Negotiamini Media
Truth is Powerful

The Humanities’ Scholarly Infrastructure is in Utter Disarray

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Editors, I’ve discovered, are desperate to find scholars willing to review articles, prospectuses, and book manuscripts. Department chairs are at wit’s end as they struggle to get scholars to review tenure and promotion files. Leading humanities journals find it increasingly hard to attract qualified, experienced candidates to serve as editors.

A growing number of humanities scholars are drifting away from what were once considered professional obligations. The result: Editors and departments, more and more, are forced to turn repeatedly to the same reviewers if they want a timely evaluation.

Yet these challenges only represent the tip of an iceberg. Not so long ago, it was unimaginable that a humanities faculty member would refuse to write a letter of recommendation for a student. Now, to my dismay and disgust, the higher ed press contains articles that openly disavow any responsibility to write such letters – and not simply on political grounds .

Equally disturbing is the disarray within the scholarly book trade. With an average print run of 200 copies or even fewer, the publication of scholarly monographs is in deep trouble. In fact, many leading scholarly presses are only interested in books with at least a modicum of trade potential. Otherwise, even […]

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