U.S. Intellectual History Blog

Alpers on the Future of the Discipline

The 50th anniversary issue of Perspectives on History (Vol. 50, No. 9, Dec. 2012), my copy of which arrived in the mail on Thursday, features a forum on the Future of the Discipline.  Guest edited by Lynn Hunt, the forum includes a piece by Ben Alpers, “The Future of the Profession.” 

As noted in Perspectives, Ben’s contribution to the forum grew out of a talk he gave last year at the University of Texas at Dallas.  Ben was the keynote speaker at RAW, our annual symposium sponsored by the Graduate Student Association of the School of Arts & Humanities.  
Our theme at last year’s symposium was The Future of the Humanities.  Historians are notoriously (and wisely) cautious about predicting the future, and Ben was no exception there.  But he did do an exceptional job of sketching out for a packed audience of grad students and professors some of the present pressing problems that cast a worrisome shadow on that future.  And he made some practical suggestions for what we can try to do about it. 
Ben published a revised version of his keynote speech on this blog.  His post, “The Academy in Peril,” is well worth reading — as is his article in Perspectives.  
Members of the AHA can access Ben’s article online using this link: