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The Decline of History Degrees

Yet in centers of learning across North America, the study of the past in general, and of wars in particular, is in spectacular eclipse. History now accounts for a smaller share of undergraduate degrees than at any time since 1950. Whereas in 1970, 6% of American male and 5% of female students were history majors, the respective percentages are now less than 2% and less than 1%, respectively…

The revulsion from war history may derive not so much from students’ unwillingness to explore the violent past, but from academics’ reluctance to teach, or even allow their universities to host such courses. Some dub the subject “warnography,” and the aversion can extend to the study of international relations. Less than half of all history departments now employ a diplomatic historian, against 85% in 1975. As for war, as elderly scholars retire from posts in which they have studied it, many are not replaced: the roles are redefined.   

An eminent historian recently told me of a young man majoring in science at Harvard who wanted to take humanities on history, including the U.S. Civil War. He was offered only one course — which addressed the history of humans and their pets.

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About Jon Siemko

Welcome to my on-line home, of all my Political writings and Musings, toryredux.com. I currently reside in a suburb, West of Toronto, Why don't you stay and take a look?
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