Are the Humanities Still Worth Defending?

Since SUNY Albany recently cut funding for its European language departments, the blogosphere has been blowing up with calls to “Defend the Humanities!” But John M. Ellis, professor of German literature at the University of California doubts there is anything left of the humanities worth defending. Rather, he thinks the slogan is actually a rally cry to save the jobs of the professors who themselves systematically destroyed the humanities in the first place, and who are now eating the fruit of their labor. Instead of defending a post-mortem ideal university, Ellis argues in a recent essay for ‘Minding the Campus,’ what we need are serious attempts at restoration

So, what do you think? Is there anything left of the humanities worth defending? Or, do we need something more of a top-down reform? Can the modern university justify its existence without a humanities program?

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