Square One: First Order Questions in the Humanities

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

This series reclaims the authority of humanistic inquiry for a broad, educated readership by tackling questions of common concern, such as: ‘What do we value and why?’ ‘To what kind of life can we aspire, given the contours of modern society?’ ‘What is it to lead a free life?’ ‘What is the place of the imagination in our society?’ ‘Why do, or why should, we still care about particular artworks?’ Square One shows how questions like these are reflected in our philosophy, art, literature, politics, and ethics.

Pushing beyond the twin trends that have come to characterize much academic writing in the humanities—increasing specialization, on the one hand, and interdisciplinary ‘crossings’ on the other—Square One cuts across and through fields in order to show the relevance and importance of humanistic inquiry for an intellectual readership. Series books are therefore meant to be accessible and compelling to educated non-specialists as well as academic experts. Rather than address only a particular academic group of experts, or simply open new, interdisciplinary terrain from within traditional fields, they focus on a first-order question in topics with clear relevance to traditional domains of humanistic inquiry.