What Is the Value of the Humanities?

The humanities can be described as the study of the myriad ways in which people, from every period of history and from every corner of the globe, process and document the human experience. — “What Are the Humanities?” | Stanford University Say “humanities” to most humans, and they will envision a list of reflective pursuits: philosophy, history, literature. And the inevitable question follows: Yeah, but what can you do with it?

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The Dangers of Intellectual Elitism and Narcissism

It’s far too common for academia to be regarded as an ivory tower—a self-contained bubble of elitism and grandiosity that serves no “real” purpose in the “real” world. In the interest of fairness it’s worth noting that there might be a nugget of truth to this. After all, academia is certainly not elite in the worldly, economic sense of the word. In fact, the mere notion that academia alone leads to anything close to wealth must seem patently absurd to increasing…

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Is Reading a “Solitary Vice”?

In The Solitary Vice: Against Reading, Mikita Brottman compares reading to masturbation. She warns that reading can disconnect the reader from the world if individual pleasure becomes the sole goal of reading. Brottman suggests that that reading, when approached correctly, ought to be viewed as a form of self-discovery.

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Thinking Like a Humanist

“C’mon, Dr. Panza, what is the answer?” Oh, how I dread that question! Still, over the years, I’ve come to expect it – a familiar ritual that plays itself out each semester. At the beginning of every Humanities course I teach, I watch students grimace, shift around uncomfortably in their seats, and impatiently question why I don’t just write up on the board the facts that they think I want them to memorize. I never…

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