Event Title

Soupbone: Toward Public and Collective Humanities

Presenter Information

Phoebe Pan, Oberlin College

Location

Virtual presentation

Document Type

Presentation

Start Date

4-27-2020 8:00 AM

End Date

5-2-2020 5:00 PM

Abstract

“What good are the humanities?” This question has proven a complicated and difficult one to answer. For many humanities majors entering the workforce after graduation, there seems to be little direct correlation between what one studies in the classroom and what one will do after graduating, aside from carrying over nebulous “applied skills.” On the other hand, for the few who choose to enter academia, responses to this question can feel increasingly distanced from the so-called “real world” of vocational work, natural sciences, and business-driven ventures. Most defenses of the humanities appear in publications like The Chronicle of Higher Education, with articles written by professors and tenured faculty, but few engage with what the humanities actually mean to undergraduates and those outside of academic circles. I began this project with two goals in mind: 1) to make academia—specifically, literary studies—more accessible and comprehensible to general audiences without sacrificing the rigor and nuances of academic practice, and 2) to discuss the humanities in ways that include acts of living, whether those are humble, daily experiences or monumental contemporary events. My presentation will cover illuminating conversations I’ve had with fellow undergraduates, as well as this project’s transformation from a monthly email newsletter into a cross-disciplinary humanities collective. Soupbone is a gesture toward the intrinsic value of the humanities, and simultaneously, toward their indispensable relation to the world at large.

Keywords:

Literature, Literary studies, Academia, Humanities, Public humanities, Higher education

Notes

Click here to view this presentation at the Office of Undergraduate Research website from April 27-May 2, 2020.

Major

English

Project Mentor(s)

Laura Baudot, English

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Apr 27th, 8:00 AM May 2nd, 5:00 PM

Soupbone: Toward Public and Collective Humanities

Virtual presentation

“What good are the humanities?” This question has proven a complicated and difficult one to answer. For many humanities majors entering the workforce after graduation, there seems to be little direct correlation between what one studies in the classroom and what one will do after graduating, aside from carrying over nebulous “applied skills.” On the other hand, for the few who choose to enter academia, responses to this question can feel increasingly distanced from the so-called “real world” of vocational work, natural sciences, and business-driven ventures. Most defenses of the humanities appear in publications like The Chronicle of Higher Education, with articles written by professors and tenured faculty, but few engage with what the humanities actually mean to undergraduates and those outside of academic circles. I began this project with two goals in mind: 1) to make academia—specifically, literary studies—more accessible and comprehensible to general audiences without sacrificing the rigor and nuances of academic practice, and 2) to discuss the humanities in ways that include acts of living, whether those are humble, daily experiences or monumental contemporary events. My presentation will cover illuminating conversations I’ve had with fellow undergraduates, as well as this project’s transformation from a monthly email newsletter into a cross-disciplinary humanities collective. Soupbone is a gesture toward the intrinsic value of the humanities, and simultaneously, toward their indispensable relation to the world at large.