The New York Times reports that the humanities are feeling the pinch of budget cutbacks at universities:
With additional painful cuts across the board a near certainty even as millions of federal stimulus dollars may be funneled to education, the humanities are under greater pressure than ever to justify their existence to administrators, policy makers, students and parents
But it isn’t just the humanities. Anthropology is hurting as well.
These are uncertain days at Florida State University’s anthropology department.
University officials have told Glen Doran, chairman of the department, to not accept any new graduate students for the 2009-10 school year.
This has prompted rumors that the anthropology department – it has 120 undergraduate students, 35 active grad students and another 30 in various stages of finishing their degrees – may be on the chopping block when FSU is forced to make painful cuts following the upcoming legislative session.
I was sympathetic to this story, and even joined the Facebook group they set up to defend the department, but I was very concerned by this quote:
Anthropology plays a vital role in today’s geopolitical world, Ward said. The military recruited anthropologists to help it better understand and communicate with people in Afghanistan, she noted.
If we are going to have to start advertising HTS as a justification for Anthropology’s continued existence, maybe we should join the French and eliminate the discipline altogether.