I just wanted to highlight this excellent post by a student who use to work with me on the Terry project.
Basically, Shagufta begins:
Political science is not the only way to understand the world. It seems like a simple statement, but when I first entered the Faculty of Arts I was surprised how many students grimaced when they heard the word science. As a former life sciences student, this distressed me.
It continues where eventually, you realize that the point of the post, is to seek opinion of whether creative literature should have a more prominent role in looking into globally relevant issues. And especially maybe so in academia generally. This thought culminated from being impressed at how powerful (and maybe more pertinent) her reactions were to a number of good pieces of fiction she read. She also makes the following assumption:
My surprise over the impact of literature means one thing: that at some point in my university and high school days, I developed the idea that papers and scholarly journals are the ‘proper’ vehicle in which to discuss issues, and that social scientists have a monopoly on speaking about issues that affect populations worldwide. In other words, that novels and short stories and poetry are somehow a lesser way to make sense of the world.
In any event, with this on her mind, she wishes to make the following query – and a good query at that:
Now I am interested to learn more about the impact of stories on the human consciousness. How does literature enable the discussions of big important ideas and helps readers to think critically about their own views about a subject matter? Does fiction help people connect to issues, (and to action), in ways that scholarly papers or newspaper clippings cannot?