I’m reading a discussion about university education in the United States on The Economist (a British publication that writes about the US a lot) and I just had to quote this comment. This person truly understands the absurdities one often encounters in academia.
The only worthwhile research is that done in the “hard” sciences and, perhaps, in psychology and sociology. For other disciplines, and I mean history, political science, gender studies, Lit, and languages, the “research” is just endless re-churning of the same data in hopes that this will earn the researcher tenure.
If another book about, for example, the Civil War is never written we will be just fine. It is, though, only a matter of time until an aspiring academic publishes her dissertation, “Pink Union Suits — Gays in the Army of the Potomac.” This will inspire someone to write “Johnny Deb: Coming Out of the Closet in Lee’s Army.” Shortly thereafter will come the first revisionist work, “Ramrod: Male Sexuality in Civil War Armies.” A scholarly conference will ensue with calls for papers and inevitably, a new academic association will emerge. Universities, now wasting taxpayer money with Black Studies, Asian Studies, Queer Studies, Gender Studies, etc., will request — and receive– state funds to establish a Department of Military Sexuality Studies. More conferences more papers . . . more tax money down the drain.
Naive liberal arts majors will emerge up to their kysters in debt assumed to obtain a B.A. in Military Sexuality Studies. They will starve.
Though I disagree a bit – not all humanities* research is useless (I’ve seen interesting political science work about the political system in Belarus, for example, and the 1990s in Russia have not yet been properly examined by historians, so the potential for good work exists there) – this person truly understands the weird, weird ways in which many academics like to analyze events. This comment was just too amazing not to post.
*By humanities, I mean legitimate fields like history, political science, and literature. That gender studies nonsense is not humanities. I don’t even recognize it as a proper academic field in which research should be conducted.