“If, because of cutbacks and lack of support from the federal government, literature and the arts and other aspects of the humanities become just parlor musings of the wealthy, we would have made a huge mistake,’’ Dartmouth’s president, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, said in an interview. “Literature and the arts should not only be for kids who go to cotillion balls to make polite conversation at parties.’’
The Boston Globe via boston.com reported on a new push on behalf of humanities courses in colleges and universities. Someone is noticing that courses in literature, history, philosophy, and languages make better people and better citizens of us. In 2007, only eight percent of undergraduates nationwide majored in the humanities. Read the article by Tracy Jan, and get the Globe is you appreciate the journalism. As of Monday morning, this is the top item in the Most-Emailed list on boston.com
In these difficult economic times, the argument for the humanities can sound, to some, impractical and elitist. Without the humanities, though, college presidents say they worry that students won’t develop the kind of critical thinking, imagination, and empathy necessary to solve the most pressing problems facing future generations.
In addition to bringing faculty together, said Ramie Targoff, an English professor and director of the Mandel Center for the Humanities, the center will send faculty out to integrate the humanities into other schools within the university — by teaching ethics at the school of social policy and management, or Shakespeare at the business school.