Plenary Session Six
Has Something Gone Wrong with the Humanities?
University students used to study humanities subjects such as literature, philosophy and history, to learn about the greatest books, the best ideas and the most important social, political and scientific achievements.
Due to the rise and spread of postmodernism and critical theory in humanities disciplines, contemporary students are more likely to receive an education heavy on tales of oppression based on class, race, and gender, and light on the appreciation of what would once have been called the cultural glories of Western and other civilisations.
Grand narratives of civilisational progress may have been rightly disrupted – and enriched – by including the stories of those who used to be excluded from such narratives.
To what extent has a degree in the humanities been diminished by the reduction of the study of all aspects of culture and society to the simplistic insights of identity politics?
Internationally acclaimed novelist and journalist, (US)
Director and Founder, Academy of Ideas, London (UK), Brexit Party MEP
Professor Michael Ondaatje
Pro Vice-Chancellor Arts and Academic Culture, and Professor of History, Australian Catholic University
Associate Professor Salvatore Babones
Sociologist, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Sydney. Author of The New Authoritarianism