The Evolution of Liberal Arts in the Global Age

Advanced and developing countries across the globe are embracing the liberal arts approach in higher education to foster more innovative human capital to compete in the global economy. Even as interest in the tradition expands outside the United States, can the democratic philosophy underlying the liberal arts tradition be sustained? Can developing countries operating under heavy authoritarian systems cultivate schools predicated on open discussion and debate? Can entrenched specialist systems in Europe and Asia successfully adopt the multidisciplinary liberal arts model? These are some of the questions put to leading scholars and senior higher education practitioners within this edited collection. Beginning with historical context, international contributors explore the contours of liberal arts education amid public calls for change in the United States, the growing global interest in the approach outside the United States, as well as the potential of liberal arts philosophy in a global knowledge economy.


"These essays provide food for the soul, the mind, and the spirit in these disruptive, chaotic, often brutal and exponentially changing times. We desperately need such reaffirmation of the importance of informed citizenship in despotic times. We also need a next generation to be better educated to understand the moral, social, intellectual, and ethical dimensions of a digital age run amok….It is to the liberal arts that we turn for those consolations, insights, and abiding human powers. It is to these essays that I invite you, now, to turn and be inspired."

-Cathy N. Davidson, Distinguished Professor at Director of the Futures Initiative, Graduate Center, the City University of New York


"In an uneasy time, when nuanced habits of mind and deeply engaged citizenship are as needed as at any point in history, The Evolution of Liberal Arts in the Global Age makes a compelling case for the irreplaceable strengths of American liberal arts education. Policy-makers and educators in the United States and around the world should add this volume to their ‘must-read’ lists: it is a clarion call for the advancement of education that can literally help save our world."

-Mark Roosevelt, President, St. Johns College


"Marber and Araya have gathered a brilliant array of essays that together stage a vital conversation about the intersection of that distinctive American cultural idea, the liberal arts curriculum, and global society’s eagerness to harness today’s new forms of thought, creativity, communication, and commerce for universal betterment.  The book’s commentators, consistently informed and astute as they traverse the educational landscape stretching from Asia to Latin America, offer a compelling case for liberal learning’s continued vibrancy and relevance in a fast-changing, challenging, but also potentially thrilling world."

-Kimberly W. Benston, President and Gummere Professor of English, Haverford College