ERIC Number: ED309126
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1989
Reference Count: N/A
Speaking for the Humanities. ACLS Occasional Paper, No. 7.
Levine, George; And Others
This report arose from discussions among directors of interdisciplinary humanities centers who recognize disparity between what they believe is the popular view of the humanities and their perception of the significant work that their centers sponsor. The question of specialization in the humanities requires attention since it is so often criticized as evidence of a loss of concern with the larger cultural issues and of reduced attention to the needs of the undergraduate learner. But to identify specialization of research as the problem is to misunderstand the situation. First, research must be specialized. Second, to be specialized does not necessarily mean to be trivial. And third, forces within the humanities, such as interdisciplinary humanities centers, already work against narrow specialization. It is imperative that critics of the humanities' failure to construct a core curriculum recognize that every inclusion constitutes a choice, an exclusion, and that those choices reflect local, institutional, and contemporaneous idealogical viewpoints. The number of majors at any given time does not tell a great deal about the internal intellectual and moral state of the humanities. It is likely, however, that humanities enrollments will be stronger in times of prosperity because humanities majors tend not to be seen as pathways to lucrative employment. Of all the recent developments in the humanities, the one that answers negative criticism most directly and most fully expresses the range and importance of the humanities is the proliferation of interdisciplinary humanities centers. (PPB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: American Council of Learned Societies, New York, NY.