Research Institute for Letters, Arts and SciencesWaseda University


International Symposium “Staring at the Tomorrow of Humanities”-Innovation of media and transformation of knowledge-(13 January 2018)

International Symposium

“Staring at the Tomorrow of Humanities”

 - Innovation of media and transformation of knowledge-

     「近代日本の人文学と東アジア文化圏 ―東アジアにおける人文学の危機と再生」

Co-sponsor:Waseda University
       Department of Culture, Media and Society,
       Studies of Media, Body and Image,

Date and time: 13 (Sat) January, 2018 / 13:00-18:50

Place: Waseda University Toyama Campas Building No.36  Room382

for Japanese


In today’s world, which is in a state of turbulence and deepening confusion, the idea of “knowledge” is changing dramatically. The underlying question is whether we are able to grasp contemporary reality any longer.

We are facing problems such as the rise of nationalism and racism; the rampant discriminatory discourse and hate speech; the emergence of ISIS and frequent terrorist attacks; the rise of right-wing political parties that reject refugees and act only for the interests of their own countries; the growing gap between the rich and the poor; and the slowing down of global economic growth. How did the world get to this point? Where is it going? It is of utmost importance to renew our perception of the world.

One of the reasons for this transformed world is the transformation of media. The development of information technology and the Internet have made every part of the world instantaneously present, fundamentally changing the ways of accessing and using information. One of the important pillars supporting humanistic knowledge since ancient times has been the study of literature. Text is still the most reliable source of information. Whether in the East or in the West, human beings have learned to understand the world and to recognize the wisdom of others through literature. However, in the current dire global situation one is forced to ask, if the traditional humanities, centered on the outstanding achievements of literature, can comprehend the world any longer.

Attempts to answer this question are being made in various parts of the world. Media archaeology clarifies aspects of culture that literature studies have been unable to visualize. New media theory tries to explain the fundamental changes in the relationship between the creation and reception of information. The development of IT and the Internet have made it possible to capture texts as aggregates of modules that can be divided and combined freely. Young people are storing individual modules in databases and freely connecting them to read texts. Beyond forms like literature, manga, animation and video, reading methods concentrating on characters rather than stories or styles or philosophical thoughts are evolving. They emphasize communication rather than the revelation of truths about human beings and the society. Last but not least, the development of artificial intelligence is also forcing us to revise our understanding of what “knowledge” means.

These trends have led to the notion that the knowledge in the humanities, which has developed mainly through literature studies, is approaching a major turning point. The crucial questions are: Where is “our knowledge” going? What can “our knowledge” contribute to the changing world?

We welcome cutting-edge researchers in the fields of media archaeology, new media theory, postmodern culture and artificial intelligence to discuss the present and the future of humanities. Our greatest joy would be if this effort would allow us to gain a glimpse of tomorrow’s wisdom and knowledge.


Part 1: Lectures (Moderator: Takumasa Senno)

13:00~13:15 Opening remarks  by Takumasa Senno

13:15~14:45 Erkki Huhtamo “The Tasks of Humanities in a Posthuman World : Media Archaeological Perspective” (with consecutive translation)

14:45~15:00 Tea break

15:00~15:45 Dominique Chen “Innovation of Humanities with Information Technology: From Intelligence Augmentation To Autonomy Amplification”

15:45~16:30 Hiroki Azuma “Philosophy as a Tourism, or on the Dark Utopia”

16:30~16:45 Tea break

Part 2: Panel Discussion (Moderator: Machiko Kusahara )

16:45~18:45 Panelists: Erkki Huhtamo,  Hiroki Azuma , Dominique Chen, Machiko Kusahara , Takumasa Senno

18:45 ~ 18:50 Closing remarks by Machiko Kusahara

for Japanese


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