“When asked what he thought of the liberal arts and their place in the world, Wagner said that people join the liberal arts to join something. It’s the same mentality, he added, that you see in the inner city with gangs. Yes, Wagner compared an ethnomusicology degree to gangs.”
-A. J. Artis, “A. J.’s Response to Wagner” (exaggerated, but not by much)
The liberal arts instill values, Wagner said, but our society has lost the value of values. Later: “We’ve heard what society wants. They want job-ready citizens.” And Emory has to separate itself from the whims of the economy, except when it comes to international students, tuition hikes, subcontracted labor, course offerings, or the value of scholarship.
Wagner complained that “some graduate students are taking ten years to complete their PhDs”–reflecting a national statistic of little validity to Emory, whose average time to completion is closer to six years.
As for the impediments posed to research by cuts to language programs, and the lack of well-paying, secure jobs, well, we’ll need to think about that. His parting words were disheartening.