NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ814350
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0190-2946
The Future of Humanities Labor
Bauerlein, Mark
Academe, v94 n5 p34-36 Sep-Oct 2008
"Publish or perish" has long been the formula of academic labor at research universities, but for many humanities professors that imperative has decayed into a simple rule of production. The publish-or-perish model assumed a peer-review process that maintained quality, but more and more it is the bare volume of printed words that counts. When humanities departments and committees and chairpersons examine a professor's record, all too often they measure the output, not the excellence. The other duties of mentoring and service slip into secondary requirements. Middling teaching does not much hurt, and great teaching does not help. Administrative work pleases colleagues, but it does not lead to promotions from within or offers from without. Research is all, or rather, research mass eclipses everything else. In this article, the author contends that a new tenure threshold should be erected, one that insists on a lower, not a higher, level of productivity. The requirement should be reduced to only two substantive, high-quality essays--and conscientious teaching should be rewarded alongside them. Young people will respond accordingly, spending years ensuring that their fifty pages meet higher standards. Humanities labor will no longer be flooded with an annual cascade of theories and interpretations that yield few real benefits to thought in the classroom or taste in society.
American Association of University Professors. 1012 Fourteenth Street NW Suite 500, Washington, DC 20005. Tel: 800-424-2973; Tel: 202-737-5900; Fax: 202-737-5526; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A