Experts on Monday advocated collective action to cushion the negative effects of corona virus in Nigeria, stressing that academics and other critical stakeholders in the Humanities must do more to make the discipline a major problem solver for humanity at large.
They stated this during an Annual Distinguished Lecture hosted by the Provost of the College of Humanities, Osun State University, Professor Temitope Balogun with the theme: “Rethinking and Retooling the Humanities amidst COVID-19 Challenges.”
The lecture, which was delivered by Mrs Ebunoluwa Oduwole, a Professor of African Philosophy, Ethics, and Bioethics, featured range of contributions by thought leaders in the academia. Professor Ebunoluwa is the immediate past Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye and pioneer Head, Department of Philosophy, Osun State University.
Delivering the lecture, Professor Ebunoluwa observed that the field of Humanities has pivotal roles to play in addressing the numerous challenges posed by the dreaded Coronavirus pandemic to Humanity, adding that the central areas of humanities including Language and Communication, History, Philosophy, Music, Theatre Arts, Religious Studies, Gender, Culture among others can help to stem the tide of the problems arising from COVID-19.
Her words: “No doubt, history is on the path to do more, and there is a strong recommendation that historians have a considerable responsibility and recognition in this regard. Every problem has a solution lost in facets of history, and professionalism in this field is vital in repositioning the humanities as we experience the new normal. In our rethink of the humanities amidst COVID-19, history should tell us how pandemics ended and how this present pandemic can end.”
She observed further that philosophical reflections are required for rigorous contemplation of the virus, as well as the need for isolations, quarantine, and reasons for the recorded losses, contending that doing so would assist in living with the virus or, more optimistically, putting an end to COVID-19.
She declared that a rethink and retooling of the humanities would help humanity adjust, live with, or put an end to the deadly virus ravaging the world, adding that in tackling the dreadful virus, there is a need for global unity and that humanities must be incorporated to give human face to the four strategic sectors – STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – seen as the most beneficial to humanity to effectively defeat the common enemy.
Afterwards, she noted: “I would strongly suggest that the humanities be repositioned so that academic paper writings, thesis, and dissertations do not end only on the bookshelf and left to rotten away with rich ideas in there.”
“Many of the rich recommendations would go a long way in addressing some of our concerns, even challenges posed by the pandemic. These and many more are the apparent relevance of the humanities. She harped on that literature books can be part of sanity control mechanisms of the humanities and that literary works can keep patients busy, keep them going, promise life, and give rays of hope.”
In his remarks, the Chief Host and Vice-Chancellor, Osun State University, Professor Labode Popoola stated that there cannot be meaningful science and technology without the humanities. “It is with this that the sustainable development goals of the United Nations is the in-thing in global issues today. All disciplines must come together and seek collaboration to make the society a better place” he added.
Professor Popoola stated that universities must reciprocate the high investment of the society by providing ways out of the issues happening around it, adding: “UNIOSUN proffered solutions to the COVID-19 challenges and maintained its academic calendar without any hitch.”
“COVID-19 is real. We should take our jabs of the vaccine. Forget about the conspiracies and all, the virus is real. The University is keen on this and is partnering the State Ministry of Health especially in the administration of COVID-19 vaccines on students.”
The Provost of the College, Professor Temitope Balogun, in her welcome address, charged stakeholders and leaders of thoughts in humanities to further propose humanist based solutions to problems ravaging the world. The scholar and other leaders of thought at the lecture contented that unless the world begins to recognise and appreciate Humanities and give it prominence, there will be no end to the deadly virus.
Distinguished awards to the Vice-Chancellor and the guest lecturer and a thrilling performance from theatre art students were some of the side attractions that added colour to the Annual Distinguished College Lecture.