Being Associate Dean of Humanities at NYU Abu Dhabi feels like something other than just a job for me. It feels like a calling.
I think the Humanities matter. I think they matter a lot. I know I’m not the only one. I just wish there were more of us. It’s my mission to increase that number.
I’ve just started reading Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs. Here’s an excerpt from the introduction:
I’ve always thought of myself as a humanities person as a kid, but I liked electronics,” [Jobs] said. “Then I read something that one of my heroes, Edwin Land of Polaroid, said about the importance of people who could stand at the intersection of the humanities and the sciences, and I decided that’s what I wanted to do.” It was as if he were suggesting themes for his biography (and in this instance, at least, the theme turned out to be valid). The creativity that can occur when a feel for both the humanities and the sciences combine in one strong personality was the topic that most interested me in my biographies of Franklin and Einstein, and I believe that it will be a key to creating innovative economies in the twenty-first century.
Amen to that. I hope my colleagues in the sciences here at NYU Abu Dhabi read this book and share these sentiments.I’m looking forward to finishing Isaacson’s bio.
Meanwhile, this week I’ve been hosting a guest from New York, Peter Meineck, a professor of Classics and the director of the Aquila Theater Company. We’re hatching some big plans together with other colleagues here. One of Peter’s recent articles is also on my reading list. It’s called “The Neuroscience of the Tragic Mask.”