Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Publication Title

The Making of the Humanities





Publisher Name

Amsterdam University Press

Publisher Location

Amsterdam, Netherlands


What role has poststructuralist literary, critical, and cultural theory played in the making of the humanities, particularly in the period between 1968 and the present, and what role should theory have going forward as we come to terms with the corporatization of higher education, with its stress on practical skills, vocational training, and on measuring concrete learning outcomes? Exploring these questions requires confronting - and linking - two key issues currently at the core of sometimes-fierce debates about the humanities in the West, and particularly in t he US. T he first issue has to do with whether or not theory since 1968 has served to undermine the traditional coherence of a humanities education, and the second has to do with how humanists and their supporters respond rn assertions the humanities have little value because they do not teach students practical skills. In the US in particular these two issues have gotten intertwined. I will be arguing that since theory has always been central to the humanities it is a mistake to argue it has somehow undermined and marginalized them.




Author Posting. © Amsterdam University Press, 2014. This book chapter is posted here by permission of Amsterdam University Press. Some rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, any part of this book may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise). The definitive version was published in The Making of the Humanities Vol. III, (2014)

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.