THREAD: If you want to understand the academic job crisis in the humanities and some social sciences, it's mostly an accumulated glut from decades of PhD overproduction.
PhD overproduction occurs because PhD programs are desired by faculty and administrators for reasons of prestige, more funding & better pay, and a source of students to TA/RA
Contrary to popular myth, humanities jobs are not declining though. They're actually expanding faster than most fields except healthcare. And they're clearly outpacing STEM + business
In fact, the lion's share of academic job commitments for new PhDs in 2016 went to humanities, arts, and social sciences.
But humanities PhDs are still far outpacing the number of jobs, even as jobs have grown. Add to that an existing glut from holdovers who failed to secure jobs in previous years, and it starts to accumulate quickly.
Yet undergrad students are still fleeing the humanities, despite a decent employment market. Why?

One answer is politics. And specifically, the humanities have become hyperpoliticized in a far leftward direction in just the past few decades.
Almost all of that leftward shift occurred after 2000.
And the driver of that leftward shift is not a subtle movement away from the political center - it's actually the sharp rise in faculty who identify on the far-left, e.g. Marxists, critical theorists, and similar fellow travelers.
Entering undergrad students, by contrast, still spread relatively evenly across the political spectrum. And the typical student is much closer to the political center than their professors.
Extensive survey data reveal that conservative-leaning students are much more likely to report ideological discrimination on campus, feel pressured to conceal their beliefs in the classroom, etc. So they are clearly noticing the faculty's leftward shift.
Meanwhile the more politically imbalanced disciplines also strongly correlate with the departments that are having trouble retaining majors - i.e. most of the humanities.
So in the end you have (1) PhD overprodution outpacing humanities job growth, creating a glut of job seekers, (2) humanities depts shifting to the far left, and (3) students fleeing the same departments.
Combined, these suggest that humanities hiring will not increase to meet the glut in the foreseeable future, and current humanities profs may be their own worst enemies at preventing faster job growth because they are driving away potential majors with their hyperpoliticization
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