Humanities at the Crossroads

Humanities at the Crossroads is a national initiative to research the status and future of the humanities in America, with Indiana serving as a case study.

View Executive Summary
Humanities at the Crossroads

Humanities at the Crossroads is a national initiative to better understand the status and future of the academic and public humanities in American life, and to research the variety of ways the humanities have been practiced, transformed, supported, evaluated, and justified over the past 50 years.

As part of that initiative, Indiana Humanities conducted a case study of Indiana’s humanities “ecosystem.” (The humanities include fields such as history, literature, philosophy and ethics, world languages and cultures, archaeology and comparative religion.)

Read the executive summary.


Key findings from the study

The humanities are as popular as or even more popular than in the past and that these activities contribute to the sense of place that every community is trying to enhance.

Most organizations say they never or only sometimes use the term “humanities” with their constituents, but rather talk about programs such as book discussions, movie showings, author visits.

There is potential for strengthening humanities organizations in Indiana and for building up the network of humanities groups.

On the whole, organizations are fairly optimistic about the state of the humanities in their communities.

They are neutral or slightly positive about the humanities being accessible for everyone.

Organizations providing humanities content in Indiana are lean and longstanding. More than 20 percent have been in existence for a century or more.

Funding sources for the humanities are flat or in decline.

Nearly 400 people from 88 counties in Indiana completed the survey in late summer and early fall of 2013.

Indiana Humanities worked with researchers from CIRCLE at the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service, Tufts University, on the study. Humanities at the Crossroads received funding from the Carnegie Corporation, Lilly Endowment, MacArthur Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Learn More

If you’re interested in learning more about this project, please contact Nancy Conner at or 800.675.8897, ext. 128.