An important “Roundtable of links” on “the value of the Humanities” has just been set up by James Grossman, the Executive Director of the American Historical Association; I urge members to have a look at the range of articles and opinion pieces there. This is an important initiative at a time when—as Grossman puts it—“politicians and business leaders across the country have sharply attacked humanistic and social science disciplines as not only frivolous (an old charge as pertaining to the humanities) but also a waste of taxpayers’ money and students’ time”. You can access a variety of papers on this site, including one by APA member Peter Burian. I am sure you will find much ammunition there for your own debates with students and their parents, with administrators and colleagues in other disciplines. It is heartening to see such spirited and well-informed advocacy for the intrinsic value and the social importance of the humanistic and social science disciplines. But we will have to keep making that case.
As you’ll see, James Grossman hopes that colleagues will themselves contribute and send them the link. In that spirit, I recommend, in addition to the contributions on Grossman’s site, the following articles on this important topic: Bob Connor in Inside Higher Ed; Hunter R. Rawlings III and Lillian Aoki in the Huffington Post; and Richard H. Brodhead in the Duke Magazine. Bob Connor’s blog is a great way to stay informed as is his occasional newsletter.