The debate as to whether the humanities is in decline is almost over. Statistics on declining enrolments, shrinking job prospects, dwindling funding and growing condescension from society add up to show that all is not well. Humanities scholars have, in the recent past, tried to discover what is wrong as well as do something to demonstrate that the humanities is still relevant to society. In this regard, many have suggested that the humanities should change to accommodate the needs of the marketplace, while others have argued that to do so will change the humanities so drastically as to render it unrecognizable. This article is about the current state of affairs in the humanities and the different views that have been expressed on it. It argues that rather than the humanities, it is actually society that is in decline, and as such changing the humanities to suit the needs of the marketplace would be a disservice to our long humanistic tradition. It acknowledges that humanities scholars need to engage more with society even as they continue in activities that have defined the humanities through the years and argues for humanities therapy as a way for the humanities to engage with a world that is increasingly enamoured with technê.
Ibanga B. Ikpe
Translator : Nathan Bracher
, and bookstores. Budget cuts are affecting universities in general and the human sciences in particular. The number of positions in the humanities is decreasing; certain post-docs are obliged to leave the country or change professions. Researchers in
Bridging the Artist-Scholar Divide
Ibanga B. Ikpe
Practice without thought is blind; thought without practice is empty. – Kwame Nkrumah The arts and the humanities could be said to be at a crossroads in the sense that they belong to a group of disciplines to which anyone on the street could claim
A Participant Observer’s View
the traditional humanities. Social science mirrors the bureaucratic revolution that spawned its rise over a century ago and I have become increasingly sceptical of academic anthropology’s reliance on its assumptions and methods. We used to produce
Thoughts on the Humanities at Home and Abroad
The place and future of the Humanities is under scrutiny in many parts of the world. The diminution in the university commenced in the 1980s with the rise of free-market thinking associated with Thatcher and Reagan. It was the end of the Cold War, however, with the rise of globalisation that control was tightened in higher education under the guise of increased freedom. The increasing emphasis on utilitarian forms of knowledge needed for economic growth further imperilled the Humanities. In South Africa, upon which the argument draws for illustration, policy-makers paid increasing lip service to academic freedom and institutional autonomy while directing policy interest and resources away from the Humanities.
Research on human-environment interactions often neglects the resources of the humanities. Hurricane Katrina and the resulting levee breaches in New Orleans offer a case study on the need for inclusion of the humanities in the study of human-environment interactions, particularly the resources they provide in examining ethics and value concerns. Methods from the humanities, when developed in partnership with those from the sciences and social sciences, can provide a more accurate, effective, and just response to the scientific and technological challenges we face as a global community.
Frederick Luis Aldama
This article at once celebrates and puts at cautionary arm's length the tremendous advances made in the cognitive and neurosciences as research that can deepen our understanding of creating and consuming of literature, films, comic books. After providing an overview of recent insights by scholars with one foot in the humanities and the other in the cognitive and neurosciences, the article reflects on some key precepts that might be useful in our continued shaping of a humanities and cognitive based research program. For instance, the article explores the way authors, film directors, and artists generally not only construct artifacts that elicit positive emotions but also negative emotions. It also proposes a model for understanding how the “aesthetic” is a relation and not a property nor an essence of the object (a film) nor something to be found in the subject (us viewing the film).
The Melancholy of the Girl Walker in Irish Women’s Fiction
The natural world behaves in unexpected ways in twentieth-century Irish women’s fiction about girlhood. Girls are at once reduced to natural resources, ripe for exploitation, and instructed relentlessly in their social duties, which more often than not require they resist their ‘natural’ urges. The novels considered here – Holy Pictures by Clare Boylan, Down by the River by Edna O’Brien, and The Dancers Dancing by Eilis Ni Dhuibhne – feature girls moving towards the assumption of the roles of wife and mother they are expected to play as mature women. The girls walk roads of many colours through green landscapes that inspire contradictory responses of rebellion against and weary acceptance of their culture’s messages about a woman’s ‘natural’ place in post-Independence Ireland.
takes the naturalistic approach to exemplify a third culture integrating “methods and knowledge drawn from across the humanities, the social and natural sciences” (2017: 4). The contrast is with those who assume that the two traditional cultures
A Reply to Critics
type of evidence that I use for reasons explained below. However, the book is grounded in the arts and humanities, particularly in film aesthetics. That said, I wanted to develop and assess my theories of aesthetic experience in light of the current