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Anomalies and opportunities

This is the first book-length study of the humanities from Newman to Bologna in the Irish context. It focuses on unique characteristics of university policy in the National University that constrained humanities education. Ireland was a deeply religious country throughout the twentieth century but the colleges of its National University never established a theology or religion department. The official first language of Ireland is Irish but virtually all teaching in the Arts and Humanities is in English. The book examines the influence of such anomalies on humanities education and on Irish society in general. Has the humanities ethos of the Irish University departed radically from the educational ideals of John Henry Newman, its most illustrious ‘founder’? The book re-examines Newman’s vision for the university as well as responses to the 1908 Universities Act. It investigates how leading Irish educationalists and cultural theorists such as Padraig, Pearse, Denis Donoghue, J. J. Lee, Declan Kiberd and Richard Kearney nurtured an Irish humanities perspective in response to more established humanities traditions associated with F. R. Leavis, Edward Said, and Martha Nussbaum. The book employs a comparative approach in examining recent humanities movements such as Irish Studies and postcolonial studies. Humanities debates from other national contexts such as France, the US, and Asia are examined in light of influential work on the university by Samuel Weber, Immanuel Kant, Pierre Bourdieu and Jacques Derrida. This book will appeal to the general public and to students and scholars of Irish education, history and cultural theory.

Michael O’Sullivan

This chapter examines the nature of the humanities in the Irish context. It looks at four influential approaches to the University in coming to a definition of the humanities. The writers discussed in regard to the four perspectives on the humanities are Samuel Weber, Immanuel Kant, Pierre Bourdieu, and Petrus Ramus. The chapter also examines the debate on whether religion is a recognised subject in the humanities.

in The humanities and the Irish university
Michael O’Sullivan

This chapter examines influential anomalies in Irish education that constrained humanities education. It focuses on the language and religion questions. Ireland was a deeply religious country throughout the twentieth century but the colleges of its National University never established a theology or religion department. The official first language of Ireland is Irish but the vast majority of teaching in the Arts and Humanities is in English. These were two of the factors that constrained humanities education throughout the century.

in The humanities and the Irish university
Michael O’Sullivan

This chapter examines the educational ideals of John Henry Newman in relation to the humanities model that was later put in place by the Irish Universities Act of 1908. Newman is regarded today as the “founder” of Ireland’s largest university, UCD, however the later college of the National College departed quite radically from the programme for education that Newman described at the founding of the Catholic University in 1854. This chapter also examines reaction to the 1908 Act and Padraig Pearse’s ideas on university education.

in The humanities and the Irish university
Michael O’Sullivan

This chapter examines key debates and movements in the humanities subjects in Irish universities since the forties. The first section examines Irish language criticism in demonstrating how important the language question was for education in literature and philosophy in the university up to the seventies. New movements in the humanities subjects in Ireland such as Irish Studies and postcolonialism are also assessed in light of influential work by Declan Kiberd, Richard Kearney and others. This section looks towards an Irish humanities ethos by contrasting the practice of the Irish humanities with that espoused by F. R. Leavis in relation to the English tradition.

in The humanities and the Irish university
Michael O’Sullivan

This chapter examines recent work on the university and the humanities in relation to the French university system and the Asian university system. The influential work of Pierre Bourdieu and Jacques Derrida on the university is examined in detail in order to point to important differences between the French and the Irish regard for the humanities. The final section discusses the recent rise in influence of the Asian humanities model in relation to the Irish university.

in The humanities and the Irish university
Michael O’Sullivan

This chapter examines important changes that have come to the humanities in Ireland since the nineties. It examines how the IRCHSS and the HEA have radically transformed funding arrangements in the humanities. It also looks at how recent reports by the HEA – the Hunt Report – and by the British Government – the Browne Report – have served to overlook the importance of the humanities for a general education. It concludes by pointing to important opportunities available to the humanities in the Irish context.

in The humanities and the Irish university