Arguing for history: If not skills, then what?

I was thinking about how i could blog about the Queens Uni (Belfast) VC idiotic comments on History – but this is simply the best blog i have read.


The quiet, leafy corner of Twitter where I spend increasing amounts of my time exploded this morning with responses to the following statement:

Society doesn’t need a 21-year-old who is a sixth century historian. It needs a 21-year-old who really understands how to analyse things, understands the tenets of leadership and contributing to society, who is a thinker and someone who has the potential to help society drive forward.

Non-academics may be surprised to learn that the author of the statement was in fact not a Trump advisor or even a random sentence generator, but instead the vice chancellor (president, for North Americans) of a major research university, Queen’s University Belfast. Meanwhile, historians on either side of the Atlantic will find the sentiment familiar and the source all too predictable. In light of my last couple of posts regarding the use of “skills” language to defend history and the humanities, Dr. Johnston’s…

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