O Humanities!

This opinion piece from the NY Times relates obliquely to our discussion of Benjamin’s “The Storyteller” this and last week. The author, an English professor from Brown, passionately defends the value of literature over and against the “STEM” fields (science, technology, engineering, and math), arguing that the latter are primarily “informational,” whereas the humanities concern themselves with questions of value.

Interestingly, Weinstein opposes novels to STEM modes of inquiry in ways that are closely analogous to the way Benjamin opposes traditional storytelling to the news. In that way, it’s the novel that’s the cultural form that’s under threat and, thus, reveals an unexpected beauty/value, just as oral storytelling did for Benjamin in 1936.