Don’t Believe the Lies About the Humanities


Aaron Hanlon of Colby College identifies four of them in a piece at The Chronicle of Higher Education:

  1. The humanities are “noncognitive.”
  2. The humanities and social sciences are overrun by ideology.
  3. Humanities professors push left-wing ideas on students
  4. The humanities are ornamental

See how Hanlon unpacks these four myths here.

6 thoughts on “Don’t Believe the Lies About the Humanities

  1. I’m a guy with a STEM-focused brain (and an artistic creative type — weird combination, but I’ve seen both sides).

    If you want to see the result of a STEM focus without Humanities input, check out the YouTube footage of Mark Zuckerberg in front of Congress.


  2. (1) The humanities are largely ornamental. The question at hand is what quantity and quality of imaginative literature would be produced if we relied on secondary schooling to impart knowledge of imaginative literature and radically reduced tertiary schooling in such matters. You might ask to begin with what share of our body of worthwhile literature has been produced in the years since investment in higher education exploded during the 1940s. (Recall that as recently as 1928, colleges and universities captured about 6% of each cohort, and a great many of those then working toward baccalaureate degrees were studying business or enrolled in professional schools).

    (2) Faculty do push political sectarianism on students, they just don’t do it 24/7 and don’t necessarily do it in particularly obnoxious ways. If they were free from an impulse to push political sectarianism, they would have no tolerance for victimology programs, which are erected and funded in spite of any almost complete absence of interest in them on the part of students.

    (3) See the work and public commentary by Jonathan Haidt and KC Johnson. Sociology, anthropology, American history, and social psychology are apologetical exercises and the faculty teaching those subjects are at fault. You can get an inkling of why by looking at social survey research on those employed as post-secondary teachers.

    Spin spin spin from you people.


  3. Lies? Myths?

    I’m sorry, but any person making the categorical claim that “professors don’t impose their (left wing) political views on students” must be reporting on conditions in higher education on another planet.

    The examples of this type of ideological and political indoctrination are legion, so much so that the author’s denial of it appears to be a form of academic Stockholm Syndrome.


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