Arts and Sciences: The death of a beautiful relationship

Gail Hamner on climate change, fact and value, the hegemony of STEM in our neo-liberal universities, and non-communication between the art and sciences


  Earlier this calendar year I attended a university panel on how to teach successfully about climate change. I found the experience deeply unsettling, not because of the persons involved but because of what I take to be prevailing structural and discursive constraints and assumptions. I have allowed the experience to jostle about inside of me until the semester ended, not wanting to appear to criticize any of my colleagues who were involved in the event, who are all lovely persons.

None of the five panelists were humanists, though one was a journalism professor. The presentations were impassioned and factual. But none of them struck at the heart of the obstacles to teaching climate change, which to me involve not only acceptance of the facts but also a fundamental change in how we live our lives in relation to those facts. The structure of the conversations felt to me a victory for…

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About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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