It seems that colleges everywhere are getting together to speak up for the humanities. A couple of weeks ago, in London and Oxford, an activist humanities conference gathered Oxford, Soas, Delhi, Nanjing and Virginia. Just hours before, in the US, George Washington University huddled with Turkey’s Bogazici and Morocco’s Al Alkhawayn to begin a worldwide humanities initiative. Next month, at Going Global, the biggest yearly worldwide higher education gathering run by the British Council in Miami, ways to mobilize the humanities, will be one of the main subjects of discussion. And the conversation won’t stop at the higher education surfaces. It will need to pay attention to how to move on from the groundhog times of such workshops and to free this discussion from the academia cycle and into that challenging “real world” which the humanities claim to be able to impact and enhance.
So what’s up with our cloistered researchers and philosophers, our fictional experts, classicists and students of the fine, performing and otherwise liberal arts? Clearly there’s some gathering worldwide anxiety within the academia and it’s mainly around the problems of getting wider public identification for the two beliefs about humanities that are encouraging these discussions. The first conviction is that humanities graduates are very employable and are qualified with exclusive abilities which bring serious benefits to the world of work. Last week saw phone calls in the UK to decrease the expenses for learners of technological innovation and mathematics in order to generate a bigger pool of certified graduates, particularly to educate these crucial subjects in educational institutions.
At the same time in the US, we can see the obverse of that harmless purpose. Political figures in Texas are suggesting that liberal arts learners should anticipate paying full charges and more, with no suspicion of subsidy. Their conversation is that such research is self-indulgence and of no forward value to community, so there’s no reason why such niceties as art appreciation, the history of Russia or the theologies of Hinduism should be openly reinforced. Instead, resources should be completely devoted to STEM subjects (science, technological innovation, engineering and mathematics) and business studies.