Modernity, Critique and Humanism (MCH)



Modernity, Critique and Humanism. A dialog between Latin America and Europe
Modernidad, Crítica y Humanismo. Un diálogo entre América Latina y Europa

Enrique Dussel, Oliver Kozlarek and Luis Villoro at the Coloquio International Humanismo y Crítica a la Modernidad en América



Project coordinator:

Oliver Kozlarek


Project outline:

The aim of the project is to compare ways in which Modernity, Critique and Humanism are imagined and reflected about. It is inspired by critical theory and current debates about modernity, especially the idea of the existence of multiple modernities, entangled or connected modernities as well as postcolonial theory. However, the project also wants to reach beyond the limits of these debates, stressing the experiences that human beings have made in and within global modernity.

An important aim of the project is to show how the meanings of Modernity, Critique and Humanism are interconnected.

Modernity has been an important conceptual tool not only in Europe and the United States but also in Latin America. It is still a necessity to understand how modernity generates imaginaries in which both emancipation and domination are articulated in Europe and in Latin America.

Critique and Modernity are inseparable. However, critical thinking in Europe and Latin America has produced different forms of critique. The project pretends to show that there cannot be only one critical theory.

Humanism has gained a bad reputation. After WWII humanism was severely criticized in Europe and elsewhere. However, it is our contention that global modernity—that represents for the first time in history a condition in which all human being share risks, chances and responsibilities on a global scale—requires to rethink in an intercultural and transdisciplinary fashion what it means to be human.

In our current phase of globalization Modernity, Critique and Humanism cannot be limited to a certain place anymore. They produce or have to produce imaginaries that transcend geographic, cultural and ethnic borders. Yet, it is our contention that human action and thought always occur at certain places. The project wants to develop an understanding of the importance of places, geography and territories, without being deterministic.

Despite the recognition of the importance of the dimension of space the project does not limit itself to simply “mapping” the global condition. It is driven by the wish to reach beyond the given and by the conviction that we have to imagine a world for all human beings without limiting their differences. The construction of a common world needs a new world consciousness that could derive from integrating the multiple imaginaries of Modernity, Critique and Humanism in an intercultural and transdisciplinary way.