Reclaiming the Value of the Humanities


Maybe we can blame it all on Sputnik. Sixty years ago, next year, the Russians panicked the Americans via satellite… literally. Suddenly, research had to be sped up in new ways, and consolidated. Suddenly, the centers of the scholarly world were physicists and others whose thought could have practical application for military operations—in particular.

Don’t like Sputnik as the starting point? OK, use the Manhattan Project or something else. Any way you look at it, though, or anywhere you start it, we’ve increasingly given intellectual primacy to scientists or, today, to those in so-called STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields. Everything else is insignificant. At least, there’s no money in it (or doesn’t seem to be). Intellectually speaking, no longer do we have the two cultures C. P. Snow described, but a single scientifically oriented one and a bunch of wannabes.

This is destroying our teaching, our education.


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