Justin Smith on the State of Humanities.

I liked this (especially the opening sequence about the symphony experience):

There is, at this point, nothing we in the humanities can ask students to do that is analogous to what must be asked of anyone who hopes to follow in the footsteps of Anne-Sophie Mutter. We cannot say to students: “Welcome. We are here to rewire your neurons. We are here to completely transform you from the inside so that everything you do with your body (and mind, but that’s an afterthought), every sensation and minute experience you have of your own capacities, will be entirely foreign from what you now know.” Increasingly, in fact, universities are clamoring to assure students that no such transformation will take place. They promise that they will complement the students’ already-existing strong points, fit themselves into the students’ busy schedules, speak to what the students already know, and so on. Many universities have by now practically adopted as their slogan: Come join us! No transformation required.