Humanities in peril/at work

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Jean-Marc Mangin
Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

There is a well known discourse that humanities are less relevant and a luxury in a globalized, violent and competitive world to prepare young minds to the dog-eat-dog technological society that they are facing. To the contrary, humanities are more needed than ever to develop nimble, agile and critical minds in a complex world.

This week, I was fortunate to come across one real live example of the relevance of the humanities when Carleton University signed a MOU with the new University of Central Asia to support the Aga Khan Humanities Project.

The Governments in Central Asia often view  the humanities with a great deal of dangerous to their powers and as a western concept (Iran just restricted the teaching of humanities and social sciences).

Grounded in the rich regional context and cultures, the University of Central Asia aims to challenge a Manichean view of the world by encouraging rigorous and critical thinking to address the inequality, exclusion and poverty which remain rampant. The emergence of this development institution constitutes a good news and hopeful story from a corner of the world which Canadians know little about.  I salute Carleton University contribution in partnering with the University of Central Asia.