Are Faculty in the Humanities Liberal?

Yes, almost surely so. But Stanley Fish, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago, has what I think is the right response:

David Brooks is only the most recent sage to point out that, especially in the humanities and social sciences, a huge percentage of the faculty is self-identified as left of center. The result, says Brooks, a columnist for the Times, is a small brave band of conservative professors and students who are the victims of discrimination and can cope only if they “keep their views in the closet.”

This is a mixture of nonsense and paranoia. In any institution I have ever taught at, conservative students are more vocal than their counterparts, especially when they are complaining loudly that their voices aren’t being heard. And as for the assertion that “faculties skew overwhelmingly to the left,” I would say first, that it is a supply-side problem — if conservatives really want to spend their lives teaching modern poetry and Byzantine art, they should stop whining and do the dissertations and write the books, and they’ll get the jobs — and second, that it’s not a problem.

It really would be that simple, but incessant whining is much easier than the hard work required to complete a dissertation in the humanities, endure years of meager pay as a post-doc, and then perhaps finally land a tenure-track position.

AB

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