[Milton-L] Culturomics? Genome?

Gilliatt, Cynthia Ann - gilliaca gilliaca at jmu.edu
Fri Dec 17 12:45:08 EST 2010

"It may not bear directly on Milton, though I personally find this thread rather more interesting than the silly business about the so-called Christmas card. I think with this list, as with other scholarly listservs, some latitude is appropriate if there is genuine, serious, scholarly content, of the sort that might well be of interest to list members. The question of inappropriate posts to the list has come up before, but with better cause."

I think it is of interest, especially to those of you teaching at public institutions that depend heavily on state budgets.  

The reason?  The folks who allocate those funds are usually not academics, and if they have a degree beyond the BA, it's likely a law degree.  In Virginia, at least, these folks tend to be, um, pragmatic about higher eduation. Higher education exists, in their minds, as a way to supply an educated work force, ideally, in four years, resulting in graduates armed with skills for 'the real world.'  

Case in point, in January, when the General ASS meets, in January, the governor will release the results of a 'blue ribbon' * panal's recomendations for higher eductaion. He's released some parts of this, including funding differentials between majors that result in technical and scienctific majors and degrees, boosting the former by defunding what he calls "road-to-nowhere" majors.  Guess which those might be?  

So one strategy for the humanities might be to appear to be more technologically oriented than not.  Thus quantitative research, using computers, borrowing language from the sciences and pseudo science might be one approach. This would be in line with the wholssale quantification of K - 12, education, with high stakes standardized testing and rote memorization. 

And we all know how THAT has contributed to incurious studnets who don't have a clue how to write or think, not even "inside the box.' 

Snideness aside, I think if we want to preserve the humanitees, we  should know the risks.  Perhaps, like our Attirney General's hyperactivity, this is a problem only in Virginia, but I fear not.


* Are there ever other-colored panals?

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