Fears for the Humanities in British Universities.

Interesting article in the Guardian this weekend – always lots to think about when we think about the purpose of the humanities and/or the way it is funded: Currently fixed in the crosshairs are the disciplines of the humanities – arts, languages and social sciences – which have suffered swingeing funding cuts and been ignored by a government bent on promoting the modish, revenue-generating Stem (science, technology, engineering, maths) subjects. The liberal education which seeks Continue Reading →

How do you defend the humanities?

Interesting debate tying into the bigger question of what are universities for – is it just about finding a job, or is there something more important going on there? A leading critic of government higher education policy has launched a stinging attack on the University of Oxford, accusing it of being disingenuous in its arguments in favour of the humanities. Stefan Collini, professor of English literature and intellectual history at the University of Cambridge, attacked Continue Reading →

Open Access Journals: Desirable and Inevitable?

Interesting piece from Times Higher Education: We continue to witness a lot of back and forth between publishers and open-access advocates about the merits of Research Councils UK’s open-access policy – but where does it leave journal editors? Some have echoed the publishers’ fears that open access will ruin their business models or undermine journal quality by scaring off top international authors. But not all editors share this view. I co-edit two humanities journals: one, Shakespeare, Continue Reading →

Humanities: Key

The importance of humanities – it’s not all about ‘science’: Given the range and complexity of global challenges, the marginalisation of the humanities in educational systems seems perverse. After all, the humanities are devoted to the study of the human condition and the ways in which individual and collective subjectivities contribute to shaping and improving it. For centuries the humanities were at the heart of education, and the study of art, history, languages and literature Continue Reading →


There’s space for interdisciplinarity – but is it happening? Policymakers focusing on science’s utility have consigned the humanities to a supporting role, but scholars in each of the ‘two cultures’ understand that they share a love of discovery and capacity for wonder, says Martin Willis I thought that we had, at last, left behind the “two cultures”: that phrase which, ever since C. P. Snow’s 1959 Rede Lecture, has served as shorthand for a divide Continue Reading →

Humanities Postgraduates? Preserve of the Rich?

I received a small bursary from the University of Winchester in order to undertake my history PhD … is such a possibility going to become the exclusive preserve of large institutions with huge reserves of money/gifting? I gained a huge amount from being a part of the department, rather than a cog in the wheel! The University of Oxford has received a multi-million-pound gift for postgraduate humanities study aimed at the world’s most promising scholars Continue Reading →

Humanities Research 'Surfdom'

As someone who was involved in early digital humanities research (building a database of wartime propaganda posters in order to be able to identify themes/patterns in the posters), this story is really interesting: We are now witnessing what Martin Wynne, Oxford University Computing Services liaison at the Oxford e-Research Centre, describes as “a move from research leave to research grants, with academics required to hire staff and manage teams”. This is obviously more congenial to Continue Reading →

White Paper: rules may favour the humanities

The government’s new higher education policies could cut student places in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects and create extra places in cheaper arts and humanities disciplines, vice-chancellors have warned. A number of senior sector figures are concerned that the core-margin system, unveiled in the government’s higher education White Paper, will deduct places from high-cost STEM subjects and allocate them to cheaper institutions more likely to offer lower-cost arts and humanities places. Critics also Continue Reading →