What Do Our Students Lose by Not Taking Humanities Courses?

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In the latest issue of MLA’s Profession, Cathy N. Davidson and I argue that students lose too much when they don’t take humanities courses and that now is the time for those of us teaching in the humanities to do more than take a defensive posture in what amounts to a global assault on the humanities.

We write: “If we believe the mission statements of most humanities departments, what students lose when they do not take humanities courses includes critical reading and creative thinking skills, clear writing, historical and contextual understanding, and all the necessary skills employers say are key to advancement and that we assume to be crucial for democratic participation in a just society. If we believe all that, then we in the humanities must also take on the deep responsibility of ensuring that our courses do what we say they do. We must prepare our students to be empowered to think and to act critically in the contingent, precarious, overwhelming world we have bequeathed to them.”

The article, “Changing Our Classrooms to Prepare Students for a Challenging World,” includes six ways to transform the humanities classroom to help students develop the essential skills that they need to meet the challenges of the world they have inherited. Read the full article here.

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