The call for more substantial support for the Humanities in Higher Education is being heard and the good news was reported in an article in the Boston Globe on November 8th. In it, Cornell, Harvard and Dartmouth are slated to be pledging support for literature and the arts and Brandeis, with new funding, has built the Mandel Center for the Humanities in an effort to contribute to the restoration of the Humanities.
Despite budget cuts in the Humanities many universities have been stalwart patrons of the Humanities. Scripps College, has, since its inception in 1926, been committed to a core curriculum in Interdisciplinary Humanities, citing smart agility and the ability to navigate ambiguity in a complex world central to “discovery and innovation.” UC Santa Barbara has, since 1982, cultivated an Interdisciplinary Humanities Center anchored by the Humanities Institute, bringing interdisciplinary research into public discourse with conferences, lectures and film series. In 1984, the Interdisciplinary Humanities journal was launched and continues to be published by the National Association for Humanities Education.
Innovative Humanities labs
The Townsend Humanities Lab is a community driven digital network of resources set up to support interdisciplinary research at UC Berkeley. Their website provides the toolbox needed for the kind of collaborative work that involves “text annotation, image annotation, visualizations, mapping, and collaborative authoring,” and is open to all Berkeley scholars and affiliates.
At Duke University, the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute, founded in 1999, is an interdisciplinary humanities center and the administrative headquarters for the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes. In 2011 -2012, the Franklin Humanities Institute will be launching their Humanities Laboratories beginning with the Haiti Lab; a collaborative effort led by a core team of four to five faculty in the humanities, interpretive social sciences and other Duke research units, and graduate and undergraduate students who will work in teams on research projects.
These and other labs are among a new form of Humanities education that will provide innovative ways to enhance critical thinking and discovery across multiple disciplines with the goal of generating new research and knowledge.
On December 3rd, the Professional Affairs Committee of the Librarians Assembly at Duke will present a brown bag discussion on the Haiti Lab to brainstorm about the way librarians can be involved in future Humanities Labs.
“We believe that even in the age of Google and globalization, the Humanities continue to shape the way people study, research and publish and that libraries are at the center of this enterprise."
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