I’m Rubber, You’re Glue

Definitions of the Humanities are themselves a curious thing, inasmuch as they often raise more issues than they settle. For example, consider this definition as found on the website for the US’s main Federal funding source for research in this area, the National Endowment for the Humanities:
Continue reading

Just the Facts

It’s that time of year again, when the local National Public Radio station does its semi-annual on-air fundraising. Interspersed with the sometimes witty pre-taped snippets from national correspondents and hosts of its various syndicated shows, the ten minute fundraising segments mostly consist of people associated with the local station, or local listeners, talking about the benefits of receiving your news from a non-profit sources like NPR. Continue reading

“The Art of Living Well”: Comments on Gregg Lambert’s Lecture

[This post was written by Prof. George McClure of the Department of History, University of Alabama.]

Kudos to the Religious Studies Department for launching this timely and important lecture series! Some thoughts on the first lecture follow. To my mind, Lambert’s talk demonstrated or exemplified the crisis in the Humanities, rather than analyzing it. He spoke of human capital, rather than human meaning; economic value, rather than moral values; commodification of self, rather than communion with ideas . Although promising to define various terms, he never defined the Humanities, in terms either of their origin or purpose—other than to suggest that the practical usefulness of a Humanities education is to burnish one’s “brand” for economic value in a contemporary culture awash with self-promotion. Continue reading