Are the Humanities Really in Crisis?

At the Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association, I was lucky enough to moderate a conversation between Earl Lewis, the outgoing President of the Mellon Foundation, and William D. “Bro” Adams, the former chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The conversation had actually begun a few weeks earlier, at Mellon, an establishment whose modest exterior, discreetly tucked away on East 62nd street in New York and marked only with a tiny brass plaque, belies its power to move and shake. In 2016, Mellon disbursed grants in the amount of almost $300 million, while the NEH disbursed around $150 million, down from an all-time high of $400 million in 1978.

So, with almost half a billion dollars sloshing around from these two funders alone, why do we think the humanities are in crisis? And if so, what kind of crisis is it?

For the rest of this post, which appeared at Public Seminar on February 14 2018, click here.

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