Higher Education in Crisis:
What Can the Victorians Teach Us?
Victorianists have become all too familiar with a dispiriting refrain: These are hard times for higher education; hard times demand hard decisions; hard decisions have to be hardest on the humanities. The rhetoric of liberal education for the people, one of the most influential and enduring of Victorian legacies, is now most relevant to Victorianists not because scholars continue to problematize it but because administrators increasingly dismiss it as a marketing albatross. As the AAC&U fights a valiant yet uphill battle to preserve the best parts of that legacy, the term “liberal education” is being deleted around the country, and applying the term “Victorian” to views on education has become more damning than applying the same term to sexual attitudes. But what if the Victorians can help academia overcome the current "crisis" in higher education? What can they teach scholars about our 21st-century problems? This panel seeks to answer these questions from a variety of perspectives.
Panelists from all disciplines are encouraged to submit a 300-word abstract and short bio to firstname.lastname@example.org by March 11, 2016. These panels will be for a special session being proposed for MLA 2017 in Philadelphia, PA from January 5-8, 2017.