I picked this little nugget from Robert Townsend’s story on a new historians’ salaries report in the new AHA Perspectives:
The report indicates, moreover, that history is among the lowest paid disciplines at public colleges and universities—trailing behind all but a few other disciplines at all ranks, from full professor to the instructor levels. This places history among a small number of humanities disciplines (such as the languages, religion, and the arts) at the lowest end of the academic salary scale. History also has the fourth lowest average entry-level salary among the disciplines.
I understand what market forces are. I recognize that the people who teach in our business schools re going to make around $20,000 more per year than I do. I realize there isn’t much of a private sector for historians, and that a private sector is essential for driving our salaries up. [I learned that from my brother the economist.]
What I don’t understand is why historians are right there near the very bottom. Why do sociologists make more than we do? Or social workers? Or education professors? What is it about the market for historians that gets us paid so much worse than practically everyone?