Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Institute for Futures Studies

No 2011:4: Vilka var humanisterna? Underlag till Humanisterna och framtidssamhället: Tre studier och en workshop om humanioras framtid Kulturhuset, Stockholm, den 24 mars 2011

Lars Geschwind () and Miriam Terrell ()
Additional contact information
Lars Geschwind: Institute for Futures Studies, Postal: Institute for Futures Studies, Box 591, SE-101 31 Stockholm, Sweden
Miriam Terrell: Institute for Futures Studies, Postal: Institute for Futures Studies, Box 591, SE-101 31 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: In debates about the Humanities, historical references, more or less anecdotal, are requently used. The aim of this project is to present some facts about the Humanities’ academic environments and their main activities. To be more precise, we have scrutinised three Humanities disciplines and their development over time: 1900, 1950 and 2000. We have chosen Archeology, English and History with a special focus on Lund University and Uppsala University. Our main tasks have been to describe the existing staff resources at the time as well as the main activities undertaken. The empirical material used has been written sources in the form of catalogues, annual reports, protocols and phone books. The study shows that the three subjects were in a formation phase around 1900. There are single teachers in place in Archeology and English whereas History hosted a larger number of academic staff. By the turn of the millennium, there was a great diversity in terms of staff categories and the total number of staff has increased dramatically. For instance, the lone Archeology teacher in 1900 has become 75 by the year 2000 (Medieval Archeology included). However, the student numbers have increased even more. In 1900 there were in total 1,000-1,500 students at each university. That number was tripled in 1950 and the years after 2000 there was an enormous increase compared to the earlier years in this study. English alone had approximately 5,000 students, i.e. the double total number of students at the universities in Lund and Uppsala in 1900. The publication patterns have changed during the period, but perhaps not to the extent one might expect. As far as type of publication is concerned, historians are most inclined to write monographs. The other subjects publish more articles. Around 2000, English has increasingly become the publication language of Archeology and, perhaps less surprising, English. Historians still prefer Swedish. However, this issue goes beyond English or Swedish. It is striking how broad the language skills were around the year 1900, at least in terms of publications. Beside Swedish, many researchers published scientific texts in French, German and English. Outreach activities reported in annual reports etc. show a great breadth during the whole period, e.g. committees, censorship, writing popular science or taking part in politics and societal debate. However, within the frames of this study, we have not been able to analyse the societal role of the Humanities to any great extent.

Keywords: Humanities’ academic environments; Archeology; English; History; staff resources; activities undertaken

JEL-codes: I21

33 pages, March 24, 2011

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