“We’re trying to help our students learn to express themselves in words and images, and moving images in particular,” says Richard Miller, Chair of the Rutgers English Department, in a YouTube’d video presentation, The Future is Now: Presentation to the RU Board of Governors. He continues,
This is all building towards a larger vision, re-imagining the humanities for the 21st century. Unquestionably, we are working in a world that is driven by technological advance and improvement, and some people see that as obviating the need for people who excel in spoken expression, the written word, telling stories — for some people that (technology) is the fluff of life. But actually, that is the backbone of life. We work in an area that is essentially concerned with the quality of living.
In this presentation, Miller introduces the university’s planned/proposed Center for the New Humanities, and he says that new humanities should be considered a single phrase.
Having mentioned Wikipedia earlier in the presentation, he states that,
At the center of this new humanities is a collective, collaborative kind of composition that is represented by this globe (see left). But what Wikipedia doesn’t have is what the university has to offer. That is sustained study and deep understanding. When you add that to the picture, you get human creativity put at the center of the humanities. Over the past 10 to 20 years, the humanities somewhat lost its way, becoming overly focused on critique. The real function of the humaniteis is to engage in the act of creativity, moment by moment, to improve the quality of the world we live in.
You don’t need me to tell you how much Richard Miller is talking about a much MUCH broader world of education than the Department of English at Rutgers University.
We have lost our way.
I discovered this video through a blog entry, (We Can Do This. We Should Do It.) from Carl Fisch, where he mentioned this entry (Videos – The Future of the humanities in the Internet Era) by Scott McLeod. They both embedded two other presentations by Miller, This Is How We Dream, Parts I & Part II.
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