On Taking Advantage of All the Humanities Have to Offer
Richard Powell, Duke's new Dean of the Humanities, spoke to the Duke Chronicle about both the practical and the personal value of study in the humanities. The article appeared in the September 3 issue and was written by Michelle Xu.
Studying the humanities makes a student better-equipped to move forward into graduate school or the workplace, Powell said, no matter where their interests lie. “There will be an opportunity once you leave this institution to go to law school, to go to business school, to go into a profession. Someone who sees himself or herself moving into a profession is much better educated if they know art, philosophy, music, literature or drama,” he said.
Powell also sees study in the humanities as a source of intellectual breadth and a way to open doors.
“This is the moment where you can pursue a desire, an avocation, and just test yourself if there’s something that you might want to pursue in a serious sort of way,” he said. “Just take advantage of all of the options that are here. Take some risks. Do not feel afraid to stretch.”
Powell is the John Spencer Bassett Professor of Art & Art History and 25 year veteran of the Duke faculty. He took up the deanship this fall, succeeding Srinivas Aravamudan, who had to step down for health reasons.