PUBLIC VALUE OF THE HUMANITIES, THE
BLOOMSBURY PUBLISHING PLC
27 JAN 2011
Recession is a time for asking fundamental questions about value. At a time when governments are being forced to make swingeing savings in public expenditure, why should they continue to invest public money funding research into ancient Greek tragedy, literary value, philosophical conundrums or the aesthetics of design? Does such research deliver 'value for money' and 'public benefit'? Such questions have become especially pertinent in the UK in recent years, in the context of the drive by government to instrumentalize research across the disciplines and the prominence of discussions about 'economic impact' and 'knowledge transfer'. In this book a group of distinguished humanities researchers, all working in Britain, but publishing research of international importance, reflect on the public value of their discipline, using particular research projects as case-studies. Their essays are passionate, sometimes polemical, often witty and consistently thought-provoking, covering a range of humanities disciplines from theology to architecture and from media studies to anthropology.
Introduction; Part One: Learning from the Past: The Long View Jonathan Bate; Fram, Trackers and Classics: Classical Scholarship and the Staging of Ancient Greek Drama Mary Beard; The Value of Archaeological Research Mike Parker Pearson; The Literary Heritage and National Identity Robert Hampson; Why Religious History Matters John Wolffe; The Value of Genoicide Studies Jurgen Zimmerer; 'This is a Local Film': The Cultural and Social Impact of the Mitchell and Kenyon Film Collection Vanessa Toulmin; Literary Research and the Conduct of Life: Nineteenth Century Debates on the Value of the Humanities Francis O'Gorman. Part Two: Looking Around Us: Architecture: Why Society Needs Researchers to Think About Building and the Built Environment Iain Borden; Architectural History: Research into Buildings and their Places Deborah Howard; Landscape, Environment and Heritage Stephen Daniels and Ben Cowell; Making a Home: English Culture and English Landscape Matthew Johnson; Accidental Haiku: The Educational Value of Thinking about Poetry and Landscape Together Catherine Brace; A Museum Perspective: The Centrality of Research to the Work of Museums and the Creation of Exhibitions Christopher Breward; 'All this Useless Beauty': The Hidden Value of Research in Art and Design Mike Press; 'Sorting the Sheep from the Sheep': The Relationship between Academic Research and the Creative Industries Richard Howells. Part Three: Using Words, Thinking Hard: Why Socio-Linguistics Matters April McMahon et al; Communication and Community: How Language Research May Contribute to Social Cohesion John Joseph; The Art of Evaluation: The Value of Literary Criticism Ronan McDonald; 'And Your Point Is...?' What is Anthropology and Why Does it Matter? Chris Gosden; Philosophy and the Quest for the Unpredictable: Why Society Benefits from the Sorts of Questions that Philosophy Asks Nicholas Davey; Bibliography; Index