Many of the world’s most exciting innovations and advancements come from the fields of liberal arts and social sciences. From philosophy to literature to sociology and more, these disciplines have attracted some of history’s greatest analytical and progressive thinkers.
The latest issues to appear within the liberal arts were discussed in-depth at the 2016 Liberal Arts International Conference (LAIC) in Qatar. Here, scholars in the social sciences, arts and humanities engaged with colleagues from around the world to stimulate research on the hottest concepts of our time.
If you’re interested in contributing to global discourse on important issues like climate change, consent, and more, consider studying the liberal arts. At schools like Shimer, you’ll engage with the precise theories and complexities challenging today’s great minds.
To get started, check out these 4 topics discussed at the recent LAIC:
1. Leaders in Liberal Arts Studies Consider the Concept of Consent
At Shimer, the social sciences of psychology and sociology are part of your basic core courses. These disciplines are all about how people interact with each other. The importance of 'consent' in interactions as diverse as trade, personal relationships, and even between a government and its citizens was a main matter of discussion as researchers from all over the world met in Qatar.
Does yes always mean yes? Who gets to decide what’s best for others in their care? Understanding what constitutes consensual exchanges between societies is both a perennial and contemporary issue—and one you’re likely to encounter in your liberal arts studies.
2. Technology vs. Academic Integrity in Liberal Arts Studies
As well as being a boon to the progress of liberal arts studies, technology has also muddied the waters in terms of education.
“The spread of the internet and modern technology, along with many social and cultural misconceptions about academic behaviors and regulations, have resulted in vague understanding of the accepted academic behaviors and activities in school,” said conference speaker Gamil Alamrani of Saudi Arabia.
For instance, when is Wikipedia acceptable as a source? How should students around the world be assessed on a level playing field? These questions inspired discussion and new research now being conducted by scholars in Australia and the United Kingdom.
3. Interacting With the International Legal System Regarding Climate Change
Justice Claims in Multilateral Climate Change Negotiations was the title of one prominent panel at the LAIC, which focused on how international law should deal with the pressing impact of climate change on countries around the world.
In natural sciences studies, you'll learn about the science behind climate change and gain an understanding of the historical development of contemporary climate theories. Climate change is one of the most cutting-edge issues in international law—a field pursued by many graduates of liberal arts schools. If climate justice speaks to you, consider pursuing an accelerated law degree program from a liberal arts college like Shimer.
4. Understanding Popular Cultural Narratives in a Globalized World
“To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.” This quotation was used as an introduction to a LAIC discussion of the cultural narratives that shape how countries interact and view each other.
Of particular interest to the panel dealing with this issue was how dominant cultural ideas interact with indigenous cultures, which have diverse beliefs about life. You'll encounter questions like these in your studies as you research the history of cultural interactions and the consequences of colonialism and diaspora.
Are you interested in puzzling out these kinds of issues at a top liberal arts school?
Visit Shimer to learn more about what we have to offer.