• 2010-2021 Duration: 11 Years

They say the humanities are in “crisis.” Society values the sciences more highly. Students turn to other majors promising apparently predictable paths to jobs. In recessions, universities and colleges cut humanities programs first. And funding support for the humanities continues to be a rounding error in the national budget. Decisively, they say, the humanities are in crisis.

Yet in 2019 when the American Academy of Arts and Science’s Humanities Indicators project surveyed Americans’ experience and views of the humanities, the top takeaway was that there was “considerable agreement about the personal and societal benefits of the humanities, substantial engagement with a variety of humanities activities at home and in the workplace, and strong support for teaching humanities subjects in the schools.”

That’s also what they say. So what does everyone actually say about the humanities? With what nuance, in what contexts, and in the company of what other, even contrasting views? And who are “they” anyway? Our WhatEvery1Says (WE1S) project studied these questions by taking an approach complementing, but different from, surveying (though we did some surveying too). We read the media. In particular, we used computational methods to help us study vast numbers of articles and social media posts mentioning the humanities. Read more about our methods and findings at the WE1S website.