Anti intellectualism 2


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Anti intellectualism 2

  1. 1. Anti-Intellectualism The fall of the classics and humanities
  2. 2. p. 25 <ul><li>… Oddly, we see anti-intellectualism even among intellectuals. For example, at many universities today, both among the student body and the faculty, the role of the classics, and humanities generally, has been greatly diminished. The trend has clearly been to develop pre-professional programs and emphasize “relevance”; whereas traditional humanities classes are regarded as a luxury or an enhancement, but not truly necessary features of a college education. At best they are seen as vehicles for developing “transferable skills” such as composition or critical thinking. </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Why did you pick UAT? </li></ul><ul><li>Did you consider attending a university where your choice of degree was focused on the humanities? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you know anyone who considered such a school? Which schools do you know of that still offer such a degree? </li></ul><ul><li>What types of classes did your parents and grandparents take and how do they compare to the classes you are taking? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you consider it a “luxury” to take humanities classes? </li></ul>
  4. 4. The Columbia Core Curriculum, 1888-1959 <ul><li>1888 President F.A.P. Barnard doubts importance of the undergraduate program to University’s future; calls for its elimination </li></ul><ul><li>1894 Greek eliminated as an admission prerequisite to the College </li></ul><ul><li>1900 Admission allowed without Latin, but deficiency had to be remedied before graduation </li></ul><ul><li>1905 Reintroduction of BS degree; would not require prior knowledge or study of either Greek or Latin </li></ul><ul><li>1916 Latin requirement abandoned for BA; BS degree discontinued.  </li></ul><ul><li>1917 Sociologist Franklin Giddings proposes a “War Aims” course for all in the College </li></ul>
  5. 5. Columbia Continued <ul><li>1918 1/3rd of freshmen and sophomore courses prescribed; 2/3rds electives </li></ul><ul><li>1919 Year-long Contemporary Civilization Course launched; required of all freshmen; focus on contemporary world issues  </li></ul><ul><li>1920 John Erskine’s year-long “General Honors” course launched; for selected upperclassmen; involves consideration of “Great Books” </li></ul><ul><li>1937 Humanities A introduced as year-long required course for freshmen; focus on literature and philosophy; Mark Van Doren a prime mover  </li></ul><ul><li>1938 Humanities B introduced as sophomore-year elective; focus on art and music; year-long; 4 meetings a week. Half the curriculum for CC freshmen and sophomores now prescribed. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Hamline University, Minnesota <ul><li>Tuition ranged from $4.00 to $6.66 per term. The collegiate program was introduced in 1857, and in 1859 Hamline graduated its first class. The class consisted of two women, Elizabeth A. Sorin and Emily R. Sorin, who were not only Hamline’s first graduates, but also the first graduates of any college or university in Minnesota. Three courses of study were open to candidates for a degree: the classical program, leading to the B.A. degree, centered around Greek, Latin, English language and literature and mathematics; the “Scientific Course,” leading to the B.S. degree, included the studies of the classical program but substituted German for Greek and Latin; and a separate course for women, omitting Greek and abridging Latin and mathematics while introducing French and German and the fine arts, led to the quaint degree of Lady Baccalaureate of Arts. </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>World War I and Postwar Years (1915-1929) Thus far in Hamline’s history, the faculty had felt that the knowledge of classical and modern languages and their literatures was essential to a liberal education and should be required of candidates for the B.A. degree. The catalog of 1914 listed the following requirements, or their equivalents, for the B.A. degree: - Three years of Greek - Three years of Latin -Two years of either German or a Romance language - One year of English - One semester of intermediate English or English literature - One year of science - One year of mathematics </li></ul><ul><li>In the early 1900s, as students passively resisted these requirements by switching to the B.S. or other degrees, the requirements lightened. Though registrations and majors in Greek and Latin continued into the 1940s, the heart and substance of the traditional classical program were gone, and the symbolic end may be said to have come in 1925 when, for the last time, graduating seniors received diplomas inscribed in Latin. </li></ul>
  8. 8. What accounts for these changes? <ul><li>Why has the curriculum changed so drastically? </li></ul><ul><li>How do the programs of study that we looked at compare to contemporary programs of study? </li></ul><ul><li>What has become obsolete? What remains? Do you agree with the changes? </li></ul><ul><li>What do you think will change between what you study now vs. what your children will study? </li></ul><ul><li>What does this suggest about anti-intellectualism? </li></ul>
  9. 9. Definition of Anti-Intellectualism <ul><li>Hostility towards, or mistrust of, intellectuals and intellectual pursuits often expressed as an attack on the merits of science, education, or literature. </li></ul><ul><li>Reflects the attitudes of “ordinary people” who take academic elitism and the pretensions of academics with a grain of salt. </li></ul><ul><li>Used to criticize an educational system’s placing little emphasis on academic and intellectual accomplishment, or a government’s tendency to formulate policies without consultation with authoritative scholarly study on the issues in question. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Sources of Anti-Intellectualism <ul><li>Anti-intellectual beliefs can come from a variety of factors. </li></ul><ul><li>These include: </li></ul><ul><li>Religion </li></ul><ul><li>Corporate Culture </li></ul><ul><li>Educational System </li></ul><ul><li>Youth Culture </li></ul><ul><li>Populism </li></ul>
  11. 11. Religion <ul><li>Although most religions have rich intellectual traditions, many rely on arguments from authority and reject secular critical traditions. </li></ul><ul><li>Evangelical or Fundamentalist forms of religion are a frequent source of anti-intellectual statements. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Corporate Culture <ul><li>Corporate culture is an occasional source of hostility towards learning with the belief that education is a costly and useless distraction from the more important business of making money. </li></ul><ul><li>It is also one of their concerns that intellectuals may acquire ethical and political ideas that may obstruct business. </li></ul><ul><li>Scientific and technological learning may be accepted, but the arts, literature and philosophy are all seen as wastes of time. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Educational System <ul><li>The schools and universities have often been criticized for being overtaken by overtly anti-intellectual trends. </li></ul><ul><li>Accused of not preparing the students properly to be members of society who would be cultured, prepared for challenging jobs, and capable of independent thought. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Youth Culture <ul><li>A major source of anti-intellectualism in America today is the youth culture that is often associated with those students who are more interested in social life and athletics than in their studies. </li></ul><ul><li>Youth culture is full of fads, and keeping up with the commercial trends is difficult. Their content is frequently criticized for being simple-minded and pandering to unsophisticated appetites. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Populism <ul><li>Intellectuals are portrayed as elitists and tricksters whose knowledge and rhetorical skills are feared because they may be used to deceive ordinary people. </li></ul><ul><li>The curiosity and objectivity of intellectuals about foreign countries and beliefs is perceived by populists as a lack of patriotism, and intellectuals are often suspect of holding dangerous opinions. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Anti-Intellectualism in the US <ul><li>Historically, anti-intellectualism has played a prominent role in American culture. Some of it originated from the views of conservative Christians that education corrupts morality and religious belief. This view was validated by the spread of atheism and Deism among the educated during the 18th century intellectual movement in Europe, called the Age of Enlightenment. </li></ul><ul><li>A more important historical source of anti-intellectualism has been the 19th century pop-culture. At that time, a majority of the population was involved in manual labor, and an education which at that time focused on the classics, was seen to have little value. Back then, the self-reliant and self-made man, educated by society and by experience, was valued over the intellectual who was schooled through books and formal study. However, the once plentiful industrial jobs have disappeared and have been replaced with low-wage service and specialty jobs, which at most require a high school diploma. </li></ul><ul><li>The American educational system also promotes anti-intellectualism in its presumed failure to impart the necessary knowledge and skills to make informed decisions about the world to its students. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Abuse of the Term by Politicians <ul><li>Accusations of anti-intellectualism are often made between political opponents. Liberals may claim that conservative beliefs about foreign affairs stem from ignorance, poor education and lack of awareness of the issues involved – and as such are anti-intellectual. The conservatives generally counter by claiming the exactly the same thing about liberals. </li></ul><ul><li>It may have been George W. Bush’s anti-intellectual style that got him elected, largely in part to the large amount of the population that believed he was more of a regular guy. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Skepticism of Authority <ul><li>For the most part, our skepticism of “experts” is derived from the idea that they may be an expert but can the claim be made without being subjective. After all, who’s to say someone else’s opinion is better than our own? </li></ul><ul><li>Experience is not the same as expertise. </li></ul><ul><li>Other times, the opinion of an expert is not only irrelevant, but useless for matters than cannot be known. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Democracy and Skepticism <ul><li>The resistance to expertise comes partly from our ideas of democracy, that all voices are heard and therefore must all have equal value. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Despite All of this We Still Trust the Expert… <ul><li>Perhaps this is because we want to be told what to do; to have that guidance that relieves us of the burden of being all knowing. </li></ul>