The Decline and Fall of the Humanities Major
The Greeks did not bother themselves with debating the worth of studying their myriad fields of inquiry. The enrichment of the mind, and clear societal benefits such enrichment fostered, was sufficient justification alone. Apparently, such is not the thinking during an economic crisis in modern times.
Dovetailing closely with Stanley Fish's red flag in the Times last month on perils facing the humanities, the Books section warns readers today that a liberal education may soon fall prey to the economic crisis. Professional opportunities are evaporating across the board. The MLA noted a 21 percent decline in English, literature and foreign language jobs in 2008, and prospects outside academia are equally grim.
Universities, especially ones without bottomless endowments, are increasingly asking humanities departments to justify their "practical and economic value." In short, institutions must prove to society a much stronger link between their schools of arts and sciences (arts especially) and the benefit they can deliver to the American people.
An Association of American Colleges and Universities conference at Clark University in March will address precisely this challenge. Still, detractors say making such links is a needless exercise. Former Harvard President Derek Bok noted, "there’s a lot more to a liberal education than improving the economy. I think that is one of the worst mistakes that policy makers often make..."
So big thinkers, how can we address the real challenges facing the humanities? How do we emphasize the "practical and economic value" of a foreign language degree in a nation that is largely monolingual—or where many of the most lucrative professional opportunities in foreign languages are leveraged by the military where many humanists do not quite fit in? And how do we convince universities, the final guardians of humanities at the institutional level to produce, and pay for, more humanists?
A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration likely violated the reporter's Fifth Amendment rights when it stripped his press credentials earlier this month.
- Acosta will be allowed to return to the White House on Friday.
- The judge described the ruling as narrow, and didn't rule one way or the other on violations of the First Amendment.
- The case is still open, and the administration may choose to appeal the ruling.
Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.
- America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
- Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
- Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
The definition of a kilogram will now be fixed to Planck's constant, a fundamental part of quantum physics.
- The new definition of a kilogram is based on a physical constant in quantum physics.
- Unlike the current definition of a kilogram, this measurement will never change.
- Scientists also voted to update the definitions of several other measurements in physics.
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