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Two Harvard professors are involved in the creation of a National Humanities Center designed to give additional support to research in the humanities and counterbalance financial cutbacks in that area during the last decade.
Harvey Brooks, Pierce Professor of Technology and Public Policy, and Morton W. Bloomfield, Porter Professor of English, are taking an active role in planning the center, which will open in September 1978 in North Carolina.
The main purpose of the center will be to provide a focus for the humanities and an opportunity for serious scholars in the humanities to do short-term research, Brooks, a member of the center's executive committee, said yesterday. "We hope to see this as a national center to serve a national purpose," Brooks said.
Bloomfield, a member of the board of trustees of the center, said yesterday that he expects the center to mean "a great deal to the humanistic element," because it will try to bring the humanities into the mainstream of American life.
The center will draw on people from the sciences and social sciences who possess "a humanistic frame of mind," Bloomfield said. People from government, business and the media will work on specific projects at the center.
Harvard faculty members expressed a variety of reactions to the new center yesterday.
James S. Ackerman, professor of Fine Arts, said that he sees the center as a very useful thing for people who work with words and manuscripts.
However, Ackerman said, the amount of available funding for the humanities has grown enormously in recent years with the establishment of the National Endowment for the Humanities in Washington, D.C.
Since work in the humanities is not as expensive as that in the natural sciences, additional funding is not as vital in that area, Ackerman said.
But Paul D. Hanson, professor of the Old Testament, said yesterday he feels that the humanities have suffered even more than most academic fields from the financial cutbacks over the last eight years.
Hanson said that because work in the humanities is usually very longterm, the effects of cutbacks cannot be seen as clearly as the effects of cutbacks in the natural sciences
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