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Maghiel van Crevel elected KNAW member

Maghiel van Crevel has been elected member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). The professor of Chinese Language and Literature will be installed on Monday 12 September 2022.

KNAW describes itself as a learned society of outstanding Dutch scientists and scholars. Each year new members are elected, of whom Van Crevel is one this year. He is happy with his appointment. ‘This is very happy news. A wonderful thing about science is how it allows you to partake in all kinds of communities, formal and informal alike. This happens when you teach, when you meet researchers who share your obsessions, when you do fieldwork, when you apply your knowledge outside the university, and so on. The KNAW is one such community, and one that holds a special responsibility.


Crevel: ‘I’d like to see if I can contribute to rehumanizing science. This is something I try to do at every opportunity, so I’ll try it in the KNAW context as elsewhere. If you think about corporatization, publish or perish, misguided readings of “usefulness” and “relevance”, the exploitation of academic staff, the bulletpointization of teaching, and the unequal division of knowledge – then you could say that science is becoming ever more industrial and hence dehumanized. And so we need to turn the tide.

Science is a fundamentally human endeavor. By this I mean curiosity, wonderment, the urge to explain things. The desire to render the world comprehensible but also to make it a better place – whether you study the corona virus, labor migration and gender, or a philosophical notion of two thousand years old from two continents over. And that search for comprehension and betterment is something you undertake as a human being. As a member of society, as an individual that enters into a conversation with others. That will only work if human beings, in all their manifestations, truly get the space to do this. Granted, this is a high-minded ideal. But why shouldn’t we pursue it? Or, conversely: can we afford not to?

The KNAW has elected 22 new members, including two from abroad. They join the 600 existing members.

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