17 mar. 2010

Here's the prevalent view of the humanities:

(1) Everything is the humanities, right? We are human, so nothing is off-limits.

(2) No intellectual rigor. Humanities should be accessible to anybody, since we are all human.

(3) If it isn't science, it's humanities. So invite some creationists in for a debate.

(4) Make the humanities into social science, make them serve socio-political ends.

So the humanities are hopelessly vague, cannot defend themselves except in the most vague terms. What is means to be human, what it means to be American. It's all "significance" to some larger cause which turns out to be ... "the human condition." The right wants to do this to the humanities, the left wants to do this to the humanities, and the liberal center of the humanities wants to do this to the humanities.

2 comentarios:

Matt dijo...

how refreshing that we can all agree on something!

Andrew Shields dijo...

Point 2 from a different angle: when scientists write for each other, nobody complains about the jargon they use. But when humanities scholars right for each other using the technical terminology of their fields, then they get nothing but complaints from anyone outside the field.