The Humanities and Public Life
“The Humanities and Public Life is a poignant plea for discriminate reading; that is, reading with intelligent and discerning comprehension—the kind found in reading literature, poetry, and philosophy.”
Peter Brooks convened an educational symposium of some of the top educators, authors, and attorneys in the world of academia to discuss the need to read.
Among those participating were Kwame Anthony Appiah, Derek Attridge, Judith Butler, Jonathan Culler, Didier Fassin, William Germano, Ralph Hexter, Paul W. Kahn, Charles Larmore, Johnathan Lear, Michael Roth, Elaine Scarry, Kim Lane Scheppele, Richard Sennett, and Patricia Williams. The result is The Humanities and Public Life with Hilary Jewett, a devastating, and critical requiem for the humanities. Nothing in the parallels of educational discourse comes close to announcing the death throes of a whole slice of the academic world—actually, the world itself.
It isn't just the demise of the humanities at the university and college level that causes contributor Judith Butler to say, "I find myself wanting to stave off a loss, one that is too great for me to bear. I even sometimes think maybe I will be lucky enough to leave the earth before I have to see the full destruction of the humanities." One can hear the tears fall, and a deep sadness overtakes the reader.
The Humanities and Public Life is a poignant plea for discriminate reading; that is, reading with intelligent and discerning comprehension—the kind found in reading literature, poetry, and philosophy. Brooks states his premise up front: The humanities offer the in-depth exploration of human thought necessary for a truly educated public.
This collection is an intelligent discourse about a fundamental educational issue is presented with eloquent sincerity. Unfortunately, this very well may be the final tome of a heroic effort to stop the dumbing down of America.