This book has come into existence as part of a project on “Humanism in the Era of Globalization, an Intercultural Dialogue on Humanity, Culture and Values”. The project was carried out with the financial support of the Mercator Foundation, at the Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut (Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities) in Essen (KWI) during the years 2006 to 2009 and has resulted in a considerable number of publications. Some texts from the German collections of essays dealing with the central aspects of the project are in this volume made accessible in English translations. The editor hopes that this will advance the cause of the international as well as intercultural work in the topic of humanism.
When the project was initiated, the topic of humanism was of no particular relevance in the humanities and appeared to be only of interest to experts on Western cultural history. The intercultural widening of the scope of a not irrelevant theme in Western cultural history was not being considered at the time. This has changed over the last few years, not least of all since this research project has spawned other projects with different affiliations as regards the institutions or the individuals involved, which are specifically concerned with the intercultural dimension. Occasionally there is even mention made of a ‘humanistic turn’ in the humanities. In this respect the book might meet with a growing interest in the theme of humanism and contribute to providing a stimulus for new approaches to the topic through the results of the older project.
I would like to thank the Mercator Foundation for funding the project, the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities in Essen for its institutional support and the Berendel Foundation for financially supporting further research and publication ventures dedicated to humanism, in an intercultural perspective.
A special thanks go to Erhard Reckwitz and Shari Gilbertsen for their empathetic and competent translation. Thanks are also due to the authors who have gone to the trouble of reducing their texts to the limitations that were unavoidable in view of the wealth of material. I am also grateful that instead of translations of existing texts new texts could be admitted that the authors have made available instead of the ones originally envisaged. My special thanks are due to Sorin Antohi for his untiring effort on behalf of numerous projects on humanism and for his friendship while we jointly initiated and completed some of them.
I would like to give my express thanks to Angelika Wulff for her competent and tireless effort in completing the manuscripts and the editing of the book. Finally thanks are due to the colleagues from the publishing housewhich, thanks to its series “Reflections in (In)Humanity”, has provided a site for research for humanism within the international landscape of the humanities.
Bochum, January 2013 Jorn Rusen