Speaking out in a digital world: humanities values, humanities processes

Parker, Jan (2013). Speaking out in a digital world: humanities values, humanities processes. In: Belfiore, Eleonora and Upchurch, Anna eds. Humanities in the Twenty-First Century: Beyond Utility and Markets. Basingstoke: Palgrave, pp. 44–62.

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There has been a crisis in and of the Humanities since at least Bérubé and Nelson’s seminal 1995 Higher Education under Fire: Politics, economics and the crisis of the humanities. The financial implosion has felt to many of us to be both a nail in our humane coffin, and a hatchet handed to those [re]introducing a deeply problematic agenda. But, there may be a new audience for our arguments, a new generation brought up to be skilled consumers and players of the market, but who are open to looking for more. And while we work, as we must, to win over that generation (and their financing parents!), we must also become skilled advocates, convincing society that what has been called ‘the Humanities project’ is as valid, urgent and transformative as ever. The UK removal of funding for all but STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) Higher Education teaching dichotomised Humanities and Arts from STEM: promoting STEM as useful, of economic benefit, generally valuable to the country. There was a call for academics to speak out, to act, to move away from the politician-induced ‘counter-revolutionary subordination’ and reject, with the 2012 protesters, the market/consumer discourse in education.

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