Friday, November 6, 2015

More Humanities

Paul Sturtevant, a research associate in the Office of Policy and Analysis at the Smithsonian Institution and a Ph.D in Medieval Studies, says that the humanities "must unite or die."

Here is a taste of his piece at Inside Higher Ed:

We in non-STEM fields have been slow to assert ourselves. Not enough of us have argued aggressively for the utility of our discipline, and those who have, such as the History Relevance Campaign and the Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences (who drafted the excellent “The Heart of the Matter” report), have been fighting largely alone rather than as part of a coordinated, organized movement.
If we are to save our disciplines from irrelevance -- from the realm of the dilettante or hobbyist -- the answer is not to show our complementary utility to STEM fields (as advocates of “STEAM” have). Instead, we must rethink the common threads that our disciplines have to offer and how we present ourselves and our subjects. We should take a page from the STEM advocates’ playbook and argue the case for our disciplines vigorously, both in the public arena and to policy makers at the local, state and national levels.
There is not a whole lot that is new in Sturtevant's article, nor does he lay out any specific ways in which humanities practioners might "unite," but his call is a welcome one.  
Read the entire piece here.