February 03, 2009
By Robert B. Townsend
As a number of our members have observed, the data reported by the AHA tends to offer a fairly narrow view—generally only studying trends in the history discipline. The new Humanities Resource Center provides a contextual mirror that can provide a better perspective on where we are as a discipline, where we might be headed, and what our obligations should be as a profession.
The center offers a wider perspective, providing comparable data, but data that places history in the larger context of the humanities. The information ranges from the information reported here—on students and teachers in the schools and colleges, the opportunities for employment in the humanities, general funding for humanities research, and the general health of the humanities in American life.
In the interests of full disclosure, I should note that staff at the AHA have been actively involved in the development of the indicators over the past five years. So we are quite enthusiastic about the current version, and we can state with confidence that it will be adding important new features over the coming years.