...“History, in short, is in trouble,” Ferguson observes after looking at how the enrolment numbers and courses on offer have changed over the decades. “History departments neglect the defining events of modern world history in favor of topics that are either arcane or agitprop, sometimes both. The result has been a sustained decline in history enrolments. The long-term effects on the elite who are educated at top American universities are unlikely to be positive. The ‘United States of Amnesia’ will get no better at learning from history if the people who end up running the republic know next to no history at all.”
The share of history and social science degrees has dropped from 18% of all undergraduate degrees at U.S. schools in 1971 to 9% in 2014. This doesn’t tell the full story either. Because the type of history being studied has changed alongside these declining numbers.
“The data reveal a very big increase in the number of historians who specialize in women and gender, which has risen from 1% of the total to almost 10%,” Ferguson notes. “As a result, gender is now the single most important subfield in the academy.”
The first and more obvious way this connects to Peterson is that if gender studies numbers are on the rise they’re, of course, going to see a professor who’s standing up to their racket as a threat and mobilize against him.
But it’s also telling that students are losing their grasp of traditional history. It makes contemporary events so much more relative to them. Students have less of a frame of reference from which to understand the world...