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SUNY-Geneseo: The Future of the Humanities

March 23, 2023 @ 4:00 pm

A Reading from Homer

On March 23, 2023, the Forum on Constitutionalism and Democracy at SUNY-Geneseo will be hosting Eric Adler to give a lecture on the value and future of the humanities, and on the way that the study of the humanities should (and should not) be defended today.

The humanities are not faring well on campus these days; enrollment drops and decreases in majors have even led some institutions of higher learning to axe various humanities departments. To reverse this trend, a recent spate of books and articles has attempted to defend the humanities’ role in US education. But how strong are these defenses? This lecture will contend that recent apologetics for the humanities, although well-intentioned, focus far too much attention on the humanities’ purported ability to inculcate various skills in students, such as “critical thinking.” By examining an earlier dispute in US higher education over the role of the humanities, it will argue that skills-based defenses are doomed to failure. The lecture provides a more historically informed and content-based defense of the humanities, which highlights their unique role in character formation and human flourishing.

Friday, March 23, 2023, 4:00 PM ET
Doty, 300 Tower Room • SUNY-Geneseo

Click here to learn more >>



Dr. Eric Adler is Professor and Chair of Classics at the University of Maryland.  He received his Ph.D. in classical studies from Duke University, and has also taught at Rice University, the University of Minnesota, and Connecticut College.  His scholarly interests include Roman historiography, Latin prose, the history of classical scholarship, and the history of the humanities.  He is the author of numerous articles as well as three books: The Battle of the Classics: How a Nineteenth-Century Debate Can Save the Humanities Today (Oxford University Press, 2020); Classics, the Culture Wars, and Beyond (University of Michigan Press, 2016); and Valorizing the Barbarians: Enemy Speeches in Roman Historiography (University of Texas Press, 2011).  His fourth book, an edited collection called Humanistic Letters: The Irving Babbitt – Paul Elmer More Correspondence, is forthcoming from the University of Missouri Press.

Learn more about Eric Adler >>



The Forum on Constitutionalism and Democracy at SUNY-Geneseo was established in 2019 by Professors Carly Herold and Aaron Herold to establish programming and foster campus conversations about civic education and liberal democracy.  The Forum is supported by a grant from the Jack Miller Center for Teaching America’s Founding Principles and History.



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March 23, 2023
4:00 pm
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