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In Defense of a Liberal Education

Author: Fareed Zakaria
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
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CNN host and best-selling author Fareed Zakaria argues for a renewed commitment to the world’s most valuable educational tradition. The liberal arts are under attack. The governors of Florida, Texas, and North Carolina have all pledged that they will not spend taxpayer money subsidizing the liberal arts, and they seem to have an unlikely ally in President Obama. While at a General Electric plant in early 2014, Obama remarked, "I promise you, folks can make a lot more, potentially, with skilled manufacturing or the trades than they might with an art history degree." These messages are hitting home: majors like English and history, once very popular and highly respected, are in steep decline. "I get it," writes Fareed Zakaria, recalling the atmosphere in India where he grew up, which was even more obsessed with getting a skills-based education. However, the CNN host and best-selling author explains why this widely held view is mistaken and shortsighted. Zakaria eloquently expounds on the virtues of a liberal arts education—how to write clearly, how to express yourself convincingly, and how to think analytically. He turns our leaders' vocational argument on its head. American routine manufacturing jobs continue to get automated or outsourced, and specific vocational knowledge is often outdated within a few years. Engineering is a great profession, but key value-added skills you will also need are creativity, lateral thinking, design, communication, storytelling, and, more than anything, the ability to continually learn and enjoy learning—precisely the gifts of a liberal education. Zakaria argues that technology is transforming education, opening up access to the best courses and classes in a vast variety of subjects for millions around the world. We are at the dawn of the greatest expansion of the idea of a liberal education in human history.


Cultivating Humanity

Author: Martha C. Nussbaum
Publisher: Harvard University Press
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How can higher education today create a community of critical thinkers and searchers for truth that transcends the boundaries of class, gender, and nation? Philosopher and classicist Martha C. Nussbaum takes up the challenge of conservative critics of academe to argue persuasively that sustained reform in the aim and content of liberal education is the most vital and invigorating force in higher education.


Why the Humanities Matter Today

Author: Lee Trepanier
Publisher: Lexington Books
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Why the Humanities Matter Today explains the importance of philosophy, foreign language, literature, history, political theory, and liberal education in American higher education. The contributors in this book provide new arguments about why their disciplines matter and what value they bring to students, the university, and the public./span


Why Teach

Author: Mark Edmundson
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
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Mark Edmundson's essays reclaim college not as the province of high-priced tuition, career training, and interactive online courses, but as the place where serious people go to broaden their minds and learn to live the rest of their lives. A renowned professor of English at the University of Virginia, Edmundson has felt firsthand the pressure on colleges to churn out a productive, high-caliber workforce for the future. Yet in these essays, many of which have run in places such as Harper's and the New York Times, he reminds us that there is more to education than greater productivity. With prose exacting yet expansive, tough-minded yet optimistic, Edmundson argues forcefully that the liberal arts are more important today than ever, and a necessary remedy for our troubled times. Why Teach? is brimming with the wisdom and inspiration that make learning possible.


Cultivating Humanity

Author: Martha Craven Nussbaum
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How can higher education today create a community of critical thinkers and searchers for truth that transcends the boundaries of class, gender, and nation? Philosopher and classicist Martha C. Nussbaum takes up the challenge of conservative critics of academe to argue persuasively that sustained reform in the aim and content of liberal education is the most vital and invigorating force in higher education.


Being a Presence for Students

Author: Jeff Frank
Publisher: Lever Press
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"This book offers a lived defense of liberal education. How does a college professor, on a daily basis, help students feel the value of liberal education and get the most from that education? We answer this question, as professors, each day in the classroom. John William Miller, a philosophy professor at Williams College from 1924-1960 and someone noted for his exceptional teaching, developed one form that this lived defense can take. Though Miller published very little while he was alive, the archives at Williams College hold unpublished notes and essays of this master teacher. In this book, Jeff Franks offers an extended commentary on one of these unpublished essays where Miller develops his thinking on liberal education. Frank develops the idea that presence is central to liberal education and offers suggestions for how professors can become an educative presence for students. The goal of this book is an invitation to other professors who value liberal education to think with Miller about how to develop their own lived defense of liberal education, each day, in their own classrooms. The tone of the book is meant to be invitational, at times even conversational, and the book concludes with some direct suggestions for how professors can live their own defense of liberal education"--


In Defense of Disciplines

Author: Jerry A. Jacobs
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
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Calls for closer connections among disciplines can be heard throughout the world of scholarly research, from major universities to the National Institutes of Health. In Defense of Disciplines presents a fresh and daring analysis of the argument surrounding interdisciplinarity. Challenging the belief that blurring the boundaries between traditional academic fields promotes more integrated research and effective teaching, Jerry Jacobs contends that the promise of interdisciplinarity is illusory and that critiques of established disciplines are often overstated and misplaced. Drawing on diverse sources of data, Jacobs offers a new theory of liberal arts disciplines such as biology, economics, and history that identifies the organizational sources of their dynamism and breadth. Illustrating his thesis with a wide range of case studies including the diffusion of ideas between fields, the creation of interdisciplinary scholarly journals, and the rise of new fields that spin off from existing ones, Jacobs turns many of the criticisms of disciplines on their heads to mount a powerful defense of the enduring value of liberal arts disciplines. This will become one of the anchors of the case against interdisciplinarity for years to come.


The Price of Silence

Author: Willam D. Cohan
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
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Based on in-depth reporting, this authoritative account of the Duke lacrosse team rape case illuminates the ever-widening gap between America's rich and poor, and shows just how far the powerful will go to protect themselves.


What s Liberal about the Liberal Arts

Author: Michael Bérubé
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
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Described as one of the "101 Most Dangerous Academics in America" by right-wing critic David Horowitz, Michael Bérubé has become a leading liberal voice in the ongoing culture wars. This "smooth and swift read" () offers a definitive rebuttal of conservative activists' most incendiary claims about American universities, and in the process makes a supple case for liberalism itself. An important polemic as well as "a clear-eyed, occasionally quite humorous account of the joys and frustrations of running a college classroom" (), this book is required reading for anyone concerned about the political climate on and off campus.


Not for Profit

Author: Martha C. Nussbaum
Publisher: Princeton University Press
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In this short and powerful book, celebrated philosopher Martha Nussbaum makes a passionate case for the importance of the liberal arts at all levels of education. Historically, the humanities have been central to education because they have been seen as essential for creating competent democratic citizens. But recently, Nussbaum argues, thinking about the aims of education has gone disturbingly awry in the United States and abroad. We increasingly treat education as though its primary goal were to teach students to be economically productive rather than to think critically and become knowledgeable, productive, and empathetic individuals. This shortsighted focus on profitable skills has eroded our ability to criticize authority, reduced our sympathy with the marginalized and different, and damaged our competence to deal with complex global problems. And the loss of these basic capacities jeopardizes the health of democracies and the hope of a decent world. In response to this dire situation, Nussbaum argues that we must resist efforts to reduce education to a tool of the gross national product. Rather, we must work to reconnect education to the humanities in order to give students the capacity to be true democratic citizens of their countries and the world. In a new preface, Nussbaum explores the current state of humanistic education globally and shows why the crisis of the humanities has far from abated. Translated into over twenty languages, Not for Profit draws on the stories of troubling—and hopeful—global educational developments. Nussbaum offers a manifesto that should be a rallying cry for anyone who cares about the deepest purposes of education.