Tag Archives: 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 […] … learn more→

The other public Humanities

Among the conclusions frequently drawn about the heavily reported \”crisis in the humanities\” is that humanities departments are woefully out of touch—with today\’s students, with the new economy, with the public at large. The argument is a familiar one. In response to a similar climate of hostility in the late 1980s and early 90s, the […] … learn more→

The highly useful crisis in the Humanities

The cartoon cover of a 1935 issue of The Princeton Tiger humor magazine showed Depression-era graduates lined up at commencement to be handed a loaf of bread with every liberal-arts diploma. A few months later, the university\’s alumni magazine reported on students\’ shifting academic interests in a table titled, \”Trend Away From the Humanities.\” Majors […] … learn more→

The Humanities: What went right?

There’s no denying it. The humanities have been through a crisis, a period in which, according to the Humanities Resource Center Online of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, degrees went from 17.7 percent of all bachelor’s degrees awarded to 6.7 percent. The absolute number of degrees awarded in the humanities declined, from 99,280 […] … learn more→

The Humanities, declining? Not according to the numbers.

In recent years, enrollments in the humanities have plummeted. The evidence is everywhere: Last month, in The New York Times, Verlyn Klinkenborg noted \”the recent shift away from the humanities\” in an essay titled \”The Decline and Fall of the English Major.\” In his 2009 American Scholar essay, \”The Decline of the English Department,\” William […] … learn more→

Digital Humanities as cognitive dissidence

It\’s hard to believe but it was a year ago that the Primer Encuentro de Humanistas Digitales (First Meeting of Digital Humanists) was held in the Vasconcelos Library in Mexico City (17 and May 18, 2012). I participated remotely via a poster / flyer and a website entitled \”HD/DC\”, which I set up to provide […] … learn more→

Humanities, not Harvard

In \”Howl,\” a blistering poetical rant and perhaps the most important poem of the 60’s counterculture, Allen Ginsberg anatomizes the minds of his generation. They are young men and women who \”studied Plotinus Poe St. John of the Cross telepathy and bop kabbalah because the cosmos instinctively vibrated at their feet in Kansas.\” When students […] … learn more→

Survival Strategy for Humanists: Engage, Engage

The aging librarian and I hoisted the ladder against a remote bookshelf. We had been hunting an obscure periodical for nearly two hours. \”Climb,\” he instructed me. \”It should be way up there somewhere: Revue d\’assyriologie et d\’archéologie orientale, 1917. Be careful. Don\’t fall.\” I climbed. I fell. I fell in the prelapsarian sense. I […] … learn more→

Educating young women, rebuilding Cambodia

Sharing a muddy crawl space with four roommates isn’t part of the traditional path to a law degree. But that’s exactly how Veasna Chea, a Cambodian woman, lived during law school in the mid-1990s — still managing to graduate first in her class. Speaking recently, Alan Lightman, adjunct professor of the humanities at MIT, described […] … learn more→