Should We Teach Classics for All? The Politics of Humanities Education in Asia-Pacific Universities
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AbstractThe advocacy of teaching classics might seem odd at the time when neo-liberalism has gradually conquered the minds of universities’ administrators and government officials. At the age of humanity subjects facing budget cuts all around the world, the move to launch a compulsory classics course to all undergraduates would be a very rare curriculum reform that inevitably triggers debates not only on the cost-effectiveness from the viewpoints of managerialism and bureaucratic rationality, but also on its apparently conservative and paternalistic implications.

That is to say, for those university practitioners who teach classics for the purpose of general education, there are two frontlines of the battleground at the same time. On one hand, as universities are situated at the centre of neoliberal politics of education, the claim of promoting general education curriculum on humanity classics unavoidably attracts criticisms from supporters of professional and vocational education. Teaching humanities would be conceived as useless for economic development.

On the other hand, despite the recent crisis of humanities education, some might still conceive that launching a core-text programme is a conservative response to the dominance of neo-liberalism and managerialism in higher education. In this connection, critics might argue that the traditional ideals of liberal arts education somehow embody an essentialist form of knowledge, which is likely to be Eurocentric and paternalistic, and thus insensitive to the power relation between teacher and students.

This paper will examine how Asia-Pacific universities respond to those politics and ethical dilemma in launching core-text programs under pressures between the neo-liberal dominance and the criticisms of its opposition.
All Author(s) ListLEUNG Cheuk Hang
Name of ConferenceThe 45th Annual Conference of Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia (2015)
Start Date of Conference05/12/2015
End Date of Conference08/12/2015
Place of ConferenceAustralia Catholic University, Melbourne
Country/Region of ConferenceAustralia
LanguagesEnglish-United Kingdom
KeywordsTeaching Classics; Humanities Education; Asia-Pacific Universities

Last updated on 2021-07-05 at 11:06