Just finished reading “The End of the English Major” by Nathan Heller, writing for The New Yorker. Worthwhile reading, if a bit depressing.
Full disclosure: Jack is a holds a degree that falls under the humanities umbrella. Also, he has, long ago, bought into the liberal arts mindset, believes—deeply—in the inherent value of broadest possible education, education for its own sake, as the paramount human project.
But we all seem to be
entralled enslaved by same impoverished worldview. What has become a bit of a mantra for me, what was running through my mind as I read this piece: Not everything that has value can be denominated in dollars. The ascendence of the business major is the prioritizing of making money above all other considerations is the cheapening of life itself is the hastening of civilizational decline. But I digress.
Belatedly, some figures quoted from the article:
…from 2012 to 2020 the number of graduated humanities majors at Ohio State’s main campus fell by forty-six per cent. Tufts lost nearly fifty per cent of its humanities majors, and Boston University lost forty-two. Notre Dame ended up with half as many as it started with, while SUNY Albany lost almost three-quarters. Vassar and Bates—standard-bearing liberal-arts colleges—saw their numbers of humanities majors fall by nearly half. In 2018, the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point briefly considered eliminating thirteen majors, including English, history, and philosophy, for want of pupils. 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… The trend mirrors a global one; four-fifths of countries in the Organization for Economic Coöperation reported falling humanities enrollments in the past decade.