“what kind of ideal future can we imagine?”

“From 2012 to the start of the pandemic, the number of English majors on campus at Arizona State University fell from nine hundred and fifty-three to five hundred and seventy-eight. Records indicate that the number of graduated language and literature majors decreased by roughly half, as did the number of history majors. Women’s studies lost eighty per cent. ‘It’s hard for students like me, who are pursuing an English major, to find joy in what they’re doing,’ Meg Macias, a junior, said one afternoon as the edges of the sky over the campus went soft. It was late autumn, and the sunsets came in like flame on thin paper on the way to dusk. ‘They always know there’s someone who wishes that they were doing something else.'” “One theory has been that this pressure, plus the growing precariousness of the middle class, has played a role in driving students like him toward hard-skill majors. (English majors, on average, carry less debt than students in other fields, but they take longer to pay it down.)” “During the past decade, the study of English and history at the collegiate level has fallen by a full third. Humanities enrollment in the United States has declined over all by seventeen per cent, Townsend found. What’s going on? The trend mirrors a global one; four-fifths of countries in the Organization for Economic Coöperation reported falling humanities enrollments in the past decade. But that brings little comfort to American scholars, who have begun to wonder what it might mean to graduate a college generation with less education in the human past than any that has come before.” “If you take a moment to conjure the university in your mind, you will probably arrive at one of two visions. Perhaps you see the liberal-arts idyll, removed from the pressures of the broader world and filled with tweedy creatures reading on quadrangle lawns. … Or perhaps you think of the university as the research colony, filled with laboratories and conferences and peer-reviewed papers written for audiences of specialists.” “Americans created the ‘multiversity’: a kind of hodgepodge of both types and more. The multiversity incorporates the tradition of land-grant universities, established with an eye to industrial-age skill sets. And it provides something for everyone.” “I don’t think reading novels is now the only way to have a broad experience of the varieties of human nature or the ethical problems that people face [but the] question we should be asking is not whether the humanities have any role in our society or the university in fifty or a hundred years! … It’s what do investments in the humanities look like—and what kind of ideal future can we imagine?”—”The End of the English Major. Enrollment in the humanities is in free fall at colleges around the country. What happened?”

Hermetic Library Omnium What Kind of Ideal Future Can We Imagine 11mar2023