Introduction: Future, Heteronomy, Invention

James J. Bono, Tim Dean, Ewa Plonowska Ziarek

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This introductory chapter reflects on the future of the humanities with the help of an interdisciplinary group of renowned theorists and scholars including Deleuze, Freud, Lacan, Foucault, Kristeva, and Irigaray. It addresses questions such as: What notions of futurity, of the human, and of finitude underlie recurring anxieties about the humanities' future in our current geopolitical situation? How can we think about the unpredictable and unthought dimensions of praxis implicit in the very notion of futurity? What kind of agency is implied by future-oriented praxis? In what sense is such agency linked to heteronomy rather than to the autonomy of the subject? The essays in this book argue that the uncertainty of the future represents both an opportunity for critical engagement and a matrix for invention. Also discussed are philosophy, art and art history, visuality, political theory, criticism and critique, psychoanalysis, gender analysis, architecture, literature, art, political and social reform in Latin America, disposable populations, electronic textuality, and invention and accountability.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationA Time for the Humanities
Subtitle of host publicationFuturity and the Limits of Autonomy
EditorsJames J Bono, Tim Dean, Ewa Plonowska Ziarek
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherFordham University Press
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9780823229192
StatePublished - Nov 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • futurity
  • humanities
  • invention
  • theorists
  • scholars
  • finitude
  • art history
  • political theory
  • architecture
  • literature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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