The return of the liberal arts to Europe is especially interesting. One story that has never been fully told about British higher education is the narrowing of its degrees. When I was a student, many universities would require students to take three subjects in the first year, two in the second, and one in the third. When and why this disappeared in so many places, I am not quite sure. Meanwhile, a few brave experiments with much broader university curricula, often modeled on American lines, went the way of all flesh, again for reasons that are not all obvious to me.
Even small specialist British institutions like the London School of Economics and Political Science, which specializes in the social sciences and might have been able to offer more in the way of interdisciplinary content, seem to have succumbed to the onslaught of single-discipline degrees.
That narrowing of university curricula is regrettable, and it cannot be patched up by just a few interdisciplinary modules, important as those undoubtedly are. Therefore, the move toward what might be thought of as an American liberal-arts model in Europe and Asia is surely to be welcomed. But it will still be limited in scope, I suspect. The pull of single-discipline degrees remains great.
Read it all.