January 07, 2009

In Need of a Bailout

In case you were wondering how truly fucking pathetic the historian's job market is, check out this report about the "very good indeed" numbers
coming out of the American Historical Association:

"The total number of positions listed with the AHA (which includes all full-time positions and fellowships paying $28,000 or more per year) rose a modest 2.8 percent, to 1,057 openings. This is the largest number of positions ever advertised with the AHA in a single year, and marks a 24 percent increase in openings since the last economic contraction between 2001 and 2003. The largest growth in job openings occurred in the public history section of our job listings, which grew by 27.9 percent over the prior year. But there was also modest growth in advertisements from most regions of the country. Admittedly, the numbers are fairly small—an increase of seven positions in both New England and the Mid-Atlantic regions, and four new jobs in the states around the Great Lakes. But given that they were growing from the highest numbers on record, any growth seems very good indeed. "

That is 28 grand for positions that require a PhD in history.

That is a full $20,000 below the median U.S. income, though it is higher than minimum wage.

The average time to get a History PhD is 8.5 years.

By any reasonable calculation, a historian would be better off in virtually any unskilled or semi-skilled position that requires no education whatsoever and save the eight years for doing whatever it is all other Americans do for 8.5 years of their rapidly fleeting lives.

Since at least half of the people in this country eat sand (when there is no crawdad) in order to stay alive, this cannot be a promising sign for the pale-skinned, stoop shouldered academics bringing home half the bacon.

A young wanna-be historian would be better advised to become a drug mule for the Mexican cartel than to go to graduate school. A few trips of swallowed condoms and presto, $28,000!

I think Freakonomics established that even low level crack dealers earn at least minimum wage

Prior to the collapse of the American economy, there were Wall Street cheats who used 28 grand merely to wipe their asses after particularly spectacular blowouts.

Since academics are supposed to be smart (I won't even claim they are common sensical) shouldn't somebody perk up and, like, occupy a building, or write a very stern memo or even an article in an unread specialist journal, or ignite themselves Vietnamese Buddhist style in the quad to stop the madness?

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