Stan Katz reports at Brainstorm that there has been a modest, but significant, cut to the humanities in the 2011 federal budget.
Here are the details:
- Funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities were cut by over $7 million.
- The NEH “Bridging Cultures” initiative was funded at $2.5 million
- $3 million was cut from the “We the People” initiative
- The “Teaching American History” program is not listed as a line item in the budget. It looks like this initiative may have come to an end. This is very disappointing.
- The budget of the National Historic Publications and Records Commission (which funds historical editing, among other things) has been cut from $13- to $10-million. Katz calls this a punishing reduction.
- The Smithsonian and the Library of Congress “held their ground.”
the humanities community, like all sensible observers of the federal government, realized that the budget deficits incurred in response to the recession and the two wars would necessitate some serious budget cutting. The proposed cuts are modest, but of course they leave NEH far behind its level in the early 1990s, and make it seem unlikely that the endowment will recover its best funding levels anytime soon. We clearly will have to do more with not so much, but since this comes at a time when the universities are reeling financially, philanthropic foundations have cut back, and private donors are in a defensive crouch, it will really hurt. At a time when our universities are increasingly focused on the near term and measurable social impacts, humanists have reason to worry about support for both their academic and public activities.