If the warnings of educators, researchers, and disgruntled postgrad students across the country are to be believed, the humanities and related social sciences are in crisis. Look up “humanities in decline” and you’ll find editorial after editorial lamenting the downfall of such-and-such university’s English department or the dismantling so-and-so program’s anthropology concentration. Worryingly, the statistics seem to corroborate these anxieties. Though the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded in fields such as ancient history, philosophy, theology, and more have fluctuated drastically in the past seventy years, undergraduate enrollment in the humanities has declined by over one-third since the Great Recession, even as the rate of college matriculation continues to climb. Obtaining a degree in the humanities or the social sciences is increasingly seen as conventionally unemployable - meaningless even - and even those with advanced degrees tend to earn less than graduates in other fields.
Is the study of our culture and society, then, doomed to obsolescence? No. It goes without saying that art, literature, history, and social interaction lay at the very heart of what makes us human. They do what no mechanistic science can - they express how it is to exist, and they guide us towards a vision of a happier, more just world. To wield science without humanism is to disregard the end of science itself: uplifting humanity.
In this article, we showcase Mr. Kearney, Dr. Cross, and Dr. Kotlarczyk’s perspectives on the humanities and social sciences at IMSA and in the world at large. They argue for the importance of their fields, offer suggestions for education, extracurriculars, and employment, and provide advice for prospective students. Though we attend a math and science academy, their words are a reminder that our future educations and careers need not, and should not, be consigned solely to Feynmann diagrams and indefinite integrals. Our world is far too complex and beautiful to qualify through equations alone.
Deng, Russell '22
"IMSA Teachers' Thoughts on the State of Humanities and Social Sciences,"
Zeitgeist: Vol. 2022:
1, Article 9.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.imsa.edu/zeitgeist/vol2022/iss1/9