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Who reads four million e-mails? The NSA – and professors

Kevin Kee

History – and the other humanities and social sciences, and the students who attend university to learn them – are all under intense suspicion. Apparently there's a pressing need to decide if we are worthwhile or not.

We know that when governments call for investment in research, they typically mean applied research - the kind that's done in "white-lab-coat" fields like sciences, engineering and medicine.

Yet there is growing skepticism of the value of social science or humanities degrees. We hear plenty of questions about the "usefulness" of university degrees. We hear less about how the changing nature of scholarship is creating a generation of graduates who are more adept than any other at juggling complex texts, information management and knowledge creation.