Skip to Main Content

Sustaining the Humanities for the 21st Century

In his recent keynote address at the “Democracy and the Humanities” Symposium at Loyola University Maryland, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the creation of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Duke University President Richard H. Brodhead traced the evolution of the idea of the humanities as a social good. The widespread public belief that  support for the arts and humanities was in the purview of the federal government paved the way for the passage of the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities Act in September 1965. He noted that the current challenges faced by humanities institutions and practitioners are the result of a “thinning-down” of the concept of what social goods are worth. The decline in funding support for the NEH, as well as for public universities, calls for new approaches and tactics. “If there is one single thing humanities lovers need to press for at this time,” Brodhead said, “it’s a stronger, more equitably distributed foundation of elemental literacy, the root of democracy and every humanistic power.”

Scott Casper, Dean of the UMBC College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and Professor of History, in a radio commentary for the Maryland Humanities Council’s Humanities Connection series, discussed how a liberal arts education, in which students explore fundamental human questions, prepares them both for careers and for a civically-engaged life in the 21st century.



Dresher Center Conversations

Dresher Center Conversations are short video interviews with featured Humanities Forum speakers on a range of humanities topics and ideas.

View other conversations.