What strikes me about many of the responses to my piece on trigger warnings is that much of it focuses on whether trigger warnings are a good idea or simply another way to coddle students. The fact that the discussion seems to be stuck on this particular axis suggests to me that perhaps I did not make my own thesis clear.
Humanistic fields are not all in precipitous decline, nor have all teachers and scholars in the humanities "lost faith in their uplifting mission." Such talk plays into the hands of culture warriors who want to turn the clock back rather than think in fresh ways about how the perennial value of these fields can be advanced and enhanced amid rapid demographic, technological, economic and cultural change.
Several million students will soon be entering college. If you are among them, you will have received much advice from parents and friends, and you will soon hear more from college officials. But you might also want to know what researchers have discovered about some important choices you will make that could have much to do with what you gain from your next four years.
College can be a bore -- the endless textbook readings, crowded lecture halls and multiple choice tests that force students to memorize rather than sy...