On Friday, 21 March, What about the humanities? A report on the situation of the humanities in Norway (pdf)
was presented to Minister of Education Torbjørn Røe Isaksen at a launch seminar in the Fritt Ord offices.
What is the status of the humanities in Norway today? What kind of legitimacy do the humanities carry in Norwegian society? What type of role should the humanities play in the public space? What can be done to reinvigorate the humanities and render their social significance visible? Are the humanities in crisis?
In an attempt to answer these questions, this report offers assessments of international debates about the humanities, a review of the history of the concept of the humanities in Norway and of the place of the humanities in Norway's research and educational system, interviews with a group of social players and an overview of arguments often mobilised in defence of the humanities.
The report identifies four areas in which there is a great deal at stake for the humanities' social contract: ”The public and education”, ”The national and the global”, ”Usefulness and preparedness”, ”Views on science and distinctive character”, and it advocates a notion of the humanities as a form of scientific preparedness that better equips us to cope with crises, the unexpected, uncertainty and coincidence.
Finally, it suggests possible changes of course and measures to strengthen the humanities in Norway in their encounters with the challenges of today and tomorrow.