From the Chronicle of Higher Education
How Humanities Can Help Fix the World
As academe’s hoped-for recovery from the 2008 financial crisis recedes before it like the shimmer of water on a hot roadway, the problems of its humanities component are up close and all too real. There is no doubt that the United States is now producing an unprecedented number of B.A.s who know little or nothing about humanistic thought — and a growing number of humanities Ph.D.s who cannot find jobs.As Alexander I. Jacobs noted last year in a Chronicle essay, defenses of the humanities have tended to take two paths. One, the more traditional, points out that life is not simply a matter of careers, and that the humanities address the higher concerns that make it worth living: A person who knows some Shakespeare and Plato, or who has some acquaintance with Bach and Canaletto, will live a happier and more interesting life than someone who does not.