Within the academy, colleges and universities make cuts in order to focus on programs with more enrollment appeal and apparent practical relevance. At the same time, the humanities also receive wider public critique, and conservatives and liberals alike, differing in their perceptions of the humanities’ role, stand to share an imputation of shortcoming, even failure.
On November 10-12, Phi Beta Kappa and the American Conference of Academic Deans hosted their fourth biennial conference, where college and university deans and academics in the humanities disciplines met to enquire, “Are the Humanities Now a Luxury?”
Phi Beta Kappa invites its members and supporters to join the conversation about the value of humanities in higher education and in American life. Post your comments below or connect with ΦBK on Linkedin, Facebook, or Twitter to share your thoughts with us on these important issues.
LYNN PASQUERELLA, Phi Beta Kappa Senator and Mount Holyoke College President, spoke at the opening plenary session of the Conference. Her talk, “The Ketchup’s in the Bag & the Check is in the Mail: The Humanities, Economic Opportunity & Social Justice,” framed the issue of whether the humanities are now a luxury within the broader context of matters of social justice.
RONALD A. CRUTCHER, President of Wheaton College, spoke at the second plenary session of the Conference. His talk was entitled “Fluency Across Boundaries: A Compelling Case for the Humanities in the 21st Century.”
MARK BAUERLEIN, Emory University Professor of English, spoke at the closing plenary session of the Conference. His talk was entitled “English Professors and Everyone Else,” which outlined the terrible costs of the research productivity model in literary studies, a model which dominates more than 700 departments of language and literature in the United States.
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