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ERIC Number: EJ984416
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Mar
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0895-4852
Balch, Stephen H.
Academic Questions, v25 n1 p46-53 Mar 2012
One thing history's torrent appears to be sweeping away is, ironically, the study of its most productive wellspring, Western civilization. "The Vanishing West", a report the National Association of Scholars released in May 2011, documents the extent of this vanishing. The traditional Western civilization survey requirement, commonplace only decades ago, has become a rarity for students in general and for history majors in particular, and most so at those institutions where America's opinion leadership is shaped. It is also steadily losing ground in high schools. Even if one decries Western civilization and wants to change it, there's no denying the enormous effect it has had on the human prospect. Nothing would be more foolish than to take it for granted. Other civilizations, Confucian, Islamic, and Hindu, have no trouble understanding themselves as historic entities, objects of pride, even of reverence. As such they serve as moral rallying points of great consequence. Unless American students also realize that Western civilization constitutes a distinct legacy within the overall human heritage, with immense attainments, they are unlikely to feel a similar sense of attachment or be ready to rise to its defense. A civilization unrecognized, or insufficiently recognized by its putative heirs, is a civilization at existential risk. Given its profound impact and overall beneficence, it would be a colossal tragedy if America's educators left Western civilization so exposed. Humanity has profound decisions to make, some to be taken collectively, others individually. They'll be better made to the extent educators give the coming generation an understanding of what brought them to their metamorphic moment. (Contains 3 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A