It is no exaggeration to say that my university degree was life changing. From a narrow, ill-informed starting point my mind and my horizons grew. I learned about history, I learned about politics, I learned about power, gender and social movements. I came to question the role of the state and government policy and to understand that governments make progressive change only when it is demanded of them. I learned that power comes in many forms.
When you diminish humanities departments, you fracture and destabilise an apparatus that fosters and supports thinking – analytical, creative, imaginative, productive, progressive thinking.
When you cut down humanities teachers and students, who, together, bring what they read, learn and test in their courses to a society that cannot afford to think less, or be critiqued less rigorously, or fail to imagine, you are shutting the book on the very heart and brain of that society. You attack places where enlightenment, useful consternation and doubt, and intellectual pleasures and satisfactions, are a currency passed from one generation to the next. You target an enterprise, a practice, and a legacy, whose benefits are far-reaching.