What is happening to the intellectual field called the humanities? Powerful political and corporate forces are encouraging, even demanding science and math-based curricula to prepare for a globalized and technological world; the astronomical rise in the cost of higher education has resulted in a drumbeat of complaints, some which question the value of the traditional liberal arts and humanities. And of course, and far more complexly, the emerging storage and communications systems of the digital age are transforming all fields of knowledge and all knowledge industries.
How has and how will the humanities cope with these challenges? How have digital tools and systems already begun to transform humanistic education? How may they do so in the future? More broadly, is there a significant role for the humanities in our digital future? Our panelists will explore these and related questions in what is expected to be the first in a continuing series on this subject.
Alison Bylerly is provost and executive vice president and professor of English at Middlebury College.
Steven Pinker is the Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University and previously taught at MIT. He is the author of many essays and books including The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature and How the Mind Works.