September 4, 2014

Humanities scholars not very diverse

The Splintered Mind- Tina Fernandes Botts and colleagues have recently posted a fascinating analysis of the shockingly low numbers of black- or African-American- identified philosophers in the United States. According to their data, 1.3% of U.S. philosophers self-identify as black (compared to 13% in the general U.S. population).

 ... I went to the Survey of Earned Doctorates to look up some of the raw data. There, I found that the overwhelming whiteness of philosophy is not so unusual among the humanities, if one digs down into the subfield data.

I thought I'd aggregate the three most recent years' data by humanities subfield (U.S. citizens and permanent residents only).....

Starting with philosophy we see:

  • 84.5% white
  • 6.8% Hispanic 
  • 3.0% Asian
  • 2.0% black or African-American
  • 0.0% American Indian
  • 3.6% multi-racial, other, or unknown

  • Looking only at "white" and "black", here are all the other coded humanities, bolded if either the white percentage exceeds or the black percentage falls below that in philosophy:

    Foreign Languages:

  • French & Italian literature: 87% white, 3.4% black
  • German literature: 91% white, 1.2% black
  • Spanish literature: 51% white, 0.9% black (45% Hispanic)

  • History:

  • American history (U.S. and Canada): 82% white, 7.3% black
  • Asian history: 53% white, 0.8% black (38% Asian)
  • European history: 90% white, 1.6% black
  • History, science, technology, and society: 85% white, 2.7% black
  • Latin American history: 50% white, 6.6% black (41% Hispanic)
  • Middle/Near-East studies: 84% white, 0.0% black

  • Letters:

  • American literature (U.S. and Canada): 78% white, 6.6% black
  • Classics: 91% white, 0.4% black
  • Comparative literature: 73% white, 4.0% black
  • English language: 79% white, 7.1% black
  • English literature (British and Commonwealth): 86% white, 1.7% black

  • Other humanities:

  • American/U.S. studies: 60% white, 14.6% black
  • Archaeology: 85% white, 1.6% black
  • Art: 81% white, 1.5% black
  • Drama/theater arts: 78% white, 5.8% black
  • Music: 77% white, 2.7% black
  • Musicology/ethnomusicology: 78% white, 2.6% black
  • Music performance: 79% white, 2.2% black
  • Music theory and composition: 87% white, 0.5% black
  • Religion/religious studies: 81% white, 4.3% black

  • These data thus stand in sharp contrast to the gender data, where philosophy is unusual among the humanities in remaining overwhelmingly male. Philosophy is joined by French, German, and Italian literature, English literature, classics, European history, archaeology, and music theory in being mostly non-Hispanic white folks.

    1 comment:

    Anonymous said...

    This is fine, Euros need to know where they came from. The Humanities come out of New England culture inherited from Cambridge puritans on back to the great Druid cultures that inform American democracy. If White humanists fall down on the job, then what's left is scam artists. Whites studying things unrelated to the Humanities, like business, is what led to the steep national decline into barbarism. The nation that raised a Charles Sumner and Emerson now gives us a population that can not find the US on a map.