Tagged with humanities

Restructure the Humanities Ph.D.

The Modern Language Association’s report on doctoral study in language and literature, released last month, does well to avoid framing the question of the humanities Ph.D. in terms of a “crisis in the humanities.” Instead, it focuses our attention where it belongs—on the underlying institutional structures that inhibit the evolution of the humanities Ph.D. The report acknowledges … Continue reading

What Crisis in the Humanities?

Two recent reports on the beleaguered state of the humanities have had pundits of all stripes scrambling to explain what many see as a dismal statistic: the proportion of college students graduating with degrees in subjects like English or history has fallen to a mere 7 percent in 2010, down from 14 percent in 1966. Is the … Continue reading

The Decline and Fall of the English Major

In the past few years, I’ve taught nonfiction writing to undergraduates and graduate students at Harvard, Yale, Bard, Pomona, Sarah Lawrence and Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism. Each semester I hope, and fear, that I will have nothing to teach my students because they already know how to write. And each semester I discover, again, … Continue reading

The Humanist Vocation

A half-century ago, 14 percent of college degrees were awarded to people who majored in the humanities. Today, only 7 percent of graduates in the country are humanities majors. Even over the last decade alone, the number of incoming students at Harvard who express interest in becoming humanities majors has dropped by a third. Most … Continue reading

The Path to Protecting Humanities and Social Sciences

A new report recommends that the nation take 12 key steps to ensure that humanities and social sciences maintain an important place in American classrooms. “The Heart of the Matter,” issued today by the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, grew from a congressional request for guidance on how to protect the central role of those disciplines … Continue reading

A Recruiter Offers the Humanities, and Second Chances

An unlikely audience has filled a dozen chairs. There’s a 40-year-old man who spent most of his adult life in prison, a 29-year-old woman who recently gave up booze, a middle-aged guy who lost his job and everything else years ago when, he says, his mind just went “kablooey.” For the next few minutes, they’re … Continue reading