The humanities are one of the most dynamic and diverse fields in the Estonian academic landscape. The development of this field has been remarkably rapid in recent years, and it has gained increasing international recognition. However, Estonian humanists have so far lacked a platform for collective discussion and critical self-examination. Nevertheless, Estonian-language discussions in the humanities are very important, both for the academic community itself and for Estonian society as a whole, as humanities are fundamentally feedback-oriented research, with one of its missions being to ensure cultural self-understanding.
With the aim of invigorating discussions in the humanities and fostering collegial interaction, we have initiated a new regular academic forum called the Estonian Annual Conference of Humanities. This initiative involves five universities and four research and development institutions: the Estonian Academy of Arts, the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, Tallinn University, Tallinn University of Technology, the University of Tartu, the Institute of the Estonian Language, the Estonian Literary Museum, the Estonian National Museum, and the Under and Tuglas Literature Centre of the Estonian Academy of Sciences. The conference is intended to be held every other year, alternating between Tallinn and Tartu.
The inaugural Estonian Annual Conference of Humanities will take place at Tallinn University on 10–12 April 2024. Its theme is “Future Humanities: How the Humanities Shape Society in an Era of Transformative Changes.” The theme has been deliberately chosen to be ambiguous, allowing for discussions on one hand about new directions in the humanities, fresh intellectual output, and future possibilities. On the other hand, it aims to provide a more specific exploration of the role of future imaginaries in culture and society.
Furthermore, the conference title underscores the organizers’ belief that the humanities are one of the most important fields for envisioning and shaping the future of human society, particularly in the context of significant changes in the natural environment and technology. These changes increasingly challenge the conventional human-centred worldview, prompting a critical re-evaluation of the role of the humanities as a discipline focused on understanding and shaping human society.
The official working language of the conference is Estonian.