Humanities, Social Sciences, and the Urgency of Public Relevance
Ramakrishnan, S. Karthick. 2014. “Humanities, Social Sciences, and the Urgency of Public Relevance,” Journal of Asian American Studies 17(1): 91–94.
6 Pages Posted: 10 Jul 2013 Last revised: 26 Aug 2015
Date Written: July 9, 2013
Divisions between humanistic and social science approaches to Asian American studies play against a backdrop of a widespread devaluation of research and teaching in the liberal arts. There are a host of larger, structural reasons for this predicament, but the insulation of the academy is also partly to blame.
In order to improve matters, we need to engage more meaningfully with external audiences, and universities need to find better ways to reward such outreach. This is particularly true for public institutions of higher learning, as legislators and taxpayers have a dim understanding of the work we do. Thus, the interdisciplinary problem confronting Asian American studies goes beyond simply needing a bigger, more welcoming tent for scholarship; it also requires greater public outreach by faculty regardless of their discipline or topic.
Keywords: humanities, social sciences, liberal arts, public engagement, outreach
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