Tuesday, January 08, 2008

A Poet with Tools Reflects on Fish

“Will the Humanities Save Us?” is the title of a column by the eminent scholar Stanley Fish published recently by The New York Times. In the column Fish states:

How does one justify funding the arts and humanities? It is clear which justifications are not available. You can’t argue that the arts and humanities are able to support themselves through grants and private donations. You can’t argue that a state’s economy will benefit by a new reading of “Hamlet.” You can’t argue – well you can, but it won’t fly – that a graduate who is well-versed in the history of Byzantine art will be attractive to employers (unless the employer is a museum).

The column has resulted in an avalanche of comments on the site (293 at present) and I can completely understand why. I respect Fish, his work is an important part of the background to my own research, but his text seems to indicate his preoccupation with a concept of the humanities that I have had only a marginal amount of contact with over the last few years.

Continue reading this on the HUMlab Blog

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