Humanistic Inclusion: The Case for the Humanities in the Gulf

Dr. Christopher K. Brown (Zayed University, UAE)

Learning and Teaching in Higher Education: Gulf Perspectives

ISSN: 2077-5504

Article publication date: 1 December 2008

Issue publication date: 1 December 2008

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One potential lesson to be learned from the academic “culture wars” of the past few decades, regardless of which position one prefers, is that the humanities as a discipline continue to matter, perhaps more so than ever in a multi-cultural, globalized world. The systematic marginalization, even elimination, of the humanistic disciplines available represents a significant weakness for education in the Gulf; bolstering the study of the humanities – including literature, philosophy, and art history – offers a proven route towards achieving certain goals publicly avowed as priorities for education in the region. This paper proposes that engaging the humanities builds an awareness and appreciation of otherness; encourages abstract (critical) thinking; fosters language development; and, perhaps most importantly, asks students to be inspired by great ideas beautifully rendered. To become a knowledge-based society, a culture of reading deeply and independently needs to be cultivated. To empower students to become lifelong learners requires that they are, by default, lifelong readers. Furthermore, I propose that in an unsettling time of growth, change and challenges in the region, there is a reassuring possibility for humanistic inclusion that transcends the standard categories of identity politics. Students in the Gulf, just as readers everywhere else in this human world, can be shown that there is more to unite us than to divide us.


Brown, C.K. (2008), "Humanistic Inclusion: The Case for the Humanities in the Gulf", Learning and Teaching in Higher Education: Gulf Perspectives, Vol. 5 No. 2, pp. 26-37.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008 Dr. Christopher K. Brown


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Publisher's note: The Publisher would like to inform the reader that the article “Humanistic Inclusion: The Case for the Humanities in the Gulf ” has changed pagination. Previous pagination was pp. 1-12. The updated pagination for the article is now pp. 26-37. The Publisher apologises for any inconvenience caused.

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