Who Decides What’s Good and What’s Bad in the Humanities?
In his recent Chronicle Review article, “The Humanities’ Fear of Judgment,” Michael Clune argues that the humanities in general, and literary study in particular, are in trouble because we don’t want to talk about value. Au contraire. Sit in on any English class and you’ll hear a lot about value — about the value of literature in pushing the boundaries of empathy; about the efficacy of poetry in encouraging thorough, expansive engagement, rather than minimal, uniform assessment; about the moral weight of fiction in a world that may be post-truth. Value is certainly front and center, but not the value that only belongs to a few initiates in a small, narrow sphere.
Originally published: September 17, 2019
Author: G. Gabrielle Starr
Institution: Pomona College
Published by: The Chronicle of Higher Ed