Debate: Do Colleges Need French Departments? – Room for Debate

The New York Times has a nice feature called Room for Debate where a number of pundits write short opinion pieces on a subject. In October debaters like Martha Nussbaum takled the question, Do Colleges Need French Departments?.

This debate was in response to the State University of New York at Albany cancelling a bunch of programs including French (and Italian, classics, theatre and Russian.) To be honest there isn’t much debate, most, though not all of the respondents seems to agree that it is shortsighted to cut the humanities. As Martha Nussbaum puts it,

Cuts in the humanities are bad for business and bad for democracy. Even if a nation’s only goal were economic prosperity, the humanities supply essential ingredients for a healthy business culture.

The nice thing about these 6 short essays is that it provides a number of positions in one place.

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