Debate: What’s the Value of a Humanities Education?
Posted on Sep 30, 2013
In a five-minute debate Monday produced by The Guardian, a prominent technologist and advocate for the inclusion of women in the tech economy told the paper’s art critic, Adrian Searle, that she wasted her youth on a languages degree, and that young Britons need to get with the “coding” revolution if they wish to pay off their university debts and be relevant to society.
Belinda Parmar, CEO of the U.K.-based campaigning tech agency Lady Geek, advances the view that technological literacy is the only important kind of literacy. Those who understand the complementary value of the arts and sciences are likely to find this narrow, almost totalitarian stance chilling.
Parmar’s delivery is stilted and robotic throughout the exchange, while Searle exhibits the cool, fluent grace of someone who both enjoyed his liberal studies courses and took them seriously. The comparison provides the start of an answer. Asking yourself whom you’d rather get lunch with may take you a little farther.
—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.