Between “Imperatives” and “Reasoned Choices among Elegant Alternatives”

Newdirectionsinthehumanities thumbnail

Views: 200


Neither another lament for “the fall of the faculty” nor a list of new directions for the humanities, this paper suggests a much more modest if difficult approach: to reflect on and reconsider the ways in which the humanities professoriate manages and values itself, our administrative units, and our relationships with other units in the corporate managerial university. Without underestimating the effects of neoliberal philosophies and practices on collegial governance and autonomy, this paper calls for a clear-eyed re-examination of those components of the profession over which we still exercise considerable control, such as performance evaluation, curriculum, and workload. We need to study how we manage and value ourselves as well as how we have come to be managed: resistance that is uninformed by knowledge of historical and current relations between universities and society and by sustained reflection on how we do things will be ineffective in the short and longer term. We particularly need to examine the contradictions by which we reject the privatization model of neoliberalism while holding tight to privatization within our professional practices in research, teaching, and service.