19 Iunie 2015 Lasă un comentariu
The Decline of International Studies by Charles King
That knowledge flourished in an environment defined by some of the great innovations of American higher education: unfettered inquiry, the assessment of scholarship via rigorous peer review, the expectation that the value of discovery lies somewhere other than in its immediate usefulness, and the link between original research and innovative teaching. If you want evidence-based expertise on terrorism in Pakistan, environmental degradation in China, or local politics in provincial Russia, there is someone in an American university who can provide it. It is harder to imagine a Pakistani scholar who knows Nebraska, a Chinese researcher who can speak with authority about the revival of Detroit, or a Russian professor who wields original survey data on the next U.S. presidential race.
But things are changing. Shifting priorities at the national level, a misreading of the effects of globalization, and academics’ own drift away from knowing real things about real places have combined to weaken this vital component of the United States’ intellectual capital. Educational institutions and the disciplines they preserve are retreating from the task of cultivating men and women who are comfortable moving around the globe, both literally and figuratively. Government agencies, in turn, are reducing their overall support and narrowing it to fields deemed relevant to U.S. national security—and even to specific research topics within them. Worse, academic research is now subject to the same “culture war” attacks that federal lawmakers used to reserve for profane rap lyrics and blasphemous artwork. Unless Washington stops this downward spiral, these changes will not only weaken national readiness. They will also erode the habit of mind that good international affairs education was always supposed to produce: an appreciation for people, practices, and ideas that are not one’s own.