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ERIC Number: EJ838430
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Mar-20
Pages: 1
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
The Humanities' Value
Harpham, Geoffrey Galt
Chronicle of Higher Education, v55 n28 pB6 Mar 2009
Why should society support the humanities when so many people are suffering from the effects of the economic crisis? What claim do the humanities, or scholarship generally, have on increasingly limited resources? Shouldn't such pursuits be considered luxuries at a time when people should be focusing on essentials? The alleviation of human suffering, the restoration of opportunity, and the resurrection of confidence must be people's top priorities. But the present crisis must not be the horizon of their thinking; their most immediate concerns cannot be their only concerns. While they are struggling through the morass of the present, they must retain both their memory, which sustains them, and their imagination, which must light the way forward. Memory and imagination place people in the general domain of the humanities. And that leads to the author's main argument: The humanities are, if not the top priority right now, at least one of the areas that must be recognized as crucial, and supported accordingly. The present crisis does not eclipse the humanities but rather reveals the need for the skills, dispositions, and resources that the humanities, and only the humanities, cultivate. The humanities deserve no less than Citigroup, AIG, or General Motors--in fact, the humanities do not need a huge bailout, only predictable support--but that the humanities elicit and exercise ways of thinking that help them navigate the world they live in.
Chronicle of Higher Education. 1255 23rd Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 800-728-2803; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A