Monday, October 26, 2015

On Humanities research is groundbreaking, life-changing… and ignored

Shao Han and Achmed both friends who work in the humanities 'industry'. 
Interesting article on Humanities research by Gretchen Busl. See link below.

Busl writes about the challenges humanities scholarship faces - Yes, budget cuts and dwindling enrolments in the field of humanities.

Busl has something quite different to say on the 'defence' of the field of humanities.

Busl highlights some cool humanities research projects. In point form here:

  • Jodie Archer's computer model that can predict NYtimes bestsellers. 
  • Don Howard with computer scientist develop code of ethics for 'human-robot interaction'.
  • English Professor, Priscilla Wald's 'outbreak narrative' of contagion changing the way scientists think about the spread of infectious diseases.
  • Environmental Huamanities Professor Joni Adamson, who applies the study of indigenous cultures to make more sustainable ecosystems located in desert cities. 
The highlighted research projects here are cool but are also very different from the usual arguments of humanities ability to develop 'critical thinking skills' where it highlights the value of the humanities 'classroom' but not really the value of the research.

Busl blames the academy/university for an inward-focused nature of scholarship as there is little incentive for their scholars to work outside of lecture halls or academic journals.

At this juncture of the Humanities's crisis, it is not just about the need for humanities increased visibility or the need to attend to the relevance of humanities in the world today. It is for an opportunity to make an impact in the world. 

Returning to the value of the research mentioned above. What are their value in the 'real world'? Busl have chosen some really obvious examples which show that the research projects will produce some kind of impact in their fields. They are quite utilitarian projects and interdisciplinary ones. I do feel that there is also need for more 'ideological' research projects outside the academy.


Humanities research is groundbreaking, life-changing… and ignored

by Gretchen Busl

Monday 19 October 2015 07.00 BST

Humanities scholars are making strides in sectors from sustainability to robotics – why are so few people aware of their work?

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