Friday, April 11, 2008

Can the humanities be saved?

Lydia McGrew at What's Wrong with the World?--a title which implies a certain Chestertonian aspect, which is always good--has a great post on saving the humanities. She asks whether there is any hope for them in a time when, outside of older professors who still cling to the permanent truths, the humanities professor with a traditional outlook is an endangered species.

1 comment:

motheral said...

You can't just hire sensible people to teach English whose degrees are all in other fields and who know their stuff from normal reading without having had their heads stuffed with baloney.

Why not? If someone can prove he's sensible and well-read in the relevant literature, what's to stop a college from hiring him and letting him try for a tenure spot? Also, why not hire professors from other countries?

Here I've focused on English, but a similar question might be asked about History, a field where I know little about just how bad things have gotten but have an inkling that it might be pretty bad.

So she has an "inkling" about the state of history teaching, but hasn't yet done ANY actual research to see how bad history teaching really is? That doesn't exactly speak well for her reliability as a source, does it?

Like most of the people who try to make a career out of wailing about how horrible our higher education really is, this author is overgeneralizing about a whole country full of colleges. Does she really believe things are equally bad in the Ivy League, the Deep South's state schools, the military academies, religious colleges like Catholic U., BYU, Bob Jones U., etc. etc.? She certainly hasn't provided any actual data to back up her unquestioned conventional wisdom. Hell, she doesn't even provide anecdotes!