International Council for
Philosophy and Human Sciences

Six Themes

Theme I. Humans and Environment

In general terms, it is about the connection that men have with nature from a psychological, social and ecological angle. Then, in a transcultural perspective, we will study the image of nature, including in its relations with what is perceived as supernatural, and its evolution through history, the representation of nature through languages, arts and science, the history of natural environment and climate, the action of men on the environment since the prehistory until the industrial era (history of the industrial pollution), the techniques and traditional knowledge of the environmental management and ethical problems.

Theme II. Cultural Identities, Cultural Diversities and Intercultural Relations

We should first wonder about the notions of identity and culture, and then, analyze the components of a cultural identity, a language, a religion, the consciousness of being a part of a group. The dynamics of identity, the transmission, the breakings and discontinuities, the resilience of identities to globalization and the world science relation to cultural diversity should also be studied. Intercultularity could also be considered from various angles: between components of a same culture or between different cultures, between ‘scholar’ culture and ‘traditional’ culture, the dissemination of models, intercultural vehicles and areas of cross-fertilization, and ‘cultural corridors’ (the Silk Road, the Orient Express), the political dialectic of dominant and dominated cultures, and the hybridization and translation issues.

Theme III. Cultural Heritage

Apparently studied for a long time, this theme brings up new questions: destruction by war, deportation and decontextualization of heritage (looting and colonial museums), but also its transmission: what must we preserve and pass on? The complexity of the concept of inheritance and the psychological and societal implications of patrimonialisation must be studied in depth. Specific problems are posed by the preservation of digital heritage, stories, as well as contemporary music (reggae) that make room for collective memory and oral tradition.

Theme IV. Borders and Migrations

Interdisciplinary by nature, this theme mobilizes the humanities and social sciences. From the philosophical angle, it questions the concepts of border, boundary and corridor (migration of concepts). The border as a division of space requires a comparative approach in space and in time and a ‘from the bottom’ geography (the circumscribed and experienced area). The mapping can be studied through its political context, and architectural materialisation, through walls. On the subject of the concept of migration, the diasporization and resettlement can be analysed, and a humanistic approach of border crossing (xenology), the figure of the foreigner, sedentary man and traveller, the theme of exile in literature and in the arts, the ethics of hospitality as a reservoir of values and knowledge, the consequences of migration on the development of knowledge (from the exodus of the pagan scholars from Constantinople to the contemporary brain drain) can be developed. Social mobility, as the different experiences of migration of men and women should also be considered.

Theme V. History, Memory and Politics

The key issue is the connection between memory (subjective, biased and emotional), forgetfulness (selective) and history (critical, cumulative and which aims at objectivity) and the relationship between political and historical work (commemorations, memory laws). Various topics can be examined: the evolution of the concept of time (cyclic time, linear time), the transition from a Europe-centered history to a transcultural and polycentric one; the history that has been obscured by politics (post-colonial historiography); the post-conflict historiography, that is to say the approaches of history by historians representing opposite sides.

Theme VI. Scholarly work in a changing context

What is changing in the world? What is changing in the humanities? What adjustments can we make? Their connection must be examined from three perspectives: the scientific work, teaching and culture. The scientific work raises several questions: the transfer of the model of the hard sciences to the humanities, the assessment, the financing, the preference for short-term projects instead of long-term ones and the role of minorities (gender and postcolonial world). Teaching provokes a reflection about the key role of the humanities at every level of education (primary school, secondary school and higher education). Culture is about the role of journalists and the one of the humanities in the media. Common to these three issues is the question of digital technologies: digital humanities, access to and control of information, the digital gap, the connection between digital technologies and other mediums of formation and information, and, even more generally, the public expectations regarding the humanities as a source of information and knowledge.

Call For Proposals of Symposia and Papers

 World Humanities Conference
Challenges and Responsibilities for a Planet in Transition
Liège, 6th-12th August 2017



Purpose and scope
Humanities have been a main structuring dimension of knowledge and understanding of societies throughout time, allowing to approach complexity, rendering time and causal dimensions to features or making sense of processes. Actually, the divide between the Humanities and other knowledge clusters (e.g. natural sciences or technologies) is a recent feature. One of the first initiatives undertaken in the framework of UNESCO, soon after World War II, was the establishment of the International Council for the Philosophy and Humanistic Studies, in January 1949. Yet, Humanities lost ground in the most recent decades, while global acceleration led societies to focus on short term issues rather than on foresight and mid to long term concerns.
Four several dimensions are to be considered when attempting to resume a central role for the Humanities in contemporary society, namely their epistemological framework, their institutional networking, the scope of Humanities concerns in daily life of societies and their relations to the arts and education. It is within these concerns that the World Humanities’ Conference will be organised, by CIPSH, UNESCO and Liège Together partners, in August 2017.
This is the time for Humanities scholars, but also related collaborators, artists, scientists or policy makers, to stand forward. The global context is difficult, and the preparation of a World Conference is difficult. This is precisely why it is so needed, and we address to you.
Humanities themes offer a unique sight into global concerns, offering them specific time length and causal sequencing understandings. While six main topics have been proposed, as key interfaces between Humanities research and societal concerns, the World Humanities’ Conference invites submissions from all Humanities disciplines and encourages them to address those themes and related issues on the basis of Humanistic methodologies and epistemologies. Papers, sessions and symposia which address these broad issues from the perspective of History, Creative Literature, Visual Arts, Performative Media, Anthropology, Comparative cultural studies, Archaeology, Philosophy or any other Humanities fields, are welcome.
The World Humanities’ Conference is being largely prepared with a bottom-up methodology, and has a major and ambitious challenge: to change the tide and resume centrality for the Humanities. This will mainly depend on the engagement of scholars across the world. There are countless relevant research and applied projects and networks in the domains of the Humanities, but there is little coordination and awareness about them.
There is a growing feeling of the need to change methods, approaches and concerns, but this is the moment to focus and integrate them within a diversity framework. Please do bring your research, concerns, doubts and proposals for this major forum that will start reversing the course of Humanities periphery current status.
Structure and deadlines
The world Conference will accept proposals of sessions, symposia and of papers for sessions.
The sessions are organized under the sub-topics of six sections, as in the attached list; it is possible to propose sessions within the sections, until November 1st, 2016.
The symposia are organized by a professional association or a specific group, and should address a specific theme not covered by the sessions. Symposia proposals must include a minimum of six papers by different participants, and may be proposed until January 31st, 2017.
The papers are submitted for any of the sessions listed in the attachment and the conference website, and may be submitted until March 30th, 2017.
Please complete one or more of the proposals forms, attached.

Send the  proposals to and


Session 1. Environmental Anthropology, Interpretation and Creativity
Session 2. History of the Natural Environment and Climate
Session 3. Humans and the Environment: Adaptations and Modifications
Session 4. Humans and the Environment in the Industrial Era

Session 5. The Humanities in Environmental Management
Session 6. Environment, Societies and Values

Session 1. Interdisciplinary Approach to Cultural Identity and its Components
Session 2. Cultural Identity and Diversity in Dynamic Perspective
Session 3. Internal Analysis of Interculturalism
Session 4. Dynamic Analysis of Interculturalism
Session 5. Roads of Dialogue, Paths of Knowledge and Cultural Routes

Session 1. Conceptual Analysis
Session 2. Borderscape: Borders as Organization of Space: Tracing and Marking
Session 3. Migration in its Dynamics
Session 4. Migration, Culture and Values


Session 1. Regarding the Notion of Heritage
Session 2. Threats to Tangible Heritage
Session 3. Threats to Intangible Heritage
Session 4. New Patrimonialisations
Session 5. Heritage Reclaimed


Session 1. Epistemological Perspectives
Session 2. The Work of the Historian in its Political Context
Session 3. Commemorations, Celebrations and Remembrance
Session 4. From Eurocentric History to Multipolar History
Session 5. Collective Memory and the Consequences of War


Session 1. Surveys on the Evolution of the Humanities
Session 2. Digital Worlds
Session 3. The New Research Landscape
Session 4. Old Texts, New Approaches
Session 5. Publication and Assessment
Session 6. The Humanities, Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Social Sciences
Session 7. Humanities, Education and Culture
Session 8. Gender studies
Concluding Session: Rebuilding the Humanities, Rebuilding Humanism 



Download the final programme: updated on August 8, 2017




The Final Programme of 2017 WHC (August 8 2017)

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World Humanities Conference: Programme (August 4 2017)

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Programme of the World Humanities Conference (July 21 2017)

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Preliminary Programme of 2017 World Humanities Conference (June 21 2016)

A first outline of the programme is now available. Further proposals of themes, sessions and symposia are welcome, and should be sent to and Download PDF......

Partnership in WCH 2017