The Hedgehog Review: Vol. 15, No. 3 (Fall 2013)
Not Quite the Heart of the Matter
Reprinted from The Hedgehog Review 15.3 (Fall 2013). This essay may not be resold, reprinted, or redistributed for compensation of any kind without prior written permission. Please contact The Hedgehog Review for further details.
In June the American Academy of Arts and Sciences published a report titled “The Heart of the Matter” describing the fragile state of the humanities and social sciences in the United States. Evidence of the problem and the near- and long-term practical consequences that follow can be found everywhere. Yet there is a growing sense that in a struggling economy, the humanities and social sciences are mere luxuries.
This is a serious problem that must be addressed. The humanities and social sciences, the authors rightly argue, “provide an intellectual framework and context for understanding and thriving in a changing world.” This knowledge not only allows “citizens to participate meaningfully in the democratic process” but also enables “us to participate in a global economy that requires understanding of diverse cultures and sensitivity to different perspectives.” Thomas Jefferson himself couldn't have put it better....