“Who Needs the Classics? On the Global “Humanities Crisis” and Why It Matters”

Who Needs the Classics? On the Global “Humanities Crisis” and Why It Matters

Presenter: Philip Lutgendorf (University of Iowa)

4:30 pm Thursday, October 3

Russell House, 350 High St, Wesleyan University

Followed by a reception with the speaker

In a world faced with ominous and intractable problems—global warming, armed conflict, the erosion of democratic values—sharply declining student enrollment in college-level humanities and social science courses may not make headlines, yet it facilitates the spread of disinformation that worsens all of these problems. In this illustrated talk, I consider some of the causes and potential long-term consequences of this trend, focusing on the education systems of the United States and India. As one response, I discuss a new initiative to create a “classical library” of India’s immense and multi-lingual literary heritage, and my own participation in this modest effort.

Co-sponsored by the South Asia Studies Certificate, Religion Department, Classical Studies, and the College of Letters