Three cheers for Cornell president David Skorton! He is planning a national campaign on behalf of the humanities which will include over 100 new hires in the humanities at Cornell over the next decade and a speaking crusade to promote funding for the humanities and raise faculty morale.
Noting the current budget picture, Skorton said he would start with “modest” goals: first halting any cuts in absolute dollars for federal cultural agencies, then seeking money to cover losses to inflation, and then seeking meaningful gains. But he said it was important to start making a case on why the humanities need more support — and to make that case based on national needs, not just the extent to which such investment would help higher education.
He would make the case this way: “You can’t recreate the past and relive it again, but we can understand so much more,” he said, and that can be to the benefit of American goals. “When I hear military leaders talking about winning the so-called hearts and minds of people in other countries, the way I translate that is all based on humanistic and social science disciplines. That requires that we understand the language, the culture, the religion, and the values of those societies — and that is the humanities.”
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