Incredible Shrinking Grad Programs

Incredible Shrinking Grad Programs


The future of the humanities is shrinking, at least when it comes to graduate programs. Recently the Chronicle of Higher Education documented the trend, discussing substantial cutbacks in graduate programs in Art History, English, and History at major research universities. I recommend you read the article and the many comments that it engendered (follow the link for a PDF); you’ll note a dizzying variety of responses. Incredible Shrinking Grad Programs

life as faculty know it is ending; undergraduate education will benefit; it’s all about the collapsing job market; it’s all about the dependence on adjuncts; it’s America’s hatred of the humanities; it’s about time, et. al. Overall the article and responses showed a surprising lack of imagination about innovative new forms of humanities training,

work, and curricula. Personally, I objected to the claim that creating more interdisciplinary graduate seminars across the humanities will “water down” our fields. I’m currently teaching a graduate seminar on “Critical Race Theory and Cultural Studies.” It enrolled three students from my department (English), three from Education,

two from Information and Library Science, one from history, and one from Media Studies. The discussions have been challenging and invigorating, and have stretched me as an intellectual and as an instructor. I recognize that not all grad seminars can or should follow this path, but we ought to be far more active in creating such interdisciplinary seminars and alternative curricular programs. (Posted by Greg Jay)

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