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What Are the Humanities For?

What Are the Humanities For?


  • Date Published: April 2021
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108838412

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About the Authors
  • What are the humanities for? The question has perhaps never seemed more urgent. While student numbers have grown in higher education, universities and colleges increasingly have encouraged students to opt for courses in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) or take programs in applied subjects like business and management. When tertiary learning has taken such a notably utilitarian turn, the humanities are judged to have lost their centrality. Willem B. Drees has no wish nostalgically to prioritize the humanities so as to retrieve some lost high culture. But he does urge us to adopt a clearer conception of the humanities as more than just practical vehicles for profit or education. He argues that these disciplines, while serving society, are also intrinsic to our humanity. His bold ideas about how to think with greater humanistic coherence mark this topical book out as unmissable reading for all those involved in academe, especially those in higher educational policy or leadership positions.

    • Develops a coherent understanding of the humanities, based on an explicit definition, as human efforts to understand human self-understandings and self-expressions
    • This book is structured to make the argument more accessible for newcomers to the field and to those from other disciplinary backgrounds, whether within the university or in the public sphere
    • Utilizes examples from religious studies and theology to make clear why scholarship and engagement are often intertwined, and why its insights may be unwelcome to those studied, as threatening to their identity/ self-understanding.
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Recommended.' M. Meola, Choice Magazine

    'The book offers very interesting reflections about how the humanities proceed and case studies from the author's own experience, to offer insight about its contributions … provides excellent arguments to pursue the Humanities as an academic respectable and needed program … [an] important book.' Lluis Oviedo, Reviews in Science, Religion and Theology

    '… vibrant and essential for the academic and non-academic world … The book is broadly informed and deserves praise for its accessibility … the book is an easy-to-understand, self-standing defense of the humanities. It is plain and straight, without simplifying things beyond what is needed, given the length and scope of the book.' Maria Kronfeldner, Metascience

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2021
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108838412
    • length: 202 pages
    • dimensions: 223 x 148 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.38kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    I. What are the Humanities?:
    1. Humanities: a tentative definition
    2. Understanding others
    3. Self-involving: philosophy and theology
    4. Responsible scholarship
    II. Who Needs the Humanities?:
    5. Professionals: how to live with interpretations
    6. Humans
    7. The value of the humanities.

  • Author

    Willem B. Drees, Tilburg University, The Netherlands
    Willem B. Drees is a philosopher of the humanities and of religion, a former academic dean, member of the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities (KHMW), recipient of two Fulbright Grants, and author of Beyond the Big Bang: Quantum Cosmologies and God (1990) and Religion, Science and Naturalism (1996).

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