AAAS Report on Value of Humanities and Social Sciences

On June 19 the Amiercan Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS) released the report of its Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences, a group formed over two years ago in response to a request from members of Congress for a report that would respond to the following question:  What are the top ten actions that Congress, state governments, universities, foundations, educators, individual benefactors, and others should take now to maintain national excellence in humanities and social scientific scholarship and education, and to achieve long-term national goals for our intellectual and economic well-being; for a stronger, more vibrant civil society; and for the success of cultural diplomacy in the 21st century? 

Louis Cabot, Chair of the Academy Board, described the report in the following message to Academy Fellows:

I am pleased to announce that the Academy's Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences released its report The Heart of the Matter on Capitol Hill this morning.

Presented by Commission cochairs, Richard H. Brodhead, President of Duke University, and John Rowe, retired Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Exelon Corporation, The Heart of the Matter looks at the vital role of the humanities and social sciences in preparing Americans to be productive citizens of the United States and the world.

The report focuses on five areas of concern--K-12 Education; Two- and Four-Year Colleges; Research; Cultural Institutions and Lifelong Learning; and International Security and Competitiveness--and makes recommendations to achieve three goals:

  • Educate Americans in the knowledge, skills, and understanding needed to thrive in a 21st century democracy;
  • Foster an innovative, competitive, and strong society;
  • Equip the nation for leadership in an interconnected world.

Today's release of The Heart of the Matter launches a national conversation about the importance of the humanities and social sciences to America's future.

A short companion film, The Heart of the Matter, produced by Emmy Award-winning filmmakers Ewers Brothers Productions also was released today. Appearing in the film are producer, screenwriter, and director George Lucas, actor John Lithgow, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, among others.

The report, report brief, and film are available at www.humanitiescommission.org.

Several media outlets have reported on the release of The Heart of the Matter; links to stories in The New York Times; USA Today; and Time appear below:

  1. Humanities Committee Sounds an Alarm (The New York Times)
  2. Humanities, social sciences critical to our future: Column by Norman Augustine and David Skorton (USA Today)
  3. Critics of the Liberal Arts Are Wrong by Annette Gordon-Reed (TIME)

I am grateful to the Members of the Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences for undertaking this critical study and for preparing such a timely report. I invite all Fellows to take part in the important conversation that this report will surely stimulate.

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"An enigmatic message on a Roman gladiator's 1,800-year-old tombstone has finally been decoded, telling a treacherous tale. The epitaph and art on the tombstone suggest the gladiator, named Diodorus, lost the battle (and his life) due to a referee's error, according to Michael Carter, a professor at Brock University in St. Catharines, Canada. Carter studies gladiator contests and other spectacles in the eastern part of the Roman Empire." Read more at LiveScience.com…

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Mon, 06/20/2011 - 1:25pm by Information Architect.

"Jacques A. Bailly, an associate professor of classics at the University of Vermont, is the department's director of graduate studies. He has also been the official pronouncer of words at the Scripps National Spelling Bee since 2003. He won the annual bee as an eighth grader in 1980." Read the interview with Prof. Bailly at The Chronicle of Higher Education's web site.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Thu, 06/16/2011 - 3:37pm by Information Architect.

"NATO refused to say Tuesday whether or not it would bomb ancient Roman ruins in Libya if it knew Moammar Gadhafi was hiding military equipment there. 'We will strike military vehicles, military forces, military equipment or military infrastructure that threaten Libyan civilians as necessary,' a NATO official in Naples told CNN, declining to give his name in discussing internal NATO deliberations." Read more at CNN World online.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Tue, 06/14/2011 - 2:30pm by Information Architect.

The American Philological Association is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Ellen Bauerle of the University of Michigan Press as Editor, and Dr. Wells Hansen of Milton Academy as Assistant Editor, of Amphora, its Outreach publication, effective January 2012.

Ellen has for several years worked as the editor for classics and archaeology at the University of Michigan Press. She also oversees book production for the not-for-profit Michigan Classical Press, and in the past has created and sold ebooks on the web.  Recipient of a BA in Greek and English from Oberlin College, and an MA and PhD in Classics from the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, she has been an Eric P. Newman Fellow at the American Numismatic Society and Seymour Fellow at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens.  Ellen is delighted that Amphora is evolving to include the latest technologies, as additional ways of reaching its key constituencies among interested nonspecialists, scholars, teachers and students at the secondary level, and administrators.  

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Mon, 06/13/2011 - 6:27pm by .

Read Michael Collier's poem "Laelaps" and a critical essay about it by Lisa Russ Sparr at The Chronicle of Higher Education's web site.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Mon, 06/13/2011 - 2:29pm by Information Architect.

Got Latin? Got Greek?

View full article. | Posted in Degree and Certificate Programs on Fri, 06/10/2011 - 2:42pm by .

Delivered by Charlie Bridge (Class of 2011), a Classics Concentrator, at Harvard Commencement on May 27:

Rota Fortunae

Praeses Faust; Decani Professoresque sapientissimi; familiae, amici, et hospites honoratissimi; et tandem condiscipuli carissimi…salvete omnes!  Mihi voluptas magna atque honor altus est huius ceremoniae incipiendae in hoc theatro augusto Trecentensimo.  Nec solum conventum ultimum classis nostrae, anni duomillensimi et undecimi, sed etiam conventum trecentensimum et sexagensimum huius universitatis hodie celebramus. 

Hoc cum animadvertissem gaudebam, propter sensum singularem numeri trecenti et sexaginta.  Ne mihi quidem, litterarum antiquarum discipulo, latere potest orbem omnem in partes trecentas et sexaginta esse divisum.  Venit etiam in mentem orbis quidam praecipuus, qui vitas nostras hos quattuor annos rexit: Rota scilicet Fortunae Harvardiana.  Temporibus antiquis, rota signum erat levis mobilisque naturae fatorum – circuitus vel unus cladem felicissimis afferre atque miseros extollere potest.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Tue, 06/07/2011 - 7:05pm by Information Architect.

"One of the best preserved sculptures from Roman antiquity is about to make its Washington, D.C., debut. Host Scott Simon reports the Capitoline Venus will go on display next Wednesday at the National Gallery of Art." Read or listen to the story at NPR.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Sun, 06/05/2011 - 12:27pm by Information Architect.

"Listening to Cynthia Shelmerdine describe the writing on a Greek tablet from more than 3,000 years ago, it’s like she was looking over the scribe’s shoulder as he worked. She points out details and nuance of technique, the condition of the tablet and what it means, literally, and for the world of Greek archaeology." Read more …

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Fri, 06/03/2011 - 3:58pm by Information Architect.

"An ancient Roman shipwreck nearly 2,000 years old may once have held an aquarium onboard capable of carrying live fish, archaeologists suggest." Read more at CBSNews.com.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Thu, 06/02/2011 - 5:37pm by Information Architect.

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