Start main page content

Humanities: An utter responsibility to the world

- Wits University

"The world is presumed to be about power, and the humanities is about talking the truth power," says Professor Dilip Menon.

Menon was talking at the third Faculty of Humanities graduation ceremony today. He told graduands that the humanities is about being responsible to society.

"When we do the humanities, we think of ourselves fundamentally as human beings in the world, acting upon the world, recreating the world, reimagining the world and transforming the world and we speak to each other about an utter responsibility that we have. We think about the humanities as being an  utter responsibility to the world, to each other as it should be, to our communities," says Menon.

Professor Dilip Menon, is a historian and Director of the Centre for Indian Studies in Africa at Wits University, was educated at the universities of Delhi, Oxford and Cambridge.

He taught in India, the United Kingdom and the United States before making Wits and South Africa his home.

Professor Menon has published extensively on issues of socialism and equality, histories of the Indian Ocean and increasingly, epistemologies from the Global South. His work argues for taking seriously intellectual traditions and knowledge production from Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.

He insists that our universities cannot become mere factories for reproducing knowledge produced elsewhere, and that they must become the sites of a new knowledge for a new generation.