Posts Tagged: humanities
Though every time I hear it, I can’t help but cringe a little. It reeks of insularity. Have you read what’s coming out of the Arab world right now? I thought when I heard that question again this year. That’s mostly what’s on my mind these days.
Dig the grave and let me lie
Glad did I live and gladly die
Humanities profiles Treasure Island author Robert Louis Stevenson and looks at how his constant struggle with illness influenced his writing....more
Even though liberal arts degrees are actually good for business, Matt Burriesci (author of Dead White Guys: A Father, His Daughter, and the Great Books of the Western World) believes that supporters of the humanities should lay that argument to rest:
A liberal arts education … may not teach you how to change your oil or program a website, but it prepares you to learn any skill, and most importantly, to question how any task is performed, challenge conventional wisdom, and introduce new processes.
Sensational headlines declaiming the death of the humanities often misunderstand what the humanities actually are. Paul A. Kottman explains that the practice of analyzing texts doesn’t just teach us how to think; it creates new ways of thinking:
Whatever we learn by reflecting on literary texts in our teaching is the direct outcome of those very same activities.
In a culture where everything is assigned a market value, imagination isn’t in high demand. Over at The Millions, Chloe Benjamin wonders why some of imagination’s most vivid manifestations—dreams and fiction—fall so low on our priority list:
But in the absence of conclusive evidence, sleep’s utility—like that of fiction—is still in doubt.
Raphael Allison, at Guernica, fuses together his experience at this year’s MLA conference in Chicago with the subculture of the modernists in order to discuss the “crisis in the humanities”:
Mods and literary academics are caught between the allure of wildness, ingenuity, and nonconformity and the desire for some sort of stability, recognition, and achievement.
Fearing the depreciating value of the humanities fields drives away talent and financial resources, concludes Benjamin Winterhalter, writing for the Atlantic. Humanities subjects include research areas often difficult to assess through quantitative methods, but, despite policymakers’ interest in statistical data, many problems facing society are more complex than simple numbers:
There is little sense in denying that there is a crisis afoot in the humanities.
As science and technology dominate our lives more and more each day, those of us in the humanities find ourselves increasingly on the defensive.
One way to demonstrate the humanities’ relevance is with neuroscience. Brain scans not only show us concrete evidence of the ways novels affect our thoughts and emotions, but also give us exciting new insights into how we process literature....more
An article in the Atlantic discusses the Washington Post’s graph that charts undergraduate degrees and their expected income levels.
The Post’s graph seems pretty deterministic (or maybe it just reflects how trendy it is to plot income level against groups of people), implying that all humanities majors get ready for frugal lifestyles in education and social work....more
“(W)e must think of graduate school as more like choosing to go to New York to become a painter or deciding to travel to Hollywood to become an actor. Those arts-based careers have always married hope and desperation into a tense relationship....more