"Any which way you care to look at them, the humanities in the United States are in radical, sharp decline. The number of history students is down about 45 per cent since 2007, the number of English students has halved since the late 1990s." . . .
"The most common response to the humanities crisis at the MLA was lament.
At the many, many panels devoted to decline that I attended, many, many
academics bemoaned their state, confessing to profound spasms of guilt
and despair, and exploring 'the larger cultural devaluation of the
humanities'." . . .
"As the humanities decline in the United States, the country is losing
the craft of understanding, losing its capacity for citizenship. Even
educated people are increasingly unable and unwilling to distinguish
between fake and real information, becoming a community that cannot
understand itself as anything more than a circulation of figures.
Self-righteousness takes the place of substantive discussion. Narcissism
and outrage become the dominant techniques of self-definition. And the
cure for all these problems is the same: read widely, read deeply, read."
The full article, "Back in the MLA" by Stephen Marche, is at the TLS website here.