From The Common Review, a profile of Jonathan Gottschall, a professor who believes criticism needs science's exactitude, its collaborative style, and its willingness to let ideas fail. There is no such thing as sexual intercourse: Pascal Boyer on how many academic radicals are sheep in wolf's clothing. Why do they hate us? Professors, particularly in the humanities and social sciences, feel that they're under siege.
"Why Humanities?": An upcoming conference gathers some of the leading voices in the humanities to discuss the value of their field. The turning away from the humanities reflects a deeper problem of a loss of confidence in the “values” conveyed by a traditional humanistic education, the decline of the traditional “high” arts, and their detachment from everyday life. More on Martha Nussbaum's Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities. Dan Edelstein wonders if elite colleges, are unintentionally diverting students from the humanities. Avoiding the coming higher ed wars: Myths about how research is funded and why the humanities are impoverished need to be overturned if public higher education is to thrive again in the United States. From The Common Review, what is the crisis in the humanities? Daniel Born wants to know. The crisis of the humanities officially arrives: A recent decision at a state university shows just how imperiled the humanities are. Can the humanities survive the 21st century, and if so, will it be at universities? Tom McBride on the day he almost saved the humanities. David Pickus (ASU): Walter Kaufmann and the Future of the Humanities.
Trail blazers in the world of academia: Look is the sky! Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's a Doctor of Humanities! What are you going to do with that? This question is the one that is classically aimed at humanities majors — what practical value could there possibly be in studying literature or art or philosophy? Is a philosophy degree better than an MBA? Humanities majors aren't destined to flip burgers — in fact, some of the liberal arts are surprisingly useful in business.
The crisis in liberal arts education: Questions about the direction and pertinence of a liberal arts education mirror questions being asked about the classical university as a whole. The Unbearable Lightness of Declaring a Liberal Arts Major: Faced with a deadline to choose her major, Angela Chen hunts down interview subjects to learn where their studies got them, no matter her mother’s loathing of the liberal arts. Heather Mallick on why an arts degree is the most practical education you can get. The Good Letters: Mark Anthony Signorelli on the decline of literary education and its consequences. Robert Pippin writes in defense of naive reading: Have critical theory and the encroachment of the sciences on literature gone too far?
From The Scriptorium, Allen Yeh on two approaches to the Great Books: chronological vs. thematic. Columbia beats Harvard: James Piereson on rival core curricula in the Ivy League. From schoolhouse to statehouse: Rachel Tabachnick on the curriculum from a Christian nationalist worldview.
From the UK's Prospect, in praise of dead white men: Efforts to make education more "relevant" to black people can be both patronising and harmful — the Western literary canon should be taught to everyone. It is the degree of choice for the Westminster elite, claiming six cabinet members and three Labour leadership contenders among its alumni — why does Oxford's politics, philosophy and economics course dominate public life? A course load for the game of life: To better understand the post-college world, students need foundations in economics, statistics, finance and psychology. Are the social sciences becoming global? Yes, but with some caveats.
From Graduate Journal of Social Science, a special issue on Inter/Trans/Post-Disciplinarity: Explorations of Encounters Across Disciplines. From Cosmos and History, a special issue on Transcending the Disciplinary Boundaries.
Materialism has had its day: To understand the ideas that drive human activity, including economics, we need a new field that combines the arts and sciences. The evolution of ecology: The discipline began from natural history and has grown to encompass physics and engineering — now it needs to meet the social sciences and the humanities. Can physics save social sciences? A review of Making Social Sciences More Scientific: The Need for Predictive Models by Rein Taagepera. Seeking to move "beyond near-term funding cycles," leaders of the National Science Foundation plan to create a strategy to support the social sciences over the next decade. A review of Science, Policy, and the Value-Free Ideal by Heather Douglas. Living the fact-value distinction: Can a good social scientist be a good Catholic, too?