Square One: First Order Questions in the Humanities

Paul A. Kottman, series editor
Emily-Jane Cohen, SUP editor

Square One steps back to reclaim the authority of humanistic inquiry for a broad, educated readership by tackling questions of common concern, regardless of discipline. What do we value and why? What should be believed? What ought to be done? How can we account for human ways of living, or shed light on their failures and breakdowns? Why should we care about particular artworks or practices?

Pushing beyond the trends that have come to characterize much academic writing in the humanities—increasingly narrow specialization, on the one hand, and interdisciplinary “crossings” on the other—Square One cuts across and through fields, to show the overarching relevance and distinctiveness of the humanities as the study of human meaning and value. Series books are therefore meant to be accessible and compelling. Rather than address only a particular academic group of experts, books in the Square One focus on what texts, artworks, performances, cultural practices and products mean, as well as how they mean, and how that meaning is to be evaluated.