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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Challenge I: The Liberal Arts in the 21st Century

In the Installation Address which I delivered on September 20, 2013, I referred to three challenges that I interpret as central to the educational mission of Drury University and that have to be addressed if Drury is to be a singular university of note — the role of the liberal arts in the 21st Century, acquisition of a disposition of life, and the need to ensure a viable university in the face of changing models…

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