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ERIC Number: EJ1085518
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Dec
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0013-2004
Waist-High and Knee-Deep: Humane Learning beyond Polemics and Precincts
Higgins, Chris
Educational Theory, v65 n6 p699-717 Dec 2015
In this essay, Chris Higgins sets out to disentangle the tradition of humane learning from contemporary distinctions and debates. The first section demonstrates how a bloated and incoherent "humanism" now functions primarily as a talisman or a target, that is, as a prompt to choose sides. It closes with the image of Doris Salcedo's "Shibboleth", suggesting that humanism is more like the uncertain footing of Salcedo's fissure than the footholds on either side. The second section suggests that this "alien humanism" is hiding in plain sight, requiring us only to read an inch beyond the poster-ready copy fueling the polemics. Even a cursory glance at the texts from which these epitomes are drawn--from Terence's "Nothing human is foreign to me," through Shakespeare's "What a piece of work is a man," to Arnold's "The best of what has been thought and said"--is enough to reconnect us with a tradition stranger and more dynamic than that portrayed by boosters and knockers alike. The third section explores the tensions between the research university and the tradition of humane letters it has come to house, arguing that it will not do to escape this rancor by hiding behind the functionalist, and ultimately circular, term "humanist," defined as one who does research in the humanities. The final section shows that if this older tradition pulls away, to some extent, from the modern humanities, it simultaneously embraces scientific and professional fields, as demonstrated by the long tradition of the physician-humanist.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A