Are the Humanities Dead, or Are Academic Programs Just Too Narrow?

In The Chronicle of Higher Education‘s ongoing “Brainstorm” blog series, Diane Auer Jones (a former assistant secretary for postsecondary education at the U.S. Department¬† of Education) argues that the humanities aren’t dying–rather, the academic world is no longer the center of humanities education.

She writes:

“[T]raditional institutions of higher education may no longer be the center of the universe and central authority when it comes to engaging and educating people in the humanities. With the expansion of distance and other lifelong learning opportunities, those with interests in the humanities might just find that there is more information available to them, and in formats they prefer, when they look outside of the traditional classroom to learn.”

Jones goes on to assert that the problem plaguing academic departments in the humanities isn’t the death of subject matter, but the overspecialization of doctoral studies.

Have academic studies in the humanities indeed lost sight of the essence of “relevance of the humanities to the current conditions of national life“? Or, as Wikipedia summarizes it–the “study of the human condition“?

Link: Are the Humanities Dead, or Are Academic Programs Just Too Narrow? – Brainstorm [The Chronicle of Higher Education]