The Future of the Humanities

George Leef

In this week’s Pope Center Clarion Call, Jane Shaw writes about a fascinating talk that former St. John’s College president John Agresto recently gave at Duke University. In his presentation, he expressed concern over the future of the humanities, both in Iraq and in the United States. Agresto was involved in the effort to rebuild higher education after Saddam Hussein’s fall in Iraq. He observes that it’s hard to get traction with the humanities in Islamic nations because they don’t have much of a tradition of scholarly questioning. And anyone who tries that has to fear running afoul of religious zealots who won’t tolerate analysis and debate over the Koran.

He also worries that in the U.S., the humanities are in trouble because so many people insist on college studies that directly lead to a job — the “what are you going to do with that?” question. That’s right, but the humanities are also threatened by the same sort of “you must not question that” attitude we find in Islamic countries, namely the growing intolerance of the politically correct for opinions they dislike.

  • Share

Most Commented

May 15, 2015

1.

Where Did We Get the Idea That Only White People Can Be Racist?

A look at the double standard that has arisen regarding racism, illustrated recently by the reaction to a black professor's biased comments on Twitter....

December 22, 2020

2.

From John David to David Acevedo: Why I’m Leaving Behind My NAS Pseudonym for Good

In this piece, NAS Communications & Research Associate David Acevedo, formerly known as John David, recounts why he chose to write pseudonymously and why he has decided to go public...

February 17, 2021

3.

New ACLU Head Has a Civil Rights Problem Back Home

Deborah Archer is the new president of the American Civil Liberties Union, but she doesn't exactly have a history of protecting civil rights at her other workplace, NYU Law....

Most Read

May 15, 2015

1.

Where Did We Get the Idea That Only White People Can Be Racist?

A look at the double standard that has arisen regarding racism, illustrated recently by the reaction to a black professor's biased comments on Twitter....

February 17, 2021

2.

How Many Confucius Institutes Are in the United States?

UPDATED 2/17/2021: We're keeping track of all Confucius Institutes in the United States, including those that remain open, those that closed, and those that have announced their clo...

March 2, 2021

3.

Tracking "Cancel Culture" in Higher Education

UPDATED 3/2/21: A repository of 128 administrators, professors, and students who have been "canceled" for expressing views deemed unacceptable by higher education ideologue...