The High Cost of Cultural Amnesia

Famed literary critic George Steiner once said that cultural knowledge allows one to “resist” and that “no one can make a zombie of you if you carry [cultural knowledge] inside of you.” Today, Steiner’s argument for cultural education is being severely tested. Just how little today’s students know about their own cultures was brought home … Continue reading “The High Cost of Cultural Amnesia”


Student Learning Outcomes and the Decline of American Education

Educational fads always come with a shelf life; the implacable resistance of reality eventually makes them expire. Usually, the promised educational miracle has done more harm than good. The wreckage is all around us: the Self-Esteem Movement, Students Right to Their Own Language, Whole Language, Whole Math, Multiple Learning Styles, Guide On the Side Not … Continue reading “Student Learning Outcomes and the Decline of American Education”


A New College Makes the (ACTA) Grade

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) advises trustees and alumni about higher education issues, identifies “oases of [educational] excellence,” and examines graduation requirements at various colleges to answer the question “What Will They Learn?” In that report, ACTA scrutinizes each college’s curriculum, looking for seven requirements: composition, literature, foreign language, U.S. history, economics, … Continue reading “A New College Makes the (ACTA) Grade”




With friends like these, the humanities needs no enemies

Do we still need the humanities? Yes, now more than ever. But the current academicization, politicization, and jargon mean that college may be the worst place to look for them. That’s where you go for Queerness, libidinal data, and negotiated flesh. On the bright side, it may be that the liberal arts and humanities will flourish once they escape the airless vaults of academia.