In The Rehumanizing, our time and efforts no longer primarily are consumed by finding our footing and climbing the mountain. We now have the comfort, stability, freedom, and luxury to focus on something different. We can choose to take on goals that are broader, deeper, more personal, and more holistic — in other words, more human.
The humanities will make many important contributions to the world, for sure, but there will be no arrival at a final destination, no resolution into a final perspective. But yet, to be a humanist is to be entranced by the analysis of those endless details, to be thrilled by uncovering successive layers of analysis.
Using both demolition and fabrication, we act to liberate ourselves and others both to think critically and to dream up a better world for us all.
In the interests of being transparent with prospective grad students about what they are getting themselves into, I would like to share the ugly truths I wish I knew before I went to a PhD program, and a few tips I learned along the way that might help others to survive the ordeal.
It’s a false dichotomy that more kindness means less rigor. Empowered, healthy scholars who were mentoring and supporting each other as a collective would likely be much more rigorous than a collection of competitive individualists who are at each others’ throats.
We need to make clear that humanistic scholarship has an entire toolkit that we can employ in the classroom for the benefit of the widest number of students. Some of those are critical tools, but there are also vital tools for empowerment, empathy, and meaning-making.