[Humanist] 24.436 case for the humanities

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Wed Oct 27 08:08:55 CEST 2010

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 24, No. 436.
         Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Tue, 26 Oct 2010 10:54:38 -0400
        From: James Rovira <jamesrovira at gmail.com>
        Subject: British Academy Lecture by Martha Nussbaum: "Not for Profit: Why Democracy needs the Humanities"
        In-Reply-To: <1288102337l.991288l.0l at psu.edu>

"Not for Profit: Why Democracy needs the Humanities"

A Special Lecture given by Professor Martha Nussbaum, FBA, chaired and
introduced by Dame Gillian Beer, DBE, FRSL, FBA

5.30pm – 6.45pm, followed by a drinks reception
Thursday, 16 December 2010
Venue: Royal Society, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1

“Responsible citizenship requires... the ability to assess historical
evidence, to use and think critically about economic principles, to compare
differing views of social justice, to speak a foreign language, to appreciate
the complexities of the major world religions. A catalogue of facts without the
ability to assess them, or to understand how a narrative is assembled from
evidence, is almost as bad as ignorance.”

This extract from Martha Nussbaum’s powerful and provocative new book, Not
For Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities, illustrates her indictment of
the way in which the humanities and liberal arts are being increasingly
undermined and undervalued in the face of “the unquenchable thirst for
economic growth that drives education policy around the world.”

She speculates on how John Stuart Mill “could have imagined that disciplines
such as history, literature, classical studies and philosophy would be valued
only to the extent that they can sell themselves as tools of a growing
economy”, and criticises the UK’s proposed Research Excellence Framework
(REF) as “the latest assault on humanistic values [and] an insidious threat
to the rich idea of learning” that Mill advocated.

In a rare UK appearance, supported by the S T Lee Fellowship Fund, Professor
Nussbaum will develop these arguments and take questions from the audience.

Martha Nussbaum, FBA, is the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of
Law and Ethics at The University of Chicago. She is an Associate in the
Classics Department and the Political Science Department, a Member of the
Committee on Southern Asian Studies, and a Board Member of the Human Rights
Program. She is the founder and Coordinator of the Center for Comparative

Dame Gillian Beer, DBE, FRSL,  FBA, is a Fellow of the British Academy and of
the Royal Society of Literature. She is Professor Emeritus at the University of
Cambridge. Among her books are Virginia Woolf: the Common Ground (1996), Open
Fields: Science in Cultural Encounter (1996) and Darwin’s Plots (1983, third
edition 2009).

Attendance is free, but registration is required. Please visit our
to register.

The British Academy, 10 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AH Tel:
020 7969 5200, Fax: 020 7969 5300, Web:

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