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Tag: Intellectuals

The intellectual in Central Europe: Havel, Orbán and Walter

What option is open to Central European intellectuals today? How can they maintain their independent stance and moral principles, yet find a position where they can support democracy in their countries? This is a particularly pressing question today, when Central Europe is again traversing a rocky road paved with nationalism and populism.

At a recent conference of European editors of cultural journals, an English participant remarked, a bit puzzled, how only in Central Europe do people still talk in all seriousness about – and even quarrel passionately over – the role, place and responsibility of intellectuals. First, I felt slightly embarrassed recalling that Kritika & Kontext, the journal I founded in 1996, had devoted a whole issue to “The Intellectual and Society”. The debate then was both serious and passionate and, rereading it now, seems still valid today. Perhaps after all there is a special place for intellectuals in the heaven and hell of Central Europe.

January 2, 2019 - Samuel Abrahám

Intellectuals need to compete in quality, not quantity

Interview with Marci Shore, associate professor of history at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Interviewers: Kate Langdon and Jordan Luber

KATE LANGDON AND JORDAN LUBER: What does it mean to be a public intellectual in 2018?

MARCI SHORE: I can answer this only for myself. For me, it has been important to learn to speak at different registers, to reach out to different people beyond the university and beyond my own academic field. This is a kind of translation: can I express in essence the same ideas, the ones I feel it is most important to convey at a given moment, in different kinds of language? This demands a kind of empathy with the audience, a figuring out of what is and what is not self-evident at a given moment to a given group of people. And it involves taking a risk to leap out of one’s disciplinary comfort zone.

January 2, 2019 - Jordan Luber Kate Langdon Marci Shore

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