Today’s What We’re Reading features history on TV this fall, the Serendip-o-matic tool, escaping the parent trap in museums, a Facebook narrative of WWII, and much more!
Not many 16-year-olds spend their off-school time sitting in a dusty archive, weeding through original railroad records. Nor do they have the inclination to track down and develop an oral history of the first generation female law school graduates at a renowned Ivy- League institution.
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences released its report on the humanities last Wednesday night at a highly visible event in the US Capitol Visitor Center. The Heart of the Matter is intended to do for the humanities and social sciences what the National Academy of Sciences’ Rising above the Gathering Storm did for the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). To help promote the release and to start “a national conversation on the importance of the Humanities and Social sciences,” policymakers and cultural icons—including columnist David Brooks, Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), American Council of Learned Societies President Pauline Yu, actor John Lithgow, and Ambassador Karl Eikenberry—offered their takes on the importance of these studies and the significance of the report.
Today’s What We’re Reading features Jill Lepore’s reflection on historical origins of the NSA scandal, why Don Draper is a preservationist, digital workflow for historians, a visual guide of “every single theory,” and much more!
Humanists readily understand the "value" of what we teach, study, and write. We too often forget that this is less obvious to many of our neighbors, and have not developed a deep and wide advocacy movement to promote humanistic thinking and work.
Editorial note: Responding to a report by the National Association of Scholars (NAS) on reading assignments at two Texas universities, Elaine Carey, AHA vice president, Teaching Division, and James Grossman, AHA executive director, wrote an article for the Chronicle of Higher Education that attracted a response from, among others, Samuel Goldman writing for the American Conservative.