Skip to comments.The Humanities Are in Crisis: Students are turning to degrees they think yield better job prospects.
Posted on 08/26/2018 6:19:10 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
People have been proclaiming the imminent extinction of the humanities for decades. A best-selling volume in 1964 warned that a science-focused world left no room for humane pursuits, even as Baby Boomers began to flood the English and history departments of new universities. Allan Bloom warned about academics putting liberal ideology before scholarship in 1987; humanities degrees quickly rose.
While coverage of individual academic disciplines like musicology, history, or comparative literature often deals with the substance of scholarship, talk of the humanities in general always seems to focus on their imminent extinction. In 2010, Wayne Bivens-Tatum provided a useful walk through the first 50 years of the humanities crisis, until about 1980. Because of this long history, Ive always been skeptical of claims that the humanities are in retreat.
But something different has been happening with the humanities since the 2008 financial crisis. Five years ago, I argued that the humanities were still near long-term norms in their number of majors. But since then, Ive been watching the numbers from the Department of Education, and every year, things look worse.
Almost every humanities field has seen a rapid drop in majors: History is down about 45 percent from its 2007 peak, while the number of English majors has fallen by nearly half since the late 1990s. Student majors have dropped, rapidly, at a variety of types of institutions. Declines have hit almost every field in the humanities (with one interesting exception) and related social sciences, they have not stabilized with the economic recovery, and they appear to reflect a new set of student priorities, which are being formed even before they see the inside of a college classroom.
(Excerpt) Read more at theatlantic.com ...
No! Who knew that Womyn Studies wouldn’t get you a job?
Today, counselors are discouraging kids from taking challenging courses, "because it could mess up your GPA"......ARRG!!!!!!
It used to be that a liberal arts degree meant that you could read complex material with comprehension, apply logic to analyze positions and come to reasoned conclusions, and then be able to argue your positions persuasively. That education had value.
Modern liberal arts just means you’ve been exposed to leftist propaganda and are able to regurgitate it on command.
The decline in English majors mirrors the decline in grammatical and rhetorical skills in general. Soon we’ll be reduced to grunting and pointing, with an occasional f-bomb thrown in for emphasis.
So there is a decrease in the number of people pursuing degrees in “Pursuits of The Idle Rich.” Figures. Those degrees only benefit people who never need to find a job or move out of Mom’s basement in the first place.
A degree in the humanities from a prestigious university was once an indication that the individual holding that degree had the capacity to think and learn. Today not only have the humanities been redefined but have been dumbed down to reflect contemporary politically correct narratives. Confronted with an individual with a degree in the humanities even from a “prestigious” university, it is a good bet that the person does not think clearly and is not disciplined.
A point almost completely lost on posters at FreeRepublic. Thanks for bringing it up.
When I was in college in the early 1970’s, the most challenging course I took as an accounting major was Communication and Report Writing in Business, the one in which I got the worst grade, a C, was the one that taught me the most useful information for my career as a CPA.
You have made an excellent point that should never be forgotten. The humanities including classical language and literature and history can provide a superb education in how to think through the complex problems of civilization.
There is nothing better than to read a closely reasoned opinion of one of our brilliant humanities trained jurists.
But, liberal arts has too much been replaced by leftist ideology.
Illegals are perfectly capable of hating white, straight males, and of speaking in sentences that don’t make sense to most of the country. They are perfect for teaching “Gender Studies”. So job prospects are pretty dim for those students.
Universities are missing a big opportunity to replace citizens with illegals for those jobs. With budgets so tight some administrator is eventually going to figure out that their housekeeper can teach the classes at a much lower salary. Teach them a few words like “intersectional” and “patriarchy” to put in every sentence and let them fill the rest of the sentences with their native language - they’ll make as much sense and be as useful to society as the teacher they replaced.
(I’d bet that a majority of well-paid university admins have non-citizens cleaning their house. If not, I apologize and they can pick one of the many other areas of their life where they run into non-English-speakers who they claim to like for being non-white or non-male).
I have a BA in History from decades ago. It served me well even though I am now an engineer. Several of professors were blatant Marxists even back then — but they still felt a duty to impress upon students the value of reading widely, using logic, and being able to argue both sides of an issue.
I don’t think they do that anymore.
Gosh. Thanks so much Johnnie. So superior, you are.
Only a Troll would take the valid observation regarding the benefits of a classical education and use it in an attempt to insult the members of this group.
Humanities = Liberal indoctrination courses.
They are political courses, not education.
Liberal arts has been replaced with leftist propaganda.
“It used to be that a liberal arts degree meant that you could read complex material with comprehension, apply logic to analyze positions and come to reasoned conclusions, and then be able to argue your positions persuasively. “
When was that, exactly, and what degree programs had that??
You just described science programs, not liberal arts.
“A point almost completely lost on posters at FreeRepublic.”
Only an idiot would believe liberal arts is a science program and then insult the very website she posts to.
The decline in English majors mirrors the decline in grammatical and rhetorical skills in general. Soon well be reduced to grunting and pointing, with an occasional f-bomb thrown in for emphasis.
As things are, by definition, no idea worth investigating can exist if it cannot be expressed in a PowerPoint.
Bingo. You nailed it.
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