Nithya Caleb, “Whither Humanities In a Market-driven World?”

“India has 15 IITs and an equal number of IIMs, but there’s no exclusive centre for fine arts, philosophy, religion or linguistics,” Nithya Caleb begins in a wide-ranging article in The New Indian Express (17 Dec. 2012) about the shrinking mindshare–not to mention funding share–for the humanities around the world.

Interviewing educators and spokespersons for the humanities in India and the U.S., Caleb surveys views on the way societies value technical versus humanities education in the global economy, perceptions of the career options open to humanities students, the “straight-path syndrome” that many students fall into in wishing for a point A to point B way to a career, reflections on “who is to be blamed,” views on the “way forward,” and the relevance of digital humanities and popular culture on the humanities.

One initiative based in Delhi that the article discusses is Marg Humanities. Analogous to the 4Humanities initiative, Marg Humanities (margH) is “a real and virtual space for rethinking, revitalising and revamping” that is developing projects such as a Global Humanities Initiative and the Humanities Underground (HUG) blog.

As noted on the margH site, the initiative is named after “Chhatra Marg, the arterial avenue that winds through Delhi University’s main campus and encounters the heat and the dust, the freeze and the fog, of a lived Humanities at a metropolitan educational site in South Asia, both metaphorically and materially.”

Brinda Bose and Prasanta Chakravorty, the professors of English at Delhi U. who began margH, comment to Caleb for her article: “We want to talk to as many people who are invested in the humanities and arts in as many different ways as possible, and to start / continue conversations, dialogues, monologues, arguments – to keep it churning and alive.”

Read the full article.

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