Saturday, July 6, 2013

Coverage of the Humanities conversation

Beginning in early June with the release of a series of reports concerning the humanities by scholars at Harvard and then later with the release of a report "The Heart of the Matter" by the American Academy of the Arts & Sciences, an expansive conversation about the humanities began taking place. Below, I have provided a round-up of 20-plus articles that I have read.

I particularly enjoyed the series of pieces by Ben Schmidt, who offers useful and uncommon quantitative data and gender analyses on the overall conversation noting that "explanations of the decline in humanities majors have to reckon with changing gender patterns in the American university." Marianne Hirsch and Jennifer Schuessler  provide helpful round-ups as well, and Stanley Fish makes pointed critiques of the American Academy report that drew some attention.     

Schmidt, Michael Bérubé, and Nate Silver take some of the early commentators to task for over-exaggerating the "decline" of the humanities and representing that decline as a "crisis" when in fact other forces were at work.

The Coverage:

June 6: The Harvard Humanities Report -- Arts & Humanities Division -- Harvard University
June 6: Mapping the future -- Corydon Ireland -- Harvard Gazette
June 6: Humanities Fall From Favor -- Jennifer Levitz and Douglas Belkin -- Wall Street Journal
June 7: Some long term perspective on the "crisis" in humanities enrollment -- Ben Schmidt -- Sapping Attention  
June 10: Humanist: Heal Thyself -- Russell A. Berman -- The Chronicle of Higher Education (CHE)
June 13: Fight Fiercely Harvard (for the Humanities) -- Jonathan Marks -- Commentary 
June 19: The Heart of the Matter: The Humanities and Social Sciences -- American Academy of the Arts & Sciences
June 19: Media coverage of Commission report -- American Academy of Arts & Sciences
June 19: Making the Case for Liberal Arts -- Collen Flaherty -- Inside Higher ED
June 20: The soft sciences matter as much as ever -- James Cuno --  Los Angeles Times
June 22: The Decline and Fall of the English Major -- Verlyn Klinkenborg -- NYTimes
June 24: A Case for the Humanities Not Made  -- Stanley Fish -- NYTimes
June 25: As More Attend College, Majors Become More Career-Focused -- Nate Silver -- NYTimes
June 25: The Best Argument for Studying English? The Employment Numbers -- Jordan Weissmann -- The Atlantic
June 26: Crisis in the humanities, or just women in the workplace? -- Ben Schmidt -- Sapping Attention
June 26: Gender and the long-term decline in humanities enrollments -- Ben Schmidt -- Sapping Attention  
June 27: 11 Reasons to Ignore the Haters and Major in the Humanities -- Max Nisen -- Business Insider
June 27: Quants Ask: What Crisis in the Humanities? -- Jennifer Schuessler -- NYTimes
July 1: The Humanities, Declining? Not According to the Numbers -- Michael Bérubé -- The CHE
July 2: Mismeasuring the Humanities -- David Laurence -- The Trend (blog of the MLA Office)
July 3: The Summer of Humanities Debates -- Marianne Hirsch -- MLACommons
July 3: The Humanities in Crisis? Not at Most Schools -- Scott Saul -- NYTimes

Coverage of books, authors & special topics  

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