Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Rethinking the Public Humanities: Philosophical, Civil, and Economic Transformations

Dr. Scott T. Massey, Dr Theadore Roosevelt Malloch.

Around the nation and around the world, individuals, communities, and regions struggle to respond to tremendous changes that are underway. Globalization and technology are making cultural, human and civic issues more and more critical. The impact of this change is expressed well in the following passage from The Gutenberg Elegies:

In my lifetime, I have witnessed and participated in what amounts to a massive shift – a wholesale transformation. Primarily, human relations have been subjected to a warping pressure that is something new under the sun. Those who argue that history is change, that change is constant, are missing the point. Our era has seen an escalation of the rate of change so drastic that accommodation has been short-circuited. The advent of the computer, and the astonishing sophistication achieved by our electronic communications media, has together turned a range of isolated changes into something systematic. Since World War II, we have stepped collectively out of an ancient and familiar solitude and into an enormous web of imponderable linkages. We have created the technology that not only enables us to change our basic nature, but is making such change all but inevitable.

This is an important time to convene a national discussion of the direction of the public humanities, both because of the rate and nature of change in the world and because of the growing influence of American civic culture around the world. A national dialogue on the public humanities is the first stage of efforts to strengthen civic life in the US and around the world. Supported by the Ford Foundation, the Aspend Summit will help to frame agendas and to set a framework for coming decades to come.


Dr. Scott T. Massey  (United States)
President and CEO

Indiana Humanities Council/Aspen Institute Summit

Dr. Scott T. Massey is a philosopher and President and CEO of the Indiana Humanities Council, a state humanities foundation and affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Dr. Massey serves as national chairman of the 2004 Aspen Institute Summit on “rethinking the public humanities,” sponsored by the Ford Foundation. This program will gather humanities leaders from all fifty-six states and territories of the U.S., along with business and foundation leaders to examine intellectual, social, and economic trends that contribute to a re-thinking of the public humanities.

Dr Theadore Roosevelt Malloch  (United States)

  • Rethinking
  • Public
  • Humanities

(60 min. Workshop, English)