StofHum Articles

For an overview of the key issues that seem to emerge in public discussions of the humanities in forums devoted to higher education, see the page State of the Humanities.

What follows is a collection of scores of articles published online (mostly in vetted venues, though a few are from personal blogs) and largely published since about mid-2013 (a few are older), on what I am calling the State of the Humanities. They range widely over a series of topics, and so I have organized them into rough categories in terms of how they tackle the role of the humanities in contemporary American culture and higher education, as well as outcomes for humanities majors. A few articles appear in more than one category. As this is a very long list, here is an overview of the page organization:

SECTION ONE: Our Humanities Crisis is broken down into the following categories of problems:

  1. The problem is critical theory/elitism/’relatability’ (or lack thereof)
  2. The problem is public perception
  3. The problem is STEM
  4. The problem is too many PhDs/the structure of PhD programs
  5. The problem is money
  6. The problem is all in our heads

SECTION TWO: The Value of the Humanities is broken down as follows:

  1. Defenses of the humanities
  2. “Do What You Love”

SECTION THREE: Humanities Careers is broken down as follows:

  1. Humanities majors will leave you jobless or underemployed
  2. Humanities majors are the next hot thing employers want and need
  3. Only alt-ac will save you
  4. Only public or digital humanities will save you

SECTION FOUR is a bonus section, focusing on larger issues in higher education that are not limited to humanities degrees specifically–things like student debt, adjunct labor, the relative roles of research universities and community colleges.

I welcome comments or suggestions for other articles that might be included here. Please use the contact form at the bottom of this page.

SECTION ONE: Our Humanities Crisis (a.k.a. The Humanities are Broken / Dying / Undervalued)

The Problem is Critical Theory / Elitism / ‘Relatability’ (or lack thereof)

 A Case for the Humanities At Stanford: Part I Demystifying ‘Critical Theory‘ (Mark Besson, Nov 12, 2014, The Stanford Daily)

Literature and Elitism (Eleanor Catton, Dec 9, 2013, Metro)

Is the Literary World Elitist? (Laura Miller, Feb 6, 2014, Salon)

The Awful Emptiness of ‘Relatable’ (Rebecca Onion, Apr 11, 2014, Slate)

The ‘Relatable’ Fallacy (Kit Nicholls, Apr 24, 2014, The Chronicle of Higher Ed)

The Problem is Public Perception (which, shhh, might be partly our fault for explaining it badly, ahem)

How to Make the Case for Graduate Education (Vimal Patel, Dec 5, 2014, Chronicle of Higher Ed)

Humanities Scholars Grapple with their Pitch to the Public (Jennifer Ruark, May 12, 2014, The Chronicle of Higher Ed)

The Real Humanities Crisis (Gary Gutting, Nov 30, 2013, New York Times)

The Humanities Are an Existentialism (Dan Edelstein, Jan 21, 2014, Inside Higher Ed)

In the Humanities, How Should We Define ‘Decline’? (Scott Sprenger, Dec 10, 2010, The Chronicle of Higher Ed)

It’s Time to Stop Mourning the Humanities (James Mulholland, June 1, 2010, The Chronicle of Higher Ed)

A Rallying Cry for the Humanities (Kelly J. Baker, Mar 13, 2014, Vitae)

Is the Literary World Elitist? (Laura Miller, Feb 6, 2014, Salon)

College’s Priceless Value (Frank Bruni, New York Times, February 11, 2015)

The Problem is STEM (or: Should We Bring Together Arts & Sciences? or: do something else to the curriculum?)

A Top Medical School Revamps Requirements to Lure English Majors (Julie Rovner, NPR, May 27, 2015)

Why America’s Obsession with STEM Education is Dangerous (Fareed Zakaria, March 26, 2015, Washington Post)

The Shrinking World of Ideas (Arthur Krystal, Nov 21, 2014, The Chronicle Review)

Putting Art in STEM (Henry Fountain, Oct 31, 2014, New York Times)

The Humanities Strengthen Science (Elizabeth Simmons, Slate rpt. from Inside Higher Ed of Aug 14, 2014)

The Morbid Fascination with the Death of the Humanities (Benjamin Winterhalter, June 6, 2014, The Atlantic)

 At MIT, The Humanities are Just as Important as STEM (Deborah K. Fitzgerald, April 30, 2014, The Boston Globe)

No, Jane Austen Was Not A Game Theorist (William Deresiewicz, Jan 18, 2014, New Republic)

Life Keeps Changing: Why Stories, Not Science, Explain the World (Joe Fassler, Jan 21, 2014, The Atlantic)

Reading Literary Fiction Improves Theory of Mind (David Comer Kidd & Emanuele Coastano, Oct 2, 2013, Science [further clicks required to get to full text])

The Employability Myth of the Humanities (Noah Kulwin, Mar 7, 2014, The Weekender)

Playing with Plato (Clancy Martin, Mar 19, 2014, The Atlantic)

An Attempt to Discover the Laws of Literature (Joshua Rothman, Mar 20, 2014, The New Yorker)

Why Scientists Should Embrace the Liberal Arts (David J. Skorton, Jan 16, 2014, Scientific American)

Critics of the Liberal Arts are Wrong (Annette Gordon-Reed, Jun 19, 2014, Time)

We don’t need more STEM majors. We need more STEM majors with liberal arts training. (Loretta Jackson-Hayes, The Washington Post, February 15, 2015)

Major Exodus (Colleen Flaherty, Inside Higher Ed, January 26, 2015)

The Problem is Too Many PhDs and/or the Structure of PhD Programs

Doctorates Up, Career Prospects Not (Doug Lederman, Dec 8, 2014, Inside Higher Ed)

The MLA Tells it Like it Is (Leonard Cassutto, June 9, 2014, The Chronicle of Higher Ed)

PhD Programs Should Change But Not Shrink, MLA Says (Vimal Patel, May 28, 2014, The Chronicle of Higher Ed)

Don’t Capitulate. Advocate. (10 Humanities Scholars, June 24, 2014, Inside Higher Ed)

PhD’s, Adjuncts, and the Teacher-Training Conundrum (Paula Krebs, July 3, 2014, Vitae)

The Moral Panic in Literary Studies (Marc Bousquet, Apr 7, 2014, The Chronicle of Higher Ed)

The Problem is Money

A New Metric (Ry Rivard, Oct 13, 2014, Inside Higher Ed)

The Higher Ed Austerity Deal is Falling Apart (Christopher Newfield, Jan 12, 2015, Inside Higher Ed)

Privatization and the Public Good (Doug Lederman, Dec 8, 2014, Inside Higher Ed)

Use the Numbers (Nate Kreuter, Nov 12, 2014, Inside Higher Ed)

Student Debt: Graduate Students are Finding that the World of Academia is Shutting Them Out (Melissa Zimdars, Oct 21, 2014, Little Village)

Poverty in the Ivory Tower (Jan 16, 2014, Tenure, She Wrote)

O Adjunct! My Adjunct! (Carmen Maria Machodo, March 25, 2015, The New Yorker)

The Problem is All In Our Heads (a.k.a. The Humanities Aren’t Actually Declining; We Just Panic That They Are)

The Humanities Declining? Not According to the Numbers (Michael Berube July 1, 2013, The Chronicle Review)

Community College Liberal Arts (Scott Jaschik, Jan 20, 2015, Inside Higher Ed)

The Humanities in Crisis? Not at Most Schools (Scott Saul, July 3, 2013, New York Times)

It’s the End of the Humanities as We Know It and I Feel Fine (Blaine Greteman, June 13, 2014, New Republic)

A Rallying Cry for the Humanities (Kelly J. Baker, Mar 13, 2014, Vitae)

Universities, Mismanagement, and Permanent Crisis (Gerry Canavan, GerryGanavan.Wordpress.Com)

Higher Education Isn’t in Crisis (Janet Napolitano, Washington Post, March 12, 2015)

SECTION TWO: The Value of the Humanities

The Humanities Have All Kinds of Value People Ignore (a.k.a. A Defense of the Humanities)

10 Novels to a Better You (Mark O’Connell, October 28, 2013, Slate)

The Unintended Value of the Humanities (Stephen J. Mexal, May 23, 2010, The Chronicle Review)

Finding Philosophy (Dec 8, 2014, The Chronicle of Higher Ed, paywall)

The Human in University Education (Paul A. Bové, Nov 13, 2014, LA Review of Books)

Why The Humanities Matter (Sarah Churchwell, Nov 13, 2014, Times Higher Ed)

Why We are Looking at the ‘Value’ of College All Wrong (Valerie Strauss, Nov 1, 2014, Washington Post)

Fear of Being Useful (Paul Jay and Gerald Graff, Jan 5, 2012, Inside Higher Ed)

How Not to Defend the Liberal Arts (Paul Jay, Oct 27, 2014, Inside Higher Ed)

To Save the Humanities, Change the Narrative (Christopher Panza & Richard Schur, Oct 20, 2014, The Chronicle of Higher Ed)

The Humanities ‘Crisis’ and the Future of Literary Studies (Paul Jay [introduction to book of the same title]

Oh, the Humanities! (Alexander Petri, June 26, 2013, Washington Post)

Why Teach English? (Adam Gopnik, Aug 27, 2013, The New Yorker)

Why Study the Arts and the Humanities? (Daniel R. Schwartz, Oct 7, 2013, Huffington Post)

Why Fiction Does it Better (Lisa Zunshine, Dec 9, 2013, The Chronicle Review [paywall])

Humanities Scholarship is Incredible Relevant, and that Makes People Sad (Natalia Cecire, Jan 4, 2014, Works Cited)

The Humanities’ Value (Geoffrey Galt Harpham, March 20, 2009, The Chronicle Review)

How Novels Widen Your Vision (Joe Fassler, Mar 24, 2014, The Atlantic)

Why Study Philosophy? To Challenge Your Own Point of View (Hope Reese, Feb 27, 2014, The Atlantic)

Reading Literature Makes Us Smarter and Nicer (Annie Murphy Paul, Jun 3, 2013, Time)

The Afterlife of the Humanities (David Theo Goldberg) [very long essay, reference-rich]

How Not to Think About the Humanities (David Palumbo-Liu, April 9, 2014, The Stanford Daily)

Why ‘Nano-Degrees’ Can Never Replace Liberal Arts Colleges (Michael Roth, Sep 8, 2014, The Atlantic)

An Intimate Education (Tamara Mann, Jan 9, 2015, Inside Higher Ed)

Why digital natives prefer reading in print. Yes, you read that right. (Michael S. Rosenwald, The Washington Post, February 22, 2015)

To Help Students Succeed Professionally and Personally, Teach the Art of Being Human (Lisa M. Dolling, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 9, 2015)

Just Do What You Love, and Who Cares About Jobs? (Or: At Least Try. Or: Here are some reasons why “do what you love” is a bad idea.)

Ah, the Unhumanities! (David Yaffee, October 31, 2013, The Chronicle Review)

Riskier Majors May Become More Attractive if People Know Upside (Peter Schmidt, Nov 19, 2014, Chronicle of Higher Ed)

Working Out the Meaning of ‘Meaningful’ Work (Katherine Moos, Oct 30, 2014, Vitae)

Finding Meaning After Academe (Elizabeth Segran, July 7, 2014, The Chronicle of Higher Ed)

In the Name of Love (Miya Tojumitsu, Jacobin)

Why Getting a Liberal Arts Education Is Not A Mistake (Jessica Kleiman, Apr 28, 2014, Forbes)

Dead Poets Society is a Terrible Defense of the Humanities (Kevin J. H. Dettmar, Feb 19, 2014, The Atlantic)

The History of “Loving” to Read (Joshua Rothman, The New Yorker, February 5, 2015)

 

SECTION THREE: Humanities Careers

Humanities Degrees Will Leave You Jobless or Underemployed

They Say I’ll Never Get a Job (Ms. Mentor, Sept 15, 2014, The Chronicle of Higher Ed)

The Hypereducated Poor (Alissa Quart, Dec 2, 2014, Elle)

The Adjunct Crisis is Everyone’s Problem (Sarah Kendzior, Oct 17. 2014, Vitae)

Academics Anonymous: Why I’m Leaving Academia (Anon., May 1, 2014, The Guardian)

The Great Stratification (Jeffrey J. Williams, Dec 2, 2013, The Chronicle Review)

Why So Many Academics Quit and Tell (Sydni Dunn, Dec 12, 2013, Vitae)

What We Talk About When We Talk About Quitting (Vitae Staff, Dec 12, 2013)

The Just-in-Time Professor (House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Jan 2014 [U.S. House of Representatives report on working conditions of contingent faculty])

The Employability Myth of the Humanities (Noah Kulwin, Mar 7, 2014, The Weekender)

For the Persistent PhD Impulse, Gentle Dissuasion (Timothy Larsen, Mar 31, 2014, The Chronicle of Higher Ed)

Graduate School in the Humanities, Just Don’t Go (Thomas H. Benton [William Pannapacker], Jan 30, 2009, The Chronicle of Higher Ed)

 Humanities Degrees Are the Next Hot Thing Employers Want

Surprise: Humanities Degrees Provide Great Return on Investment (Jeffrey Dorfman, Nov 20, 2014, Forbes)

Why English Majors Are the Hot New Hires (Bruna Martinuzzi, July 11, 2013, American Express Open Forum)

There is Value in Liberal Arts Education, Employers Say (Mark I. McNutt, Sept 22, 2014, US News & World Reports)

Measuring Humanities Degrees Misses Much of their Value (Sandhya Kambhampati, Oct 20, 2014, The Chronicle of Higher Ed)

Jobs for Humanities, Arts Grads (Kaitlin Mulhere, Oct 17, 2014, Inside Higher Ed)

Liberal Arts Grads Win Long-Term (Allie Grasgreen, Jan 22, 2014, Inside Higher Ed)

How Liberal Arts Majors Fare Over the Long Haul (Beckie Supiano, Jan 22, 2014, The Chronicle of Higher Ed)

Why Top Tech CEOs Want Employees With Liberal Arts Degrees (Elizabeth Segran, Aug 28, 2014, Fast Company)

Degree Trends that Follow the Money (David Blachflower, Aug 28, 2014, Times Higher Ed)

Why Johnny Can’t Write, and Why Employers Are Mad (Kelley Holland, Nov 11, 2013, CNBC)

What to Do with a B.A. in English (Daniel R. Schwartz, Nov 2, 2013, Huffington Post)

This is Irrefutable Evidence of the Value of a Humanities Education (Carolyn Gregoire, Jan 28, 2014, Huffington Post)

Who Knew? Arts Education Fuels the Economy (Sunil Iyengar & Ayanna Hudson, Mar 10, 2014, The Chronicle of Higher Ed)

The Employability Myth of the Humanities (Noah Kulwin, Mar 7, 2014, The Weekender)

Why Banks Like to Hire Liberal Arts Graduates, Redux (Sarah Butcher, Nov 18, 2014, efinancial careers)

I Will Hire You For Your ‘Useless’ Degree, If… (Dustin McKissen, Nov 6, 2014, LinkedIn)

Why Employers Love Liberal Arts Graduates (Oct 22, 2014, Education Advisory Board)

Employees Who Stand Out (Steve Sadove, Sep 5, 2014, Forbes)

Why ‘Nano-Degrees’ Can Never Replace Liberal Arts Colleges (Michael Roth, Sep 8, 2014, The Atlantic)

Critics of the Liberal Arts are Wrong (Annette Gordon-Reed, Jun 19, 2014, Time)

Only Alt-Ac Can Save You (a.k.a. Degrees = Skills, not Specific Knowledge, so don’t worry that your degree isn’t a job title and/or that your advanced degree won’t land you a job as a professor; Also: there ARE incredible things people are doing with humanities training, and here are some examples)

The Repurposed PhD: Finding Life After Academic–and Not Feeling Bad About It (Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow, November 1, 2013, New York Times)

 It’s the Faculty’s Job Too (Patricia Okker, Aug 1, 2014, Inside Higher Ed)

Building a Better Nonacademic Career Panel (Fatimah Williams Castro, June 26, 2014, Vitae)

The Jobs We Want? (Miriam Posner, Dec 4, 2013, Inside Higher Ed)

The PhD’s Guide to a Nonfaculty Job Search (L. Maren Wood, Jan 6, 2014, The Chronicle of Higher Ed)

A Broader History PhD (Scott Jaschik, Mar 20, 2014, Inside Higher Ed)

More Than One Possible Future (Leonard Cassuto, Mar 17, 2014, The Chronicle of Higher Ed)

What Can You Do With A Humanities PhD, Anyway? (Elizabeth Segran, Mar 31, 2014, The Atlantic)

How Not to Think About the Humanities (David Palumbo-Liu, April 9, 2014, The Stanford Daily)

Get a Liberal Arts BA, Not A Business BA, for the Coming Artisan Economy (Lawrence Katz, July 15, 2014, PBS News Hour)

Big-Data Project on 1918 Flu Reflects Key Role of Humanists (Jennifer Howard, The Chronicle of Higher Education, February 27, 2015)

Only Digital/Public Humanities Can Save You

Seven Rules for Public Humanists (Steven Lubar, June 5, 2014, On Public Humanities)

Spreading the Love: The Wrong and the Right in the Digital Humanities (Nov 24, 2013, Elotroalex)

Digital Humanities Now (online forum for DH work; interesting browsing)

Women and Public Scholarship (Gwendolyn Beetham, Feb 19, 2014, Inside Higher Ed)

Why Is Academic Writing So Academic? (Joshua Rothman, Feb 20, 2014, The New Yorker)

Why Is Academic Writing So Beautiful? (Emily Lordi, Mar 4, 2014, The Feminist Wire)

Playing with Plato (Clancy Martin, Mar 19, 2014, The Atlantic)

What is Academic History For? (Paula A. Michaels, Mar 29, 2014, OUP Blog)

How Not to Think About the Humanities (David Palumbo-Liu, April 9, 2014, The Stanford Daily)

Finding A Cure For Imposter Syndrome (Alyssa Westring, Apr 8, 2014, Inside Higher Ed)

Public engagement: hidden costs for research careers? (Richard Watermeyer and Jamie Lewis, Times Higher Ed, January 22, 2015)

 

BONUS SECTION FOUR: General Articles on Higher Education

These articles are not necessarily related directly to the State of the Humanities debates, but they raise important issues about higher education in the United States and thus seemed worth including as a sort of Coda.

Observations on How We Can Improve and/or What the Future Needs

In An Evolving Career Landscape, How Should Colleges Prepare Students? (Casey Fabris, Jan 22, 2015, Chronicle of Higher Ed)

Is College Still Worth It? (Christopher Newfield, Sept 29, 2014, LA Review of Books)

US Higher Education: More Options than a McDonald’s Menu (Alan Ruby, Jan 8, 2015, Times Higher Ed)

Higher Ed by The Numbers (Joshua Kim, Dec 8, 2014, Inside Higher Ed)

It Takes More Than A Major (Hart Research Associates [report on results from an employer survey about what higher education graduates need], April 10, 2013)

How to be an Intellectual (Serena Golden, Nov 11, 2014, Inside Higher Ed)

The Great Mismatch (Paula Krebs, Oct 15, 2014, Inside Higher Ed)

Do Americans Expect Too Much from a College Degree? (Dan Berrett, Sep 2, 2014, The Chronicle of Higher Ed)

Will it Play in Emporia? (Paula Krebs, Slate)

Racial Gaps in Attainment Widen as State Support for Higher Ed Falls (Jonah Newman, May 30, 2014, The Chronicle of Higher Ed)

The Soul of the Research University (Nicholas Lehman, Apr 28, 2014, The Chronicle Review)

Corporate Values (Anthony Mora & Alexandra Minna Stern, Nov 25, 2013, Inside Higher Ed)

Why Are American Colleges Obsessed With Leadership? (The Atlantic)

Universities in an Era of ‘Non-Lieux’ (Stephen J. Toope, Jan 13, 2014, U15)

‘Career Technical’ Education: More Middle in the Middle Class? (James Fallows, Mar 29, 2014, The Atlantic)

Focus on Community Colleges

What’s Missing From the Debate on Obama’s Free Community College Plan (David M. Perry, Jan 14, 2015, The Chronicle of Higher Ed)

Below the Radar (Matt Reed, Jan 20, 2015, Inside Higher Ed)

Community College Liberal Arts (Scott Jaschik, Jan 20, 2015, Inside Higher Ed)

Tackle the Real Problem (Thomas Bailey, Feb 3, 2014, Inside Higher Ed)

 Working-Class Life in Academia

Fitting in on Campus: Challenges for First-Generation Students (Jennifer, Guerra, NPR, February 16, 2015)

The Danger of Telling Poor Kids that College is the Key to Social Mobility (Andrew Simmons, Jan 16, 2014, The Atlantic)

Rich School, Poor School: Looking Across the College-Access Divide (Erin Einhorn, NPR, February 9, 2015)

I am always interested in growing this list. If you have a suggestion of an article to add to this list, please email me with its information and a link. Thank you!

 

One Response to StofHum Articles

  1. Pingback: Member Spotlight: Andrea Kaston Tange | The Commons Wire

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