’Avenir des Humanités. Économie de la connaissance ou cultures de l’interprétation? (Paris, Éditions de la Découverte, 2010), Mythocratie (Paris, Éditions Amsterdam, 2010), Lire, interpréter, actualiser. Pourquoi les études littéraires? (Paris, Éditions Amsterdam, 2007) and L’Envers de la liberté. L’invention d’un imaginaire spinoziste dans la France des Lumières (Paris, Éditions Amsterdam, 2006).