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Now Available Open Access: Mikhail Epstein’s “Transformative Humanities”


“In an age in which a tsunami of sheer data threatens to overwhelm our capacity to make sense of it, Epstein’s revolutionary project demonstrates how wisdom can triumph over brute information.”

These are the words that the late Michael Holquist, renowned scholar of comparative literature, used to describe Mikhail Epstein’s The Transformative Humanities: A Manifesto. First published in 2012, this ambitious and forward-looking work makes the case for a “futuristic humanities,” where creative thinking is programmatically fostered and the conception of new disciplines, methods and genres is unhindered by the disciplinary boundaries of the present. If the academic humanities focus only on what already exists, Epstein argues, “scholarship descends into scholasticism” and cedes ground to fields which promise to contribute more actively to shaping our world.

In a moment defined by rapid leaps forward in artificial intelligence and a snowballing focus on STEM fields, The Transformative Humanities lays out a pathway for the humanities to respond to these challenges. Epstein offers a transdisciplinary strategy complementary to STEM under the acronym PILLAR (Philosophy, Intellectual history, Language, Literature, Art, and Religion), aimed at integrating major humanistic disciplines into a cohesive curriculum.

We are proud to announce that this book is now available open access for the first time, thanks to a grant from our program. The re-release of this work in an open access format marks our first foray into retrospective open access and will allow a new generation of readers to engage with its provocative vision. The author is very enthusiastic about the “second birth” of his work, remarking: “A book is a door to the world, but open access is the key that unlocks it for all.” 

We are also excited to announce that, building upon our experience of opening up this work, we have started offering limited funding to support retrospective open access. Emory College authors of scholarly monographs published within the past three years may now apply for a grant to reissue their book in an open access format. Applications will be assessed on the ongoing relevance of the work to researchers, students, or other readers. The consent of the publisher is required.

Congratulations to Mikhail on this exciting new chapter for The Transformative Humanities!

explore the open access edition  
learn more about our funding for open access