Are humanities relevant to the 21st century

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 4 October 2016

Are humanities relevant to the 21st century

In this annotated bibliography I will be trying to answer the question of the importance of humanities in the 21st century. I will be using sources from newspapers, books and blogs in which I found either in the UEA library, internet and other sources of information. I will be making summaries of the content which I read and evaluate the source as a whole, for this annotated bibliography most of the sources which I came across coincidently were about the usefulness of the humanities in education or in the work place in the 21st century. In addition, I incorporated film, literature, art and history making my range of sources broad.

1) Arnheirn Rudolf, 1932, film as Art, London, university of California press This book is mainly about theory, the authors main argument is that human beings are losing their ability of creativity. For example, the author talks about the “limitations of the medium, the absence of sound, the absence of colour and the lack of three dimensional depth” Arnheirn Rudolf (1932), these limitations created a new distinct art however due to advancement everything is about realism and because of these advancement creativity has been lost in the world of film.

“The thoughts that made the picture move” Arnheirn Rudolf (1932) can be interpreted as realism bringing truths of world into the limelight such as the violence which occurred around the world. As a source it has very little relevance to the humanities in the 21st century, when reading this book it seemed very personal to the author the way he wrote it seemed as if he is defending something very important to him. Also, from what I had read there wasn’t much evidence to support his claims and was more like an aggressive rant about the mechanical advancements in the film industry.

2) Belfiore Elenora and Upchurch Anna, 2013, Humanities in the 21st century, Hampshire, Palgrave Macmillan This book is mainly a collection of essays and articles from different authors that has been edited by the authors. They talk mainly about the connection between the markets and the humanities. Their main aim was to “exercise of critiquing the present state of the humanities within and outside of the academic practise” Belfiore Elenora and Upchurch Anna (2013).

The authors describe the history of the humanities and stated that the humanities came from the united states which spread to great Britain and then explained that social science came out of humanities which is why the humanities is the parent of the social science. The two authors compiled a collection of original essays that tackle the question however I did not read any views the authors had. 3) Corrigan timothy, 2012, film and literature: and introduction and reader, second edition, Abingdon, Routledge.

Timothy Corrigan’s main argument is that he argues without the literature there will be no film and they need each other. “While the blockbusters harry potter films would constantly draw masses of young people/readers to the movie theatres and lines of moviegoers into the bookstore” Corrigan timothy (2012). He also argues there is a renewed interest in literature and film as “30% of movies today derive from novels and 50% of books classified as best sellers have been adapted to cinema” which enforces his argument that literature in fact is still important.

Later in the chapter he gives disadvantages of turning novels into film by stating it destroys our imagination. When reading a novel we use our imagination to create a reality in the novels world however when watching a film adaption of that same novel your imagined world becomes the film directors interpretation and your imagined creation is lost. In this book the author clearly states 4 disadvantages of literature and not one positive or advantages to literature making me think that his views to a certain extent is biased.

In addition, this book contains bucket loads of information from theories to history of film and this book is an educational one therefore contains information directed to students and is also the second edition generally meaning is an improvement to the first edition. 4) Grafton Anthony, (2010), 05/11/2013, Defending the Humanities, www. youtube. com Grafton Anthony is a historian that delivered a lecture in the University of Hampshire. He argues against a claim that humanities as a subject is ‘dying’.

His argument boldly states that professors teaching the humanity subjects are being force feed useless knowledge and information which will not help undergraduates in the future. He states that humanists should be creators of conversations between the graduates, the historical thinkers, ancient musicians and great artists which is critical and exciting, instead of creating of theories and drop everything we teach though it ‘like a sausage grinder’. He concludes, and states that humanities as a subject is improving and is always being rewritten when new information is available.

Grafton Anthony uses the American civil war as an example, as a child Grafton Anthony in school had never heard of the presence of the African Americans in the civil war and parents would never take their children to historic battle sites because they felt offended. However, in today’s age African American parents joyfully take their children to these sites due to historians re-writing history and creating a true story that African Americans were in fact involved in the civil war.

This lecture was really about promoting humanities as a subject. This is a good source as it emphases the problems of humanities being taught in the 21st century and also gives information on how to improve humanities in general in addition; his points are being reinforced by Bill Smoot who also had similar ideologies. 5) Grafton t. Anthony and Grossman James, 2013, the chronicle of higher education: the humanities dubious battle, 19th October 2013, pages 13.

The authors as a summary basically belittles the humanities and talks about history are not needed in the economic and capitalist world. He quotes “Why would a company like Enterprise Rent-A-Car care if a prospective employee took the initiative to read the company history? What could the study of the past contribute to a career in, say, medicine? ” Grafton t. Anthony and Grossman James (2013). He also makes the point that the humanities do not lead into any clear cut career than let’s say engineering, medicine and law.

They then go on to say that the humanities is not totally dead as from a Harvard report stated that there are more people studying humanities in private universities and are mainly for the ‘elites’ “Humanities education provides the foundation for leadership, and wider access to such education implies wider access to positions of leadership. ” Grafton t. Anthony and Grossman James (2013). Personally I didn’t like this source as the authors slightly changed their view from stating that the humanities is a rubbish subject to learn to the humanities being this epic subject that only the ‘elites’ should learn.

The source was very simple to read and it seem to ‘speak’ to you as if you were having a conversation with the writer and made you think about subject. In addition, an article which finally sits on the other side for a change, It was interesting to find a source and authors who argued that humanities is useless so reading from an objective view it was a new insight into the subject of the relevance of humanities in the 21st century. 6) Kagan Jeome. (2009) The Three Cultures: Natural Science, Social Sciences, and the Humanities in the 21st Century, Cambridge: Cambridge University press.

This book defines the three cultures and then compares them to one another. The author’s main argument is that the three cultures cannot survive without the fuel each culture provides. One example used is climate change kagon Jeome (2009) stated 50,000 years ago climate changed in northern Europe which destroyed our protein supplies and in turn the human population in northern Europe dropped drastically therefore if humans were involved in climate change it would be more rapid.

The author then concludes that the sciences and humanities need each other and are both important to the 21st century as without the literature humanities provided the less likely research may have taken place. The author is American psychologist suggesting that he is very well educated and has written many books in regard to psychology, the book was also published by the Cambridge university press meaning that it is more likely to be intellectual. The book was written in 2009 which in regard to humanities and his major points is not too long ago.

However, this book was basically a revamp C. P. Snow’s work who was a chemist and novelist who published “the two cultures and scientific revolution” which was written in 1959. 7) Pring Richard, 1999, oxford review of education, political education: relevance of the humanities, p71-87, volume 25 issue, Taylor and Francis. In this article the Richard Pring puts an emphasis on education being used as tool to control the young to becoming a model citizen and uses the phrase “developing desirable attitudes”.

He next explains why he used that phrase and backs up his point by stating the “government is worried about the consumption of drugs amongst young people; therefore, schools are being instructed to teach about their evil effects”. Furthermore later on in the article he explains why the humanities is important not only because the humanities teaches us how to be ”Human” but it gives us the skills to incorporate into politics such as critical writing and analysis. This journal is very detailed but is rather old compared to evidence I can acquire from books, blogs or other forms of sources.

A lot of things have changed since 1999 such as the economy, which has gone through major changes during this time so views have changed. In terms of relevance to the question is that it is relevant to a strong extent from a cultural view. He describes that humanities is all around us and is impossible to miss. 8) Small Helen, 2013, the value of the humanities, oxford, oxford university press The book value of the humanities provides a critical account of the principal arguments used to defend the value of the Humanities.

The claims considered are: that the Humanities study the meaning-making practices of culture, and bring to their work a distinctive understanding of what constitutes knowledge and understanding. The authors of this book made a very deep arguments from the contribution of human happiness to the “driving force for democracy” Small Helen (2013). She later concludes that the purpose of the humanities is to explore the grounds for each argument, and test its validity for the present day and “promise to sharpen the terms of public debate” Small Helen (2013).

I believe this a very good source, firstly because it is very modern and up to date, academic slightly hard to read aimed at the educated and scholars. The author is a professor of the English literature at the University of Oxford which suggests she is smart enough to look at this question from an objective view. 9) Smoot Bill, (2011), 04/11/2013, Humanities in the 21st century, http://www. edutopia. org/blog/humanities-twenty-first-century-bill-smoot , Online Blog This blog offers information about the humanities in the 21st century, the author writes about his personal experience and feelings to the killing of Osama Bin Laden.

He writes about how he felt satisfied for the killing of a man who may or may not of deserved it and as a English teacher he takes an objective look on different people’s reactions to the news and states he saw people crying and praising the death of a man, another group were indifferent and quoted “it is unholy to gloat over the bodies of the dead” Smoot Bill (2011). He later explains that we need humanities to teach the students habits ‘of critical thought and the historical perspective necessary for citizenship in a democracy’.

The blog is aimed for people in the position of power. In terms, of relevance to the question I believe it answers the question because his simplistic writing explains why humanities are needed in the 21st century. However, a blog is an individual record of opinions so it does not carry weight as a good source but it gives an opinion so in that respect it becomes useful but not very reliable. 10) Stern Nicholas, Mon 22 July 2013, Don’t neglect the importance of the humanities, the independent, pages 7.

In this source, the message is a lot more political. Firstly Nicolas Stern describes that there is a shift in every subject due to the lack of trust in intuition and lack of confidence in existing ideas and models and politicians are not inspiring the younger generations. He later describes the Science, engineering and medicine are vital drivers of human progress and we must celebrate and nurture them. However, without the humanities and social sciences we can never find responses to the urgent issues that trouble us.

He then backs up his points with facts and figures for example “The UK economy is now 75 per cent services, hugely reliant on the analytical, negotiating and communication skills which humanities and social sciences disciplines develop in people” Nicolas Stern (2013) and “Most of the leaders in public life – government, commerce, public sector – were educated in humanities and social science disciplines. ” Nicolas Stern (2013). In my opinion I believe this is a very good source as the author makes a point and then backs up his points with evidence and statistics.

It is also a newspaper article meaning that the general public have access to it and create an opinion about the matter. However, the only disadvantage about this article is that the author doesn’t write about the advantages and disadvantages of humanities and only keeps to the positives and belittles other subjects. 11) Vianello Andrea 16/11/2013, http://www. bronzeage. org. uk/the-value-of-the-arts-and-humanities-in-the-21st-century-a-report. aspx, blog The author of the blog describes that he went to a debate about the importance of the arts and humanities in the modern day life and business.

During this debate the author states that at this debate everyone assumed that they all agreed on the fact that “the humanities in modern day society are pretty much over due to the subject having no impact on modern society” Vianello Andrea (2013). The author concludes; with his own personal opinion which was that the value of the humanities is unique in terms of the way humanists’ think and its potential for sciences and businesses and that graduates who have studied the humanities have been equipped with transferable skills and a unique way to approach and solve problems.

The author makes valid points with evidence which makes the author argument about this subject stronger however, he criticized in a negative light all the researchers and educated opinion that did not agree with his side of the argument making his view very personal not hold a lot of weight as a source. In terms of relevance to the question it is very relevant however due to his opinion being very personal and biased it’s a useless source and weak in terms of argument.

12) Warwick Clare, Terras Mellissa, Nyhan Julianne, 2012, Digital humanities in practise, London, Facat publishing. The authors open up with the definition of what digital humanities is and defined it as “the collaboration of the arts and humanities with computing” Warwick Clare, Terras Mellissa, Nyhan Julianne (2012). The book mainly talks about the experience of three people in the University of City London which is the leading university for digital humanities.


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  • University/College: University of Chicago

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 4 October 2016

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