What the Humanities are For—And Why We Should Stop Defending Them

Event Date: 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014 - 4:00pm to 6:00pm

Event Location: 

  • Cornell University
  • School for Criticism and Theory
  • Malott Hall
  • Bache Auditorium
  • Room 228

Event Contact: 

  • Lecture/Workshop

How can the humanities fields enhance their roles in academia and society? Christopher Newfield, author of Unmaking the Public University, argues that "defending the humanities" binds these fields to the post-war university's declining economic mission. After tracing this decline in part to the theory of "disruptive innovation," he suggests that the humanities already offer important alternative practices of innovation, including their radically non-managerial forms of qualitative interpretation. Professor Newfield encourages humanities practitioners to be more assertive in shaping the post-capitalist societies now in the works.