Members of Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences discussed proposed changes to Harvard’s language requirement and simultaneous enrollment policies at a virtual meeting Tuesday.
Harvard’s Language Exchange Program received a multi-thousand-dollar grant from the Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging to expand the reach of its language-learning platform.
Hosted by Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, the event — entitled “Ethics of Digital Transformation” — also featured professors studying in a variety of disciplines from both American and German universities.
Though the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences has yet to approve a proposed special joint concentration with Germanic Languages and Literatures, the German department has been aggressively publicizing the initiative, often “jumping the gun” and referring to the proposal as a done deal, according to German Department Chair John T. Hamilton.
Bettina Stoetzer, assistant professor at MIT, lectures on German literature to the audience. Last Friday, an interdisciplinary conference called "Vampire Vibes: The Dark Side of Modern Culture" was held on problematics of identity, deviance, and power in modern history, literature, and media.
The universe of higher education often bemoans a "crisis" in the humanities, with supposedly dwindling numbers and few job prospects. At Harvard, humanities concentrators face a crisis of choice, attempting to balance their passions with factors like stability and employment. For Harvard graduates, the question is not so much whether you’ll get a job with a humanities degree—it’s where.
Recently, national news outlets have declared a crisis of the humanities. But at Harvard, the plot gets more complicated. The challenges facing Harvard's humanities necessitate changes to course offerings far more than the core of the humanistic enterprise.