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Folklore Departments Featured in New AAAS Humanities Departmental Survey

Monday, September 8, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Tim Lloyd
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In 2008, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS) initiated the first in what was envisioned as a periodic series of Humanities Departmental Surveys (HDS) to provide useful information about the state of the humanities in higher education in the US. The first survey provided information on departments in the fields of art history, English, history, history of science, languages and literatures other than English (LLE), linguistics, combined English and LLE, and religion.

The Academy has just released reports from the second round of this survey, conducted in 2012-2013. This second survey included the eight fields covered in the first, as well as departments in five additional humanities fields: classical studies, communication, musicology, philosophy—and folklore studies.

AFS worked closely with the AAAS to advocate for the inclusion of folklore studies in this survey process and to encourage departments to respond. Folklore departments’ participation in this second survey—which will mean that our field will be included in future HDS rounds—is a critical element of AFS’s larger effort to make the case that our field is a primary humanities discipline. We thank all the departments who took part in this project.

The questions in the second round of the HDS covered a number of topics included in the original survey—such as the number and character of departments, the faculty teaching in them, and their students—while adding new questions designed to understand departments’ undergraduate assessment practices and to capture the ways humanities departments connect to the wider world through workforce training and the digital humanities.

The Statistical Research Center at the American Institute of Physics (AIP) worked with staff members at the AAAS Humanities Indicators project, stakeholders from the scholarly societies that serve these thirteen fields, and funders at the National Endowment for the Humanities to revise the original survey instrument and field it. As with the first department survey, AIP achieved a remarkably high response rate (over 70% for most fields, and folklore’s response rate was 93%).

For links to the full HDS-2 set of reports and tables, please visit For a page of links to findings about the field of folklore studies, please visit For the full report on folklore studies, please visit

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