Many in higher education fear that the humanities are facing a crisis. But even if the rhetoric about “crisis” is overblown, humanities departments do face increasing pressure from administrators, politicians, parents, and students. In A New Deal for the Humanities, Gordon Hutner and Feisal G. Mohamed bring together twelve prominent scholars who address the history, the present state, and the future direction of the humanities. These scholars keep the focus on public higher education, for it is in our state schools that the liberal arts are taught to the greatest numbers and where their neglect would be most damaging for the nation. The contributors offer spirited and thought-provoking debates on a diverse range of topics. For instance, they deplore the push by administrations to narrow learning into quantifiable outcomes as well as the demands of state governments for more practical, usable training. Indeed, for those who suggest that a college education should be “practical”that it should lean toward the sciences and engineering, where the high-paying jobs arethis book points out that while a few nations produce as many technicians as the United States does, America is still renowned worldwide for its innovation and creativity, skills taught most effectively in the humanities. Most importantly, the essays in this collection examine ways to make the humanities even more effective, such as offering a broader array of options than the traditional major/minor scheme, options that combine a student’s professional and intellectual interests, like the new medical humanities programs. A democracy can only be as energetic as the minds of its citizens, and the questions fundamental to the humanities are also fundamental to a thoughtful life. A New Deal for the Humanities takes an intrepid step in making the humanitiesand our citizenseven stronger in the future.
About the Author
GORDON HUTNER is a professor of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the author of several books, including What America Read: Taste, Class, and the Novel, 1920-1960. FEISAL G. MOHAMED is a professor of English at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York. A past president of the Milton Society of America, his latest book is Milton and the Post-Secular Present: Ethics, Politics, Terrorism.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments Introduction Gordon Hutner and Feisal G. Mohamed 1. From the Land-Grant Tradition to the Current Crisis in the Humanities Roger L. Geiger 2. Old Wine in New Bottles, or New Wine in Old Bottles? The Humanities and Liberal Education in Today’s Universities Sheldon Rothblatt 3. We Are All Nontraditional Learners Now: Community Colleges, Long-Life Learning, and Problem-Solving Humanities Kathleen Woodward 4. Humanities and Inclusion: A Twenty-First-Century Land-Grant University Tradition Yolanda T. Moses 5. Sticking Up for Liberal Arts and Humanities Education: Governance, Leadership, and Fiscal Crisis Daniel Lee Kleinman 6. Speaking the Languages of the Humanities Charlotte Melin 7. Graduate Training for a Digital and Public Humanities Bethany Nowviskie 8. Can the Humanities Save Medicine, and Vice Versa? John McGowan 9. The Need for Critical University Studies Jeffrey J. Williams 10. What Are the Humanities For? Rebuilding the Public University Christopher Newfield Afterword Gordon Hutner and Feisal G. Mohamed Notes on Contributors Index