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The Making of the Humanities

The Making of the Humanities: Volume II - From Early Modern to Modern Disciplines

Rens Bod
Jaap Maat
Thijs Weststeijn
Copyright Date: 2012
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  • Book Info
    The Making of the Humanities
    Book Description:

    This much-awaited second volume investigates the changes in subject, method and institutional context of the humanistic disciplines around 1800, offering a wealth of insights for specialists and students alike. Point of departure is the pivotal question whether there was a paradigm shift in the humanities around 1800 or whether these changes were part of a much longer process. The authors provide an overarching perspective including philology, musicology, art history, linguistics, historiography, philosophy and literary theory. They also make clear that the influence from the East, from the Ottoman Empire to China, was crucial for the development of the European humanistic disciplines. This title is available in the OAPEN Library -

    eISBN: 978-90-485-1733-6
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-8)
  3. Introduction: The Dawn of the Modern Humanities
    (pp. 9-20)
    Rens Bod

    This volume investigates the changes in subject, method and institutionalization of the humanities before and after 1800. Was there a revolution in the humanities around 1800 – a sudden shift in the study of the products of the human mind, or were these changes part of a much longer process? The authors address these questions from an overarching perspective for a variety of humanities disciplines: from philology, musicology, art history, linguistics, historiography to literary theory.

    This is the second volume in the seriesThe Making of the Humanitieswhich originates from the conference series of the same name.¹ While the first...

  4. I Linguistics and Philology

    • The Rise of Philology: The Comparative Method, the Historicist Turn and the Surreptitious Influence of Giambattista Vico
      (pp. 23-36)
      Joep Leerssen

      A true ‘scientific revolution’, in the root sense as employed by Thomas Kuhn, took place around 1800 when the study of linguistic relations was placed on a new footing.² Sir William Jones’s description of Sanskrit led to a tendency to compare European languages, not with the religiousUrspracheHebrew (as had been the tendency before) but with Sanskrit, and paved the way for a phylogenetic-comparative method full of new insights. It made possible, indirectly, the reclassicifation of linguistic variations as resulting from historically specific vowel or consonant shifts, and a systematic and even nomothetic description of such shifts – for instance,...

    • Linguistics ‘ante litteram’: Compiling and Transmitting Views on the Diversity and Kinship of Languages before the Nineteenth Century
      (pp. 37-54)
      Toon Van Hal

      The present contribution aims to address some issues relating to the transmission and the organization of linguistic knowledge in a time when there was no such thing as an independent linguistic discipline yet. Franz Bopp (1791-1867) is generally credited with having institutionalized a new academic branch of scholarship, since the publication of hisÜber das Conjugationssystemin 1816 earned him the first chair of comparative linguistics at the University of Berlin five years later.¹ Whereas the nineteenth-century interest in linguistics was chiefly limited to the study of the diachronic evolution and the genealogical kinship of languages (leaving aside some notable...

    • The Rise of General Linguistics as an Academic Discipline: Georg von der Gabelentz as a Co-Founder
      (pp. 55-70)
      Els Elffers

      ‘What is General Linguistics?’ The first full professor of General Linguistics at the University of Amsterdam, Anton Reichling (1898-1986), asked this question in 1947 in the title of his inaugural lecture. Reichling presented his audience with a bird’s-eye view of eight centuries of answers to his question, which he all regarded as wrong, mainly because of the attempt to find the ‘generality’ of general linguistics in the wrong place: either in aprioristic ideas on ‘general grammar’ (the earlier answers) or in reductionist appeals to non-linguistic principles (the later answers).

      And yet, according to Reichling, one man had already been on...

  5. II The Humanities and the Sciences

    • The Mutual Making of Sciences and Humanities: Willebrord Snellius, Jacob Golius and the Early Modern Entanglement of Mathematics and Philology
      (pp. 73-92)
      Fokko Jan Dijksterhuis

      The making of the humanities was the making of the sciences at the same time. It is chiefly a story of reciprocal demarcation that gave, in the course of the nineteenth century, the sciences and the humanities distinct profiles. In early modern learning the distinction between the products of the human mind and of nature did not exist. The process of disentanglement may have started in the early modern period but it was driven by ‘scientific’ and ‘humanistic’ developments alike. In this article I will reflect upon the early modern relationship between the sciences and the humanities from the perspective...

    • A ‘Human’ Science: Hawkins’s Science of Music
      (pp. 93-102)
      Maria Semi

      Once upon a timescience,learningandknowledgewere synonyms. ‘Science’ was by no means a metonymy for what we nowadays call the ‘natural’ or ‘hard’ sciences, and what was formerly called ‘Natural philosophy’. Rather, it stood for a particular kind of knowledge, as it was the translation for the Greek wordepisteme, which – according to the Aristotelian system – was the enquiry into what cannot be different from what it is, leading ultimately to knowledge of the causes, of the principles of things. These are also the characteristics of that particular knowledge about music, which Sir John Hawkins – author of...

    • Bopp the Builder. Discipline Formation as Hybridization: The Case of Comparative Linguistics
      (pp. 103-128)
      Bart Karstens

      The historical study of discipline formation is a relatively underdeveloped research area in the historiography of science. It questions how the modern academic system of disciplines has emerged and how differentiation in it has taken place by investigating the factors involved in the construction or breaking down of disciplinary boundaries. This research focus is interesting for at least four reasons. First, the process of discipline formation is an ongoing process. Thus, knowledge about discipline formation in the past can help us to gain a better understanding of the process of discipline formation in the present. Second, the search for historical...

  6. III Writing History and Intellectual History

    • Nineteenth-Century Historicism and Its Predecessors: Historical Experience, Historical Ontology and Historical Method
      (pp. 131-148)
      Jacques Bos

      The term ‘historicism’ has a wide variety of meanings. Karl Popper used this word to denote the view that the course of history is determined by transparent general laws and that knowledge of these laws makes it possible to predict social developments.¹ Popper’s determinist notion of historicism is, however, highly idiosyncratic. It is more customary to use the term ‘historicism’ as a label for a specific strand of historical writing that emerged in Germany in the early nineteenth century and subsequently became a leading perspective in the academic historiography of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, primarily in Germany, but also...

    • Fact and Fancy in Nineteenth-Century Historiography and Fiction: The Case of Macaulay and Roidis
      (pp. 149-166)
      Foteini Lika

      Every ‘zone of contact’,¹ in Bakhtin’s terms, is a grey territory open to the interplay of a variety of genres and forms of discourse. The understanding and representation of reality has been a zone between the competing disciplines of historiography and fiction. As a result, the defining space between the two has been slippery. As Angela Keane and many others before her have observed, this ambivalence about the limits and domains of these two disciplines was mirrored in the crisis about historical representation in the early nineteenth century, when the ‘Romantic models of literary production [...] disturbed this always fragile...

    • The Humanities as the Stronghold of Freedom: John Milton’s Areopagitica and John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty
      (pp. 167-182)
      Hilary Gatti

      The concept of liberty goes back to classical Greece and Rome, and is closely linked to the humanistic revival of classical letters in the Renaissance. The problem of liberty, however, became more acute with the invention of the printing press, that lead to a diffusion of texts far wider than anything known to the classical or the medieval worlds. The sixteenth century, during which the new techniques of printing became widely established throughout Europe, also coincides with an increasingly rigorous exercise of censorship on the part of both the political and the ecclesiastical authorities of the time. It is also...

  7. IV The Impact of the East

    • The Impact on the European Humanities of Early Reports from Catholic Missionaries from China, Tibet and Japan between 1600 and 1700
      (pp. 185-208)
      Gerhard F. Strasser

      At a time when the countries of the Far East are rapidly becoming future world powers, when China is surpassing Germany as the most important export nation in the world and India is vying to rise up from the level of a developing country, it is sometimes necessary to remind us of the paucity of information on this part of the world in the not so distant past. And while the travelogue of the Venetian Marco Polo stands out as the one account that became widely known in the Middle Ages as it chronicled the journeys of the members of...

    • The Middle Kingdom in the Low Countries: Sinology in the Seventeenth-Century Netherlands
      (pp. 209-242)
      Thijs Weststeijn

      China is a ‘noble diamond, sparking divinely in the eye’, according to Joost van den Vondel (1587-1679).¹ The Dutch ‘Prince of Poets’ was not alone in esteeming the Middle Kingdom so highly. Not only was Amsterdam a staple market of Chinese goods and works of applied art. Various efforts of early European scholarship on China were products of the Netherlands as well. The earliest illustrated books, printing types, discussions of Chinese history, and editions of Confucius originated in the Low Countries. We may call this the ‘proto-sinology’ of the seventeenth century, as Chinese studies became an academic discipline only in...

    • The Oriental Origins of Orientalism: The Case of Dimitrie Cantemir
      (pp. 243-264)
      Michiel Leezenberg

      Edward Said’sOrientalismcontinues to set the tone for debates about the political roles and implications of the academic study of the Islamic, and more generally the non-Western, world in the Western humanities, even though its shortcomings have long been known. Specifically, and influentially, Said argues that there is a direct link between knowledge of the Orient and colonial domination; he mostly bases his case on detailed discussion of orientalist scholarship on the Arab-speaking regions of the Ottoman empire in France and England in the nineteenth century, and in the United States in the twentieth. Much can be said about...

  8. V Artworks and Texts

    • The Role of Emotions in the Development of Artistic Theory and the System of Literary Genres
      (pp. 267-282)
      Mats Malm

      Closely connected to the development of the humanities is the concept of the fine arts as it developed during the eighteenth century. While the classical liberal arts, including rhetoric, had been defined pedagogically, the ‘fine’ arts were defined by their ability to give pleasure, as opposed to the ‘useful’ arts. Precisely which arts should be defined as ‘fine’ has varied, but Charles Batteux in his influential Les Beaux arts réduits à un même principe , 1746, explained that the fine arts consist of music, poetry, painting, sculpture and dance.¹ One essential condition for the fine arts, les beaux arts, die...

    • Philology and the History of Art
      (pp. 283-300)
      Adi Efal

      This essay examines several notable affinities between philological rationality and the history of art. It stems from my underlying endeavour to draw the outlines of a philological art history, which could be termed figural philology.²

      In order to achieve that aim, a definition or redefinition of philological rationality would be necessary,³ a task to which the following pages are mostly dedicated. This redefinition of philological rationality highlights and underlines the plastic aspects of philological inquiries. In the framework of the present endeavour, the notion of ‘plasticity,’ drawn both from the Greek word plasis (πλάσις) and from modern applications of this...

  9. VI Literature and Rhetoric

    • Bourgeois versus Aristocratic Models of Scholarship: Medieval Studies at the Académie des Inscriptions, 1701-1751
      (pp. 303-320)
      Alicia C. Montoya

      Much attention has recently been focused on the construction of new, bourgeois models of authorship during the course of the French Enlightenment.² Less attention has however been paid to the concomitant emergence of bourgeois models of scholarship, that indeed went hand in hand with the increasing autonomization of the literary field at large. Similarly to the case of literary authors, the construction of new models of the professional – as opposed to the amateur – scholar owed much, in turn, to the creation of secular institutions capable of supporting this emerging category. Libraries accessible to the public, official associations, and state-supported academies...

    • Ancients, Moderns and the Gothic in Eighteenth-Century Historiography
      (pp. 321-336)
      Neus Rotger

      In hisQuerelles littéraires(1761), the abbé Augustin-Simon Irailh puts forward a two-volume history of European poetics through the ordering and description of the main literary polemics from Homer to his day. The essay, bearing the secondary title ofMémoires pour servir à l’histoire des révolutions de la République des Lettres,is presented in the preface as a collection of ‘secret’ records of literary history, a humorousThéatre de la véritéin which cultural history appears dramatized through the most conspicuous moments of crisis and disturbance. Focusing on cultural change (the ‘revolutions’ of the Commonwealth of Letters), Irailh gives priority...

    • The Afterlife of Rhetoric in Hobbes, Vico and Nietzsche
      (pp. 337-354)
      David L. Marshall

      If one is looking for a model of the history of rhetoric in early modernity written as a history of decline, then one could do much worse than Bryan Garsten’sSaving Persuasion: A Defense of Rhetoric and Judgment,published in 2006. There the commonplace is repeated that, in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, rhetoric came to be regarded with deep suspicion. And that is certainly true, at least in some sense. Almost despite himself, however, Garsten also succeeds in demonstrating that the criticisms of rhetoric developed by his synecdoches for early modernity – Hobbes, Rousseau and Kant – were not only attacks...

  10. VII Academic Communities

    • The Documents of Feith: The Centralization of the Archive in Nineteenth-Century Historiography
      (pp. 357-376)
      Pieter Huistra

      In his grand overview of the history of the humanities,De vergeten wetenschappen(‘The Forgotten Sciences’), Rens Bod takes as his theme the continuous search for empirical patterns and methodical principles.¹ The book shows a wide array of remarkable similarities and cross-sections between the humanities. Nineteenth-century historiography, for example: its stress on the critical use of primary sources owed a lot to philology and it shared its search for quite rigid methodology with linguistics and, again, philology.² Less prominent in Bod’s book but perhaps most strikingly similar between the humanities was – quite paradoxically – their stress on mutual differences. The humanities...

    • Humboldt in Copenhagen: Discipline Formation in the Humanities at the University of Copenhagen in the Nineteenth Century
      (pp. 377-396)
      Claus Møller Jørgensen

      Wilhelm von Humboldt never went to Copenhagen. Not in a physical sense, anyway. But the ideas connected to his name did, the amalgam of idealist philosophy of German thinkers such as Kant, Schleiermacher, Schiller and Fichte who formulated the ideal of ‘Synthese zwischen Bildung und Wissenschaft, Synthese aus Forschung und Lehre, Synthese der Disziplinen.’¹ The idea of a university embedded in this thinking had scholarship (Wissenschaft)² as the key concept. The aim of scholarship was to create knowledge for no other purpose than knowledge itself. Scholarship was to be the cornerstone of the university and the primary and defining pursuit...

    • The Scholarly Self: Ideals of Intellectual Virtue in Nineteenth-Century Leiden
      (pp. 397-412)
      Herman Paul

      Throughout the 1880s and early 1890s, Johannes Gerhardus Rijk Acquoy, Professor of Church History at Leiden University, used to invite his most talented students to a weeklyprivatissimum. In a room belonging to the university library, as close as possible to the books and manuscripts he needed, Acquoy taught his students the first principles of source criticism. More importantly, however, he also tried to mould their habits, their characters, their working manners, so as to transform them into real, scholarly church historians. He told them that scholarship worthy of its name depended on such character traits as truthfulness, circumspection, precision...

  11. Contributors
    (pp. 413-418)
  12. List of Figures
    (pp. 419-420)
  13. Index
    (pp. 421-427)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 428-428)