AIF Blog

Humanities in Decline: A Cultural Crisis

Aug 30, 2016
CATEGORY: Arts, Education, U.S.A.

Is America turning its back on the humanities? The declining enrollment in disciplines including history, literature, language, philosophy and the arts, at colleges and universities across the country, signals a significant cultural shift. In this episode, Leon Wieseltier, contributing editor for The Atlantic, and Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust unpack why the diminished appeal of the humanities has huge cultural implications. Can this trend be reversed in a challenging age, when technology and quantification are highly revered? 


Works mentioned in the episode

 This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War, Drew Gilpin Faust






 Kaddish, Leon Wieseltier








Harvard Magazine: The Power of Patience, Jennifer Roberts


The “Aspen Ideas to Go” podcast is a weekly show featuring fascinating speakers who have presented at the Aspen Ideas Festival and other public programs offered by the Aspen Institute — including Aspen Words, the Alma and Joseph Gildenhorn Book Series, and various events around the country. For a curated listening experience, subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or listen to each episode on the Aspen Ideas website.

By Marci Krivonen, Associate Editor/Producer, Public Programs