Educated political prisoners drew on rich inner resources to preserve their sanity and their spirits. They used their knowledge to help their fellow inmates survive as well. Their experiences reveal what the attack on the humanities really is. It is an attack on the ability to think, criticize, and endure in crisis, and its virulence betrays how vital the liberal arts are. The political rhetoric against the humanities exposes what is most important in our education, even as it attempts to destroy it.
So writes Romanian medieval literature professor Irina Dumitrescu. Read her entire piece here at the Zocalo Public Square: “Frivolous” Humanities Helped Prisoners Survive in Communist Romania – Nexus – Zócalo Public Square
Despite common perception, the university is a profoundly conservative institution whose core value remains the preservation of the cultures and traditions of the past. Permit the utilitarian winds of today to blow unchecked, and tomorrow we will wake up with our cultural heritage in shreds.
To paraphrase John Donne, every German department’s death diminishes me.
As a historian, I find much to agree with in the words of Kathryn Lynch, an English professor as well as a dean at Wellesley College (see above).
The immediate issue that brings her words is the proposal to weaken tenure at the University of Wisconsin campuses. However, tenure is not the real issue, according to her; rather, it is the value of the seemingly useless humanities. Read her entire essay here: Cutting the liberal arts undermines our cultural traditions – The Washington Post.