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ERIC Number: ED227481
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Nov
Pages: 12
Abstractor: N/A
The Shattered Humanities.
Bennett, William J.
Intellectual refinement and spiritual evaluation have been the traditional goals of the humanities and should remain so. If these aims are given up, then the noble endeavors in the humanities such as sustained reflection, intensive research, careful scholarship, inspired teaching, deep learning, and serious discussion will all become discredited and eventually disappear. The reason the term "humanities" seems meaningless is because the activities undertaken in its name no longer stand for a unified set of principles or a coherent body of knowledge. In the past the aim of humanities education was the cultivation of free men and women--freed from ignorance and callousness. Today, many people interpret cultivation or the aim of cultivation as an imposition of arbitrary standards, an obstacle to personal expression, or even a limitation on student freedom. In place of cultivation, "awareness" is advocated. Humanities education is no longer an introduction to or an immersion in the best thought and knowledge. It is, instead, a collection of disconnected and often eccentric areas of inquiry. It is, therefore, not surprising that the humanities have so much trouble evoking the enthusiasm of scholars and teachers, capturing the allegiance of students, and gaining the financial support of public and private institutions. It is the responsibility of every generation of scholars and teachers not only to maintain the tradition of the humanities, but to extend and refine this tradition through new ideas and works and to see that the humanities are studied in a coherent and serious way. (HOD)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Council of Teachers of English (72nd, Washington, DC, November 19-24, 1982).