The Humanities Needs a New “Home”

We’ve had a huge range of laments about how the humanities are “dying,” because universities are killing off humanities majors, dropping tenure lines for humanities faculty, insisting on the college degree as job training, etc. But those of us who are in humanities disciplines know that this is BS. The humanities are not dying; they’re simply being driven out of the institutions that have been their primary home for the past century.

When you’re driven out of your home, it hurts. It’s difficult, and may cause serious problems and complications. But it’s not the end of the line and it doesn’t mean you’re dead. So: how do we make a new home for the humanities outside of the academy? What would it look like? What good things do we want to keep from the past, and what bad things do we want to discard? What new endeavors could we start?

I’ve been working on my own transition into the tech industry as I try to switch careers, and I think there are models there that we can draw on–open source work, radically inviting communities, free educational resources, local meet-ups that lead to larger networks. A “public humanities” that makes clear how the humanities are inextricably tied into all aspects of human life (hence, you know, “humanities”).

So, yeah. That’s what I have so far. Join the conversation, and let’s figure out where to go.

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