The Humanities Not Declining

Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Humanities Writ Large

An article in The Chronicle of Higher Education by Michael Bérubé, former president of the MLA, explains the complexity as well as the inaccuracy of recent articles claiming a decline in humanities majors over the last decade. As Bérubé suggests, it is not a decline of numbers that bedevils the humanities over the last fifty years, but a decline of public funding and social status, amidst self-interested diatribes by different personalities who have specific agendas around the humanities. Bérubé cautions that we analyze the true numbers in order to realize that the precipitous decline in humanities majors that the media are discussing is based on poorly understood data and improper assumptions about academic choices made by our students in the current context.