© 2024 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
WPKT · WRLI-FM · WEDW-FM · Public Files Contact
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Does High Unemployment Mean the Humanities Should Be Dumped?

Chion Wolf / WNPR

From Faith Middleton: More institutions of higher learning have shuttle busses to the nearest corporate high rises.

While it is understandable in a time of high unemployment to think about practical careers, it appears more people, including some entrepreneurial university administrators, think it's time to leave the “fluffy stuff” for hobby hour. That fluffy stuff would include literature, philosophy, languages, the arts and history—what we call the humanities. (Or, the stuff that hangs around long after we're dead.) Possibly the new rules of the road go something like this: read Michener before bed, and call it a day.

Gina Barreca, a professor at The University of Connecticut, wrote a column defending the humanities for The Hartford Courant. It was highly read and commented upon by online readers. To sum it up, Barreca thinks dumping the humanities isn't such a hot idea. One of her more memorable lines is, “The study of literature (poetry) can be justified by the fact that nobody ever charmed a girl by reciting an equation.”

Dr. Barreca is a tenured literature professor, feminist scholar, and author of eight books. But Gina's greatest achievement, in my view, was being selected for induction into The Friar's Club in New York; you know, the place where comedians have all those fiery discussions over dinner about trigonometry and quarks, the useful stuff of life.

Join the conversation by email, on Twitter, or on Facebook.


  • Gina Barreca is a women's humorist, writer, speaker, and professor of feminist theory.


  • “Gne Gne,” Montefiori Cocktail
  • “What’d I Say,” Ray Charles
  • “Where It's At,” Beck

Lori Connecticut Public's Morning Edition host.
Jonathan is a producer for ‘The Colin McEnroe Show.’ His work has been heard nationally on NPR and locally on Connecticut Public’s talk shows and news magazines. He’s as likely to host a podcast on minor league baseball as he is to cover a presidential debate almost by accident. Jonathan can be reached at jmcnicol@ctpublic.org.
For more than 25 years, the two-time Peabody Award-winning Faith Middleton Show has been widely recognized for fostering insightful, thought-provoking conversation. Faith Middleton offers her listeners some of the world's most fascinating people and subjects. The show has been inducted into the Connecticut Magazine Hall of Fame as "Best Local Talk Show".

Stand up for civility

This news story is funded in large part by Connecticut Public’s Members — listeners, viewers, and readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

We hope their support inspires you to donate so that we can continue telling stories that inform, educate, and inspire you and your neighbors. As a community-supported public media service, Connecticut Public has relied on donor support for more than 50 years.

Your donation today will allow us to continue this work on your behalf. Give today at any amount and join the 50,000 members who are building a better—and more civil—Connecticut to live, work, and play.

Related Content