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人文科学的兴衰

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译者:yuanchan
发布:2017-05-12 16:40:18 挑错

In the past few years, I’ve taught nonfiction writing to undergraduates and graduate students at Harvard, Yale, and Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism. Each semester I hope, and fear, that I will have nothing to teach my students because they already know how to write. And each semester I discover, again, that they don’t.

过去几年里,我在哈佛、耶鲁和哥伦比亚大学的新闻学院,教授本科生和研究生非小说类文学写作。每学期我都希望同时也担心,我将没有什么能教给学生们的,因为他们已经熟知如何写作。然而每学期我都再一次发现,他们并不会写作。

The teaching of the humanities has fallen on hard times. So says a new report on the state of the humanities by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and so says the experience of nearly everyone who teaches at a college or university. Undergraduates will tell you that they’re under pressure — from their parents, from the burden of debt they incur, from society at large — to choose majors they believe will lead as directly as possible to good jobs. Too often, that means skipping the humanities.

人文科学的教学已陷入困境。美国文理科学院一篇有关人文科学状况的新报导如是说,几乎每一位在大学或学院有过任教经历的人如是说。本科生会向你诉说他们所面临的压力——压力来自父母、学费导致的债务、整个社会——这将致使他们选择更有助于直接找到好工作的专业,而这常常意味着他们不会选择人文科学。

In other words, there is a new and narrowing vocational emphasis in the way students and their parents think about what to study in college.

换言之,学生和父母在考虑选择大学专业时,会有不同程度范围更窄的职业侧重。

There is a certain literal-mindedness in the recent shift away from the humanities. It suggests a number of things.

现如今的转变有某种重实用轻人文的趋势,这预示着一些问题。

One, the rush to make education pay off presupposes that only the most immediately applicable skills are worth acquiring. Two, the humanities often do a bad job of explaining why the humanities matter. And three, the humanities often do a bad job of teaching the humanities.

其一,急于看到所受教育的回报,预设了只有最直接的应用技术才值得学习;其二,人文科学本身没有很好地解释为何人文科学很重要;其三,人文科学本身教授得也不够好。

What many undergraduates do not know — and what so many of their professors have been

unable to tell them — is how valuable the most fundamental gift of the humanities will turn out to be. That gift is clear thinking, clear writing and a lifelong engagement with literature.

很多本科生不知道的是,很多他们的教授没能告诉他们的是,人文科学最根本的精髓原来有多么宝贵!这种精髓是思路清晰、行文简明,及终身与文学结缘。

Writing well used to be a fundamental principle of the humanities, as essential as the knowledge of mathematics and statistics in the sciences. But writing well isn’t merely a utilitarian skill. It is about developing a rational grace and energy in your conversation with the world around you.

擅长写作曾是人文科学的基本原则,和理科的数学、统计学一样必不可缺。但擅长写作如今不仅仅是实用技能,它关乎你在和周围世界相处时,养成的一种理性的魅力和活力。


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