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Not for Profit

Why Democracy Needs the Humanities
Martha Nussbaum | Co-speaker: Liesbeth Korthals Altes

The value of the arts is no longer self-evident, nor is research and education in the arts. According to Nussbaum, this is due to the dominant focus on national economic growth.

In her book Not for Profit Martha Nussbaum addresses the question of the value of the arts and the humanities in society. In recent years, this question has been in the center of public debates in the Netherlands, since the government decided to cut about one fifth of the subsidies on arts and culture. While supporters of the government plans asked why taxpayers should contribute to someone else’s ‘hobbies’, opponents organized themselves in a ‘March for Civilization’ and a ‘Cry for Culture’.These debates point to the fact that the value of the arts is no longer self-evident, nor is research and education in the arts. According to Nussbaum, this is due to the dominant focus on national economic growth. We increasingly treat education as though its primary goal were to teach students to be economically productive rather than to think critically and become knowledgeable and empathetic citizens. In response to this dire situation, Nussbaum argues that we must resist efforts to reduce education to a tool of the gross national product. Rather, we must work to reconnect education to the humanities in order to give people the capacity to be true democratic citizens of their countries and the world.

Martha C. Nussbaum is Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the Law School and Philosophy Department of The University of Chicago. She is one of the most famous contemporary philosophers, and her books are read and translated all over the globe. Many of her works have also been translated into Dutch, such as Oplevingen van het denken (2006), Niet voor de winst (2010), Mogelijkheden scheppen (2012) and most recently De nieuwe religieuze intolerantie (2013).

Liesbeth Korthals Altes is Professor of Comparative Literature and Literary Theory at the department of Arts, Culture and Media, and Director of the Groningen Research Institute for the Study of Culture (ICOG) of the University of Groningen.

This lecture is organized by the department of Arts, Culture and Media of the University of Groningen, in cooperation with Studium Generale. It is part of the anniversary program 'Arts and Humanities: Of(f) Course', which further contains an international conference and a debate with prof. Nussbaum and (cultural) scientists. For more information: www.rug.nl/let/offcourse.

After the lecture, Martha Nussbaum will sign her books in the Scholtens + De Slegte book stand.

Interesting links
Website Martha Nussbaum at the University of Chicago
Wikipedia Martha Nussbaum
YouTube: The Value of the Humanities
YouTube: Dutch tv programme on Beauty and Consolation

 

Zie ook

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Nederlands

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