Remaking the Humanities Post-COVID: Renewing Value in the Academic Marketplace

February 22, 12:30pm - 2:00pm
Mānoa Campus, Sakamaki Hall A201

Prof. Darin Payne (UH Manoa English Department) will discuss "Remaking the Humanities Post-COVID: Renewing Our Value in the Academic Marketplace." The “market value” of the Humanities in most of academia is, once again, in crisis, but this time it is decidedly more actual than perceived thanks to the international financial collapse of 2008 and more recently to the economic repercussions of the Covid-19 global pandemic. Despite the resistance many of us in the Humanities might feel characterizing our work in terms of “market value,” Prof Payne argues that these days we must more explicitly embrace, rather than resist, such neoliberal logics as a way to revise and reframe our teaching and scholarship for the evolving landscape of higher education. More specifically, the paper proposes that we should reform our work in relation to the interdisciplinary constructs of “wicked problems” and “design thinking,” and that we should do so as a way to cultivate within our students visible production-oriented skill sets for working with local and global stakeholders across corporate contexts, government workplaces, legal and educational settings, and civic organizations. In doing so, we can challenge academics’ longstanding assumptions about the inherent and self-evident worth of studies in writing, literature, philosophy, history, and other liberal arts. Drawing on current instantiations of applied learning in rhetorical education as an extended case study, I provide concrete examples to describe, illustrate, and suggest policy and practice implications for reforming the Humanities more radically than the incremental adjustments and re-branding gestures that are currently underway in the US and beyond.

Event Sponsor
History, Mānoa Campus

More Information
Peter H Hoffenberg, 808-956-8497,

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