Roger Kimball (1953–) from “Speaking Against the Humanities,” Tenured Radicals: How Politics Has Corrupted Our Higher Education (1990; rev. 1998)
In order to get a more tangible sense of what humanistic inquiry means in the environment of today’s academy, let us return to the Whitney Humanities Center at Yale University to consider some of the presentations that were given at a day-long public symposium in the spring of 1986 on “The Humanities and the Public Interest.” The purpose of the event, in the words of a university press release, was “to re-examine the traditional association between the study of the humanities and the guardianship of humanistic values in the context of contemporary American society.” Peter Brooks, who resided over this event as well, expanded on this in the press release: “The symposium will ask whether the case for the humanities can rest on traditional assumptions, or whether a new rationale is needed if the humanities are to claim a major place in contemporary modes of thought and analysis.”
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