“Yet again one epoch came to an end, yet again a new epoch began”, writes Stefan Zweig in “The World of Yesterday” about his experience of September 1, 1939. We have arrived at a similar moment in history that will define the “before” and “after” of our times.
Today the world seems out of joint. The Russian invasion of Ukraine in February brought full-scale war back to Europe. Terror bombing, atrocities, mass deportations: all these seemed to belong to the past. Suddenly they are part of our daily reality. The war plunged an already unsteady world into deeper uncertainty. Still grappling with the economic and public health consequences of the pandemic, we now face spiralling inflation driven by rocketing energy and food prices. The post-1989 period of hope and trust in liberal and democratic values have evaporated in a few short years.
How far-reaching will the effects of this historical turning point be? Democracy, social progress and the global security architecture are now all open to question. Western unity is showing signs of erosion from within. The Global South nurses a justified sense of grievance. The imbalance of political and economic power threatens new migration waves and political turmoil. Climate change disproportionately impacts on those least able to defend themselves. A new epoch demands new thinking. One critical element will be our ability to harness new technology to better manage the planetary challenges.
The Vienna Humanities Festival will be posing three fundamental questions. What can we learn from history, and can philosophy help us navigate through these disturbing times? And what can literature and the arts reveal to us about such epochal shifts? What does it mean to be human in an age of ever accelerating technology change?
The Festival will bring together some of today’s brightest minds for an intense absorbing weekend in which we navigate the seas of uncertainty to find answers in unexpected places.
For more information go to: Vienna Humanities Festival 2022
For programm information go to: PROGRAMM | VIENNA HUMANITIES FESTIVAL
The Vienna Humanities Festival is a joint project by the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM) and Time to Talk. In cooperation with: Der Standard, Erste Stiftung, Open Society Foundations, Stadt Wien, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, European Forum Alpbach, Technische Universität Wien and Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien.
Cover picture: Illustration by Blagovesta Bakardjieva.