The web site Defend the Arts and Humanities has published the first installment to A Manifesto for the Arts and Humanities: The Example of Candide. In this introduction he quotes from an article by James Vernon to explain the reason for the manifesto.
Writing in the wake of the Browne Report, James Vernon made a very telling, prescient point. In the face of this unprecedented and unconscionable attack on the university as a civic institution, and particularly in response to the casual depreciation of its arts and humanities education, now more than at any other time before, we need ‘to rearticulate the purpose and role of the humanities in ways which justify renewed public investment in them’. Or again: ‘The defence of public universities is intricately tied to arguments that can establish the public value of the humanities’. This Manifesto is one such attempt to rise to Vernon’s urgent challenge.
The Manisfesto has five articles starting with:
Article 1°At the heart of societies keen to foster tolerant multiculturalism, the arts and humanities provide an essential and unique site for negotiating and experimenting with linguistic, philosophical and cultural plurality.