Being something of a humanist myself, I have paid close attention to the decline and fall of the Humanities.
As the narrative is being spun, college students have figured out that a degree in the Humanities is a one-way ticket to the unemployment line, so they have been avoiding them.
The Wall Street Journal reports the bad news:
Among recent college graduates who majored in English, the unemployment rate was 9.8%; for philosophy and religious-studies majors, it was 9.5%; and for history majors, it was also 9.5%, according to a report this month by the Georgetown Public Policy Institute that used data from 2010 and 2011.
By comparison, recent chemistry graduates were unemployed at a rate of just 5.8%; and elementary-education graduates were at 5%.
The situation is so serious that it has even moved the spirits of Harvard humanists. They have produced a report that offers something resembling an explanation for the problem.
The Journal summarizes:
This "is an anti-intellectual moment, and what matters to me is that we, the people in arts and humanities, find creative and affirmative ways of engaging the moment," said Diana Sorensen, Harvard's dean of Arts and Humanities. The division needs to show "what it is our work does so they don't think we're just living up in the clouds all the time."
Universities' humanities divisions and liberal-arts colleges across the nation are facing similar challenges in the wake of stepped-up global economic competition, a job market that is disproportionately rewarding graduates in the hard sciences, rising tuition and sky-high student-debt levels.
I doubt that Dean Sorenson was aware of it, but her analysis shows that she has no notion of reality.
It’s nice to blame it all on an “anti-intellectual moment” and on the usual suspects, but the fact is, the Journal notes clearly, the Humanities began to decline in the late 1960s and suffered it steepest fall in the 1970s.
As you see, the decline reversed itself in the mid-1980s, only to resume slightly over the past few years.
Forget the blather about an “anti-intellectual moment.” Reality suggests that the Vietnam Era counterculture killed the Humanities. Or better, humanists themselves are to blame for transforming their fields into instruments of cultural revolution. On many college campuses today, if you want to study the Humanities, you can't. They are no longer being taught.
In fact, the situation is so bad that the Harvard report has even noticed that, maybe, just maybe the use of Humanities courses to indoctrinate students in politically correct ideas has something to do with the fact that fewer students want to major in the Humanities.
The Harvard report says:
Those of us committed to criticism and critique might recognize a kernel of truth in conservative fears about the left-leaning academy…. Among the ways we sometimes alienate students from the humanities is the impression they get that some ideas are unspeakable in our classroom.
Not to be too critical, but, if you are writing a report about the Humanities you should at least demonstrate your ability to write a coherent sentence in English. Take a second look at that last quoted sentence. The syntax is garbled and the sentence structure is so bad it’s an embarrassment.
If Humanists do not know how to write a sentence in English, why would they expect anyone to take their courses in language and literature?