Fall 2023 Bulletin: Annual Report

The Humanities, Arts & Culture

Ads for Broadway shows light up above taxis in Times Square at night.
Photo by iStock.com/aluxum.

The humanities, arts, and culture are woven through virtually every Academy program, where artists and humanists add interdisciplinary breadth to projects in science, democracy, and security. However, the Academy also undertakes projects that put humanities, arts, and culture at the forefront, strengthening their practice and highlighting their importance to all aspects of the nation’s thriving intellectual life. These projects call attention to the role the arts and humanities play in enriching the growth and vitality of individuals, communities, and the nation.

Advisory Committee

Johanna Drucker, Chair
University of California, Los Angeles

Louise Henry Bryson
Public Media Group of Southern California

Joy Connolly
American Council of Learned Societies

Oskar Eustis
Public Theater

Rubén Gallo
Princeton University

Margaret Jacobs
University of Nebraska

Marie-Josée Kravis
Museum of Modern Art

Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot
Harvard University

Sarah Maza
Northwestern University

Pedro Noguera
University of Southern California

Oscar Tang
New York, NY

Ayanna Thompson
Arizona State University

Sherry Turkle
Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Advisory Committee Meetings

April 14, 2023 (virtual);
May 3, 2023 (virtual);
October 11, 2023 (virtual)

At these meetings, members of the newly reconstituted Advisory Committee reviewed ideas for projects and offered recommendations for future priorities.


The Humanities Indicators

Top left: A person with long blond hair and pale skin sits at a table in a library. They face an open laptop computer and smile at their monitor. Top right: A group of four people in business attire sit at a table where books and computers are scattered across the top. One speaks and the other turn to face them, listening intently. Bottom right: A three-dimensional line graph charts progress along a wall above a stack of books whose height mimics the trajectory of the graph. Bottom left: A person with short
Clockwise from top left: iStock.com/insta_photos, iStock.com/pixelfit, iStock.com/Svitlana Unuchko, iStock.com/standret.

The Humanities Indicators provide nonpartisan statistical information about all aspects of the humanities: from early childhood reading, through undergraduate and graduate education in the humanities, to employment and humanities experiences in daily life, such as reading and visits to museums. Now in its fourteenth year as a publicly available website, the project tracks the condition of the humanities enterprise via analyses of data gathered by the federal government as well as through its own rigorous survey research. The project is one of the most cited activities of the Academy, and journalists, advocates, government agencies, and academics regularly call on the project staff for information and their expertise. Building on the Indicators work, the Summer 2022 issue of Dædalus was dedicated to the humanities and the public, covering topics from the public humanities to the medical and environmental humanities.

Recent work has focused on outcomes for college graduates in the humanities at both the undergraduate and graduate level and the trends in students earning degrees in the humanities. The project is developing addi­tional areas of original research. In fall 2023, the Indicators administered a survey of humanities departments, asking about the condition of their faculty, students, and programs as well as external pressures on their work. State-level reports on career outcomes for humanities majors will supplement the survey. Alongside that work, the project is also developing plans to revise and update a national inventory of humanities organizations. The Humanities Indicators are accessible at www.amacad.org/humanities-indicators.

Project Directors

Norman M. Bradburn
NORC at the University of Chicago

Robert B. Townsend
American Academy of Arts and Sciences


Advisory Committee

Edward Ayers
University of Richmond

Jack Buckley
American Institutes for Research

Jonathan R. Cole
Columbia University

John Dichtl
American Association for State and Local History

Michael Hout
New York University

Felice J. Levine
American Educational Research Association

James Shulman
American Council of Learned Societies

Phoebe Stein
Federation of State Humanities Councils

Judith Tanur
Stony Brook University


Project Staff

Carolyn Fuqua
Program Officer for the Humanities Indicators

Maysan Haydar
Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Humanities Policy Fellow



Mellon Foundation

Carl H. Pforzheimer III

The Humanities Indicators was developed with generous support from the National Endowment for the Humanities; Elihu Rose and the Madison Charitable Fund; John P. Birkelund; Peck Stackpoole Foundation; Rockefeller Foundation; Sara Lee Foundation; Teagle Foundation; Walter B. Hewlett and the William R. Hewlett Trust; and William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

Project Publications

“The Humanities in American Life: Transforming the Relationship with the Public,” Dædalus, edited by Carin Berkowitz, Norman Bradburn & Robert B. Townsend (Summer 2022)

State of the Humanities 2022: From Graduate Education to the Workforce (American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2022)

State of the Humanities 2021: Workforce & Beyond (American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2021)

Project Meeting

Virtual Meeting of the Humanities Indicators Advisory Committee

January 11, 2023

The members of the Advisory Committee reviewed recent work by the Indicators staff as well as proposals for future research projects, and offered advice about future work.


The History of the Academy Book Project


Stacks of antiquated books sit beside one open book with handwritten text on yellowing pages inside.
Photo by Joseph Moore.

Looking forward to its 250th anniversary in 2030, the Academy selected award-winning historian Jacqueline Jones (University of Texas at Austin) to write a one-volume account of the Academy’s past. The anniversary history will provide a full and honest assessment of the Academy’s activities and membership since its establishment in 1780, and place the Academy within the larger history of the nation it was created to serve.

Jacqueline (Jackie) Jones is a rare academic historian who writes for both the public and a peer scholarly audience. Her work has been recognized with the Bancroft Prize, a MacArthur Fellowship, membership in the American Academy, and most recently the presidency of the American Historical Association. Her publications include Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow: Black Women, Work, and the Family from Slavery to the Present; Saving Savannah: The City and the Civil War; A Dreadful Deceit: The Myth of Race from the Colonial Era to Obama’s America; and No Right to an Honest Living: The Struggles of Boston’s Black Workers in the Civil War Era.

Advisory Committee

Catherine Allgor
Massachusetts Historical Society

Craig Calhoun
Arizona State University

Daniel J. Cohen
Northwestern University

Paula J. Giddings
Smith College

David A. Hollinger
University of California, Berkeley

Sally Gregory Kohlstedt
University of Minnesota

David W. Oxtoby
American Academy of Arts and Sciences

David M. Rubenstein
The Carlyle Group

Ben Vinson III
Howard University



Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Foundation

Exploratory Meeting 

The Heart of the Matter + 10 Symposium

On March 30–31, 2023, the Academy hosted an exploratory meeting to discuss the health of the humanities. The meeting connected three separate projects: 1) Members had encouraged the Academy to look at the growing problems in the field (e.g., reduced majors and shuttered departments), “with the goal of articulating concrete ideas for actions that can be taken at various levels to save the Humanities”; 2) the authors in the Summer 2022 Dædalus issue on the humanities and the public had delayed their in-person discussion due to a resurgence of the pandemic; and 3) a commemoration of the ten-year anniversary of the release of The Heart of the Matter report of the Academy’s Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences, published in 2013. The meeting gathered leaders in the field to discuss what has happened over the previous decade, and to think creatively about where the field might be ten years in the future. The symposium included a mix of panel presentations and roundtable discussions so that leaders in the field could discuss these questions and try to formulate some practical solutions. The event included remarks by Richard Brodhead, cochair of the Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences.

While most of the conversations occurred behind closed doors, the meeting also included a public-facing event on March 30 on “The Humanities and the Rise of the Terabytes.” Danielle Allen (Harvard University), a member of the original Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences, offered thoughts on the challenges the humanities face as a historical and contemporary practice in an age of digital superabundance. Following her remarks, PBS arts correspondent Jeffrey Brown joined her for a conversation that explored practical applications for the humanities, the effects of technology on the public’s interests and attention spans, and the role of the humanities in contemporary political debates and culture wars.

Project Staff

Maysan Haydar
Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Humanities Policy Fellow

Tania Munz
Chief Program Officer

Alex Parker-Guerrero
Communications Specialist

Robert B. Townsend
Director, Humanities, Arts, and Culture Programs; Codirector, Humanities Indicators



Nicholas Allen
University of Georgia

Carin Berkowitz
New Jersey Humanities Council

Matthew Booker
National Humanities Center

Richard H. Brodhead
Duke University

Louise Bryson
Public Media Group of Southern California

Kelsey Coates
National Endowment for the Humanities

Joy Connolly
American Council of Learned Societies

Johanna Drucker
University of California, Los Angeles

Alain-Philippe Durand
University of Arizona

Amy Ferrer
American Philosophical Association

Matthew Gibson
Virginia Humanities

Paula J. Giddings
Smith College

James Grossman
American Historical Association

Phillip Brian Harper
Mellon Foundation

Dianne Harris
University of Washington

Christine Henseler
Union College

Sylvester Johnson
Virginia Tech

Jackie Kellish
National Humanities Center

Stephen Kidd
National Humanities Alliance

Paula Krebs
Modern Language Association

Earl Lewis
University of Michigan

Alan Liu
University of California, Santa Barbara

Jodi Magness
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Robert Newman
National Humanities Center

David W. Oxtoby
American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Lynn Pasquerella
American Association of Colleges and Universities

Phoebe Stein
Federation of State Humanities Councils



Mellon Foundation

Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Foundation