Thursday, November 21, 2013

"The more technologically sophisticated we are, the more deeply we need to understand one another. [We need] to teach people empathy, because empathy does not come naturally; to encourage curiosity in broad and diverse ways. And the humanities does those things," says Obermann Director Teresa Mangum in a new film, The Centrality of the Humanities, produced by the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities at Vanderbilt University. A diverse array of speakers -- humanities faculty, scientists, and politicians -- champion the importance of the humanities not only to undergraduate education but across our society. The film documents the current status of a the humanities, a situation some of have called a crisis, with statistics, which show that the federal spending for the humanities is now below the amount allocated in 1972. At the same time, the film offers a vivid account of the many ways organizations like the Warren Center and the Obermann Center support scholarly research, encourage groundbreaking collaborations, and help campuses create intellectual community.