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It's Not Only History

Reader comment on item: Historians Run Amok

Submitted by Tom (United States), Apr 9, 2017 at 18:24

Literary studies have also declined dramatically since the early 1970s. The problem seems to bear on the degree to which a discipline is associated with the Humanities and the associated assumption that such disciplines have become obsolete. I realize that historians have sometimes tried to link themselves with the social sciences, but in my 35 years in the university I've never met a student who took this seriously. It seemed to much of a public relations move that makes my point: humanities = kiss of death. Kiss of death in post-university non-academic employment (for whatever discipline), and kiss of death for employment as a professor in an academic system where there are fewer of these every year. And more, every year, of humanities helots employed as "adjuncts."

Much more could (and needs) to be said about changes in the university itself, including the continuation of employment for for post-age-65professors (why not they as the adjuncts, after all, on reduced salary). And including also the structure of administration in the universities (e.g., from which disciplines are senior academic employers most likely to be drawn?) and the political economy of universities, the conditions that have led to immensely costly levels of tuition in the US).

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Daniel Pipes replies:

Agreed: the study of literature is worse than history. A less factual base accounts for that.

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