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date: 17 May 2022

Abstract and Keywords

The story of humanism in the modern age is not a simple, linear narrative that begins in classical antiquity and continues to the contemporary moment. Rather, humanism represents a complex contestation of ideas and ideologies born out of the intercourse of the contact of cultures that mark the modern European encounter with the world. Humanism in the modern world is thus critically understood in the reflexive contact between peoples, cultures, and ideas and the processes of making sense of being human in the world. The contests and conquests for power, legitimacy, and authority shape and inform the discourse of humanism in ways that often elide this dense and diverse experience. Aimé Césaire, Frantz Fanon, and Edward Said provide critical resources to interrogate the discourse of humanism and the emergence of the human that comes to dominate the narrative and render humanism as an unique idea and event of European modernity.

Keywords: colonialism, civilization, criticism, human, humanism, modernity, orientalism, rationality, secular

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