Stanley Fish: What Are the Humanities Worth?

Author Stanley Fish spoke on “What are the Humanities Worth?” Sept. 21 in Memorial Chapel. The event was sponsored by Academic Affairs.

 

Fish, a professor of law from Florida International University in Miami, addressed the status of the humanities in the academy and in today’s world. Fish cited several authors on the topic including Georgia Tech professor Richard DeMillo, 17th century poet George Herbert, and New Yorker Magazine writer Louis Menand.

Fish has written for many of the country’s leading law journals, including Stanford Law Review, Duke Law Journal, Yale Law Journal and others. Professor Fish is the author of numerous books including "Professional Correctness: Literary Studies and Political Change" (1995); "The Trouble with Principle" (1999); and "How Milton Works" (2001).

Andrew Curran, dean of the Arts and Humanities, professor of French, introduced Professor Fish to the audience. "We're here to have a discussion about the humanities, and a discussion with one of the academy's finest thinkers," Curran said. "Stanley Fish is painting, sometimes a bleak picture, of the present, one where administrators and faculty marshal utilitarian arguments in favor of the humanities, misplaced arguments that fall on the deaf ears of other administrators or hypocritical and unqualified government officials who relish the power that they increasingly have over the academy. As a so-called 'opinionator,' he has pushed us to think about these matters and many others and we're delighted to have him here at Wesleyan." (Photos by Bill Tyner '13)