The humanities and the Irish university

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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.

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