10 Pages

Unleashing the Humanities

WithRobert Weisbuch

According to recent study from the National Council of Education Statistics, whereas 12 in 100 full-time instructors hired before 1986 at institutions of higher learning were tenure-track humanities PhDs, after 1986 the number becomes 4.5 in 100, an amazing decline. This chapter considers some reasons for this decline and suggests how we might reverse it, within higher education and beyond the universities. It is an unattractive culture in which people argue furiously amongst themselves over paradigms that matter less and less to anyone else. Yet they, and their culture, might benefit by attending to an historic national theme. It is a requisite of the American intellect, derived from the Puritans, that we live out private delvings on the shirtsleeves of daily existences. And the job of the liberal arts is to partake of nation's one historic project: to make daily social realities conform more and more astonishingly to most generous and richest imagining.