Reviving Humanities Education: A Counterintuitive Suggestion

A few things seem certain to me. If the United States is going to go beyond neoliberalism — if we are going to create a social democratic society in which a market-based individualistic ethos does not shape our attitudes and institutions — we will need some common cultural understandings. Such understandings, to be truly common, must be inclusive and thus must be anti-racist, anti-sexist, in a word, humane.

I am also certain that a humanities education will be central to creating a culture that is both common and humane insofar as it is possible. As such, we must defend and promote the humanities. But how shall we go about this crucial task? ...

Our disciplinary methods are important forms of knowledge that students should learn. But these methods should not be the sole focus of our teaching. If we want students to flock to our humanities classes — if we wish to revive humanities education — we should allow students to revel a bit in the things that inspire them. We should allow them to dream.
— Andrew Hartman