Threat to a humanities education


Fall 1942 - Threat to a humanities education

As Canada becomes further entrenched in the Second World War, the Canadian government feels the need to focus all efforts on victory. To this end, there is a proposal that university education be limited to only those fields essential to the war effort for its duration. Some corners praise the plan, but academics worry that a rigid interpretation of “essential” will short-sightedly hamper Canada’s cultural development and limit the intellectual horizons of its citizens. A committee of the Royal Society of Canada, chaired by Watson Kirkconnell, presents a memorandum to the government deploring this plan. The Canadian Social Science Research Council also advises the government that education in the humanities and social sciences is indeed essential. In January 1943, the proposal is abandoned.