The Case for the Humanities

Pedagogy, Polity, Interdisciplinarity

By (author) Eric Touya de Marenne

Publication date:

08 December 2016

Length of book:

158 pages


Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

ISBN-13: 9781475825015

Countering the perception that the humanities are unessential, this volume contends that their well-being has not only academic but also cultural, political, and existential ramifications.
Our technologically-driven world possesses the means of its own destruction, while economic and financial policies undermine the very existence of our democracy. At the same time, the postmodern and post-human age fundamentally challenges our ability and legitimacy to conceive future ideals. It is within this context that the humanities provide essential paths through which the teaching and knowledge of other academic fields such as STEM and economics must be re-envisioned. In short, the humanities must be brought back to the center of academic life.
The political and pedagogical implications of this interdisciplinary study thus entail a renewed critique to rethink the relation between higher education, society, and the world at large (politically, economically, scientifically, and technologically) and the importance of the humanities within it.At the heart of this reconsideration, the humanities’ and humanity’s fate and future become one.
This book is timely and innovative in addressing a longstanding debate about the usefulness of the study of the humanities in an increasingly science-driven world. As a professor of French and author of a number of other books with an interdisciplinary orientation, Touya (Clemson Univ.) is well positioned for this ambitious task. An introductory chapter argues that the humanities are important for infusing policy issues with ethical awareness and sound critical thinking. Chapter 1, ‘The Humanities in the City,’ builds on the thesis by focusing on how the humanities positively infuse and orient the social sciences and science. Chapter 2, ‘Humanizing Economics,’ shows that the study of economics is enhanced by a human-centered approach. Chapter 3, ‘Searching for STEM’s Telos,’ advances the case further by arguing that the role of the humanities is fundamental to define the limits and purpose of science and technology. Chapter 4, ‘Transcendent Humanities,’ concludes the argument by showing through examples that the humanities contribute to the understanding of key policy issues.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels.