For a young humanities major, it can feel like everyone from Barack Obama to your Uncle Bob is denouncing your choice of academic field. What will you ever do, they ask, with that degree in history, Russian literature, the classics or, worst of all, communications?
Millennials are supposed to be picking STEM majors that will enable the U.S. to compete with China and India, the-powers-that-be insist. But to fight humanities-phobia (and presumably save their own jobs), a national group of so-called “master teachers” is about to issue a report requesting increased support for liberal arts subjects, according to the New York Times.
From the Times:
“People talk about the humanities and social sciences ‘as if they are a waste of time,’ said Richard H. Brodhead, the president of Duke University and a co-chairman of the commission that produced the report. ‘But this facile negativism forgets that many of the country’s most successful and creative people had exactly this kind of education.'”
Right, because without liberal arts majors, there’d be nobody around to use phrases like “facile negativism.”
And hey, Mr. Obama himself majored in political science. Presidential wannabe Mitt Romney majored in English. PayPal CEO Peter Theil and FDIC chair Sheila Bair both picked philosophy, and former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina majored in medieval studies, according to Business Insider.
The Times also reports that only 7.6 percent of bachelor’s degrees granted in 2010 were in humanities fields, so maybe it’s time for us to chill out on this “zillions of English majors work at Starbucks” hysteria. And if you’re dead-set on working in tech and majoring in English, remember: you could always get a job at a tech blog.