New PDF release: Arts of Living: Reinventing the Humanities for the

By Kurt Spellmeyer

ISBN-10: 0791456471

ISBN-13: 9780791456477

ISBN-10: 1417500891

ISBN-13: 9781417500895

Argues that better schooling must abandon the "culture wars" if it hopes to handle the key crises of the century.

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Extra resources for Arts of Living: Reinventing the Humanities for the Twenty-First Century

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But reforms of the sort I am proposing would bring the humanities to students who now miss or quite intentionally evade them because our disciplines, in their splendid isolation, can often seem irrelevant and needlessly arcane. A. programs. As long as we imagine the humanities as branches of a “human science” corresponding to the natural sciences, we overlook what makes the humanities crucially different. 32 For many human- 22 Taking Humanities Out of the Box ists today, the experience of wonder is certainly important, but only as a personal consequence of an impersonal enterprise.

A person might, in fact, come to Longfellow’s work so belatedly that an appreciation would make her cultural poverty more obvious. And if the new economy of knowledge created a division between those who had knowledge and those who did not, it brought about another unexpected split that Austin recognized with remarkable clarity: Into the widening gap . . between the generations, our burgeoning system of public education was driving a wedge of books. It drove [them] so fast that by the time [I] was twelve, one book, such as was usually kept in Mother’s bureau and given to girls to read when they required it, was not enough to close the gap between young girls and young mothers; tradition was not enough; “Godey’s Lady’s Book” was too fragile; not even the weekly county paper .

And these professionals, like our specialists today, ushered in what some might call a Renaissance, but a Renaissance of a rather curious kind. ”7 A geographer correctly calculated the circumference of the earth, and astronomers taught that the sun occupied the center of the solar system. At the same time that scientific learning advanced, innovations of technique and technology—the bill of exchange in banking, the Archimedean screw in hydraulics, the threshing machine in agriculture—transformed Mediterranean economic life.

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Arts of Living: Reinventing the Humanities for the Twenty-First Century by Kurt Spellmeyer


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