Groups To Make the Case for the Humanities on Thursday at U.Va.

September 24, 2012

The three largest humanities associations will weigh in Thursday at a University of Virginia symposium on “The Classroom, the Book and the Screen: The Humanities Today and the University of the Future.”

Linda Downs, James Grossman and Rosemary Feal, executive directors of the College Art Association, the American Historical Association and the Modern Language Association, respectively, will give presentations and discuss current measures to protect and promote the study of the humanities on Thursday in the auditorium of the Mary and David Harrison Institute for American History, Literature, and Culture / Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library.

The events are free and open to the public, and will conclude with a reception.

“Talk of a crisis in the humanities has become commonplace in educational institutions at all levels over the past decade,” said Howard Singerman, an associate professor of art history in U.Va.’s College of Arts & Sciences. At many institutions, courses or programs are being cut in the face of diminishing resources and the ever-increasing demand for more professionally oriented and immediately useful courses, he said.

“Universities are at the center of this crisis, but they are also central to meeting the challenge – to making the case for the necessity of the humanities not just in college, but in the broader culture,” Singerman said.  

Doors open at 9:30 a.m., and Downs will speak at 10 a.m. on “The Art Image: On Campus, Online, in the Courts and at the Market.” Feal will give her talk, “Practical Magic: Promoting the Humanities on Campus Today,” at 11 a.m., and Grossman will speak at 2 p.m. on “Historical Sensibility and Civic Culture.” Alison Weber, U.Va. professor of Spanish, will anchor the roundtable, which will begin at 3 p.m.

The three associations being represented are part of the American Council of Learned Societies and represent nearly 60,000 members in academia. The council comprises 71 scholarly organizations and promotes the humanities through peer-reviewed fellowships, conferences and scholarly communications.

In addition to the Institute of the Humanities and Global Cultures and the Page-Barbour Lectures, several departments are co-sponsoring the symposium: McIntire Department of Art, Corcoran Department of History and the Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese. Additional support has been provided by the Department of English and the Department of French.

Media Contact

Anne E. Bromley

University News Associate Office of University Communications