NYU Brademas Center Symposium to Explore Status of Humanities and Liberal Arts in American Higher Education


The three-day conference of educators, researchers and leaders from cultural organizations and government will take place in Florence, Italy, on November 10, 11, and 12.

New York University’s John Brademas Center for the Study of Congress will convene a three-day conference on the future of the humanities and liberal arts in a globalized world Thursday, November 10, through Saturday, November 12, in and near Villa La Petra, a center in the University’s global program.

The primary goal of this Symposium on the Humanities is to engender a meaningful debate among numerous researchers, academic administrators, cultural leaders, and political representatives about the nature, scope, and future of the humanities and liberal arts in American 21st century higher education.

Arguably, the humanities promote development of the aesthetic and analytical abilities required for advanced degrees. They also encourage the type of cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary thinking our increasingly global world demands. In recent decades, however, a majority of colleges and universities have reorganized or restructured their curricula in order to offer more "practical" and/or marketable majors with a preference towards studies in the natural and social sciences. The humanities are confronted with a political and social climate in which they are increasingly seen as irrelevant, even unessential, to America's economic and cultural vitality. This lack of confidence in the humanities has prompted a reassessment of their value or worth in 21st-century higher education.

 “The irony is that one of the oldest queries in education – the role of the humanities – is one of the most urgent today,” Jim Leach, chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, has commented. “Appropriately, New York University, and its Brademas Center for the Study of Congress, is leading an effort o reinvigorate this inquiry.”

Co-sponsors of the symposium include: The Humanities Initiative at NYU; The James Madison Program at Princeton University; the NYU Office of the Provost; the School of International and Public Affairs at Florida International University; the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at NYU, and La Pietra Dialogues.

For more information, please visit http://www.nyu.edu/brademas/humanities/.


Press Contact

Robert Polner
Robert Polner
(212) 998-2337