Friday, October 15, 2010

The End of the Humanities?

My favorite French Literature professor once told our Literary Theory class that the humanities were going to die out as a field of study. One of the theorists that we read, who it was I sadly cannot remember, said that the world is placing value on efficiency and production. The humanities do not fit into this schema, and will therefore be eliminated. I did not realize that it was coming so soon.

Stanley Fish's New York Times article appeared a few days ago and demonstrated that the end of the humanities is being realized. SUNY Albany, according to Fish, is abolishing the following departments: classics, French, Italian, Russian, and theater. I could not believe it. I was stunned that a school would rid itself of these departments. I understand the lack of direct production of technology that comes out of these departments, but I somehow cannot imagine even those for whom this is the only value, eliminating the distinct ways that people think because some of the non-traditional thinking is what leads to the greatest innovation.

On the other hand, these are probably the same people who would scrap the idea of a particle collider because of its lack of practical application.

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