Tag Archives: Liberal arts

How to Market the Humanities

The culture war is nearly lost, and the philistines are winning. No, I don’t mean the culture war between social/political conservatives and liberals. That war rages on. The truly desperate struggle that cuts across the conservative/liberal divide is the fight against consumerism whereby consumers are, themselves, consumed by the search for lower prices, better deals, and the never-ending corporate hunt for exploitatively cheap labor anywhere in the world, resulting in greater concentrations of wealth for those at the top. And this consumerist culture finds overwhelming support in what I call educational philistinism. Continue reading


Preparing to Market the Humanities

However desirable or necessary, marketing the humanities is, at best, difficult. We live in a culture increasingly bent on individual economic survival and seeking “practical” education or training as a means to that end. Moreover, the culture suffers the consequences of unethical business practice Wall Street: Money Never Sleepsand increasingly demagogic public debate (witness the timely success of Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps). As college students become older (average age of undergraduate students in the U.S. is 26) and as they seek certification of skills to improve their career and employment prospects, of what use are the humanities? Many students and employment hiring officers regard study of the humanities as a waste of time and money, as a luxury that only the few can afford. And some institutions agree with them! Those who believe, as I do, that Continue reading

Why Market the Humanities

The humanities are in trouble, big trouble. For a long time, student demand for upper-level courses in literature, philosophy/religious studies, history, and fine arts has dwindled. Humanities department budgets have withered, and full-time faculty appointments have dried up. As Frank Donoghue has pointed out in The Last Professors: The Corporate University and the Fate of the Humanities (Fordham, 2008), this decline has occurred over the last 100 years, accelerating during the last 30 years or so with the rise of the corporate model of higher education.  More recently, he answers the question, “Can the Humanities Survive the 21st Century?” with “Who cares?”   Continue reading