The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Saves 7 Liberal Arts Programs, History is Not One of Them

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Back in March we covered the goings-on at the University of Wisconsin Stevens-Point.  See our coverage here and here.  At that time the university proposed cuts to the following programs: American Studies, Art, English, French, Geography, Geoscience, German, History, Music Literature, Philosophy, Political Science, Sociology, and Spanish.

Eight months later, it looks like seven of these departments avoided the chopping block.  History was not one of them.  Read all about it here.  A taste:

As for the history department, it has seen a 48-percent drop in the number of majors over the past five years, from 146 to 76 students, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

The department remains on the list of cuts to help meet budget reductions, said Lee L. Willis, a history professor and department chair.

The history department has 14 full-time faculty members, including 11 who are tenured. The department will most likely be reduced to 10 faculty members, and at least one tenured professor will be let go, he said.

The changes are ultimately a response to the evolving demands of career-oriented students, Summers said.

“Our students are laser-focused on the cost of higher education and the return they’re going to get on their investment,” he said. “They’re looking for careers with multiple pathways and the skills they know they need to succeed in those careers.”

Read the entire piece here.

Of course I don’t know the details of what is going on at Stevens Point, but I have a few comments/questions:

  1.  If I am reading this correctly, it looks like American studies, sociology, political science, English, philosophy, and music literature survived the cuts, but not history.  Why?  Was this merely an issue of numbers (of majors)?  I would love to hear from a member of the history department.  (You have an open invitation to explain what happened at this blog).
  2.  I am saddened that Stevens Point is dropping history, but I am not surprised.  Universities now operate on a completely business-oriented model in which students are consumers.  Universities no longer give students what they need to contribute to a healthy democracy.  Instead, they provide students with professional skills to contribute to American capitalism with minimal commitment to the development of citizens.  While we certainly need people with professional skills, we also need educated women and men who can contribute to our democratic life together.  And we need them more than ever in the age of Trump.
  3. What will all of this mean for liberal arts colleges or colleges with distinct missions to prepare students for life in church and society? How long before these kinds of colleges start dropping humanities programs?

Take the Humanities Course!

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Here is Ronald Daniels, president of Johns Hopkins University:

Last fall, on the campus of Johns Hopkins University, where I serve as president, I happened to overhear a conversation among a group of students. One student was telling the others that he had decided not to enroll in an introductory philosophy course that he had sampled during the “add/drop” period at the start of the semester. The demands of his major, he said, meant that he needed to take “practical” courses. With an exaggerated sigh, he mused that “enlightenment” would simply have to wait. For now, employability was paramount. What can you do? His friends shrugged. You gotta get a job.

The students’ conversation has stayed with me, in part because it fits into a larger, disconcerting narrative about the role of the humanities in higher education. In a time of dizzying technological achievement and of rapid scientific innovation, skeptics of the humanities may question the usefulness of studying Aristotle, the history of the Italian Renaissance or modern Chinese fiction. At many universities across the country, beset by low enrollments and a lack of university support, the number of humanities course offerings and faculty members are dwindling. At meetings of university presidents, the humanities are frequently referred to as the “fragile disciplines.”

In hindsight, I regret not barging into the conversation of that student I overheard to argue for taking that introductory philosophy course. I would have started by reminding him that, for much of America’s history, college graduates were not deemed truly educated unless they had mastered philosophy, literature, political theory and history. The core role of higher education was to invite students into the millennia-spanning conversations about matters including what it means to be alive, the definition of justice and the tension between tyranny and democracy. Fostering engagement with these issues is still an essential part of the university’s function in society.

Read the entire piece at The Washington Post.

The humanities may be “the least risky way to prepare for employment in the 21st century economy”

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Chris Gerhz, aka The Pietist Schoolman, makes another strong case for studying the humanities in college.

Here is a taste of his piece, “A Counterintuitive Economic Argument for Majoring in the Humanities.”

I know, I know: it seems risky to pick a major that doesn’t have an obvious pathway to a particular career. But hear me out…

First, you need to recognize that there may be a significant disconnect between your expectations for your kids and their actual working futures. If you’re a 40- or 50-something, you probably retain at least some sense of what it meant to grow up in an economy whose workers stayed in or close to one career, sometimes even at one or two employers, and retired at age 65. None of that is likely to be true for your child as she starts college in 2018.

On the other side of her college graduation is much less stability in employment at virtually every stage of a much longer work life. What else would you expect when life expectancy is increasing, technological and cultural change is accelerating, and both employers and employees seem to be interested in building a “gig economy” that doesn’t assume long-term working arrangements?

So while a college education remains one of the biggest investments of anyone’s life, it’s hard to know how best to use those expensive years to set someone up for future economic success. Do you encourage your child to pick a major because it aligns most closely with a career whose short-term employment prospects look good? You can… but they’ll risk joining a glut of increasingly similar candidates seeking jobs in a market whose bubble may well burst.

Instead, it might make longer-term sense to consider a major in a humanities field, for three reasons:

Read the entire piece here.

Anne-Imelda Radice is the New Director of the National Endowment for the Humanities

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Here is the press release:

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 12, 2018) — The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is pleased to announce the appointment of Anne-Imelda Radice as the new director of NEH’s Division of Public Programs and as a special advisor to NEH Chairman Jon Parrish Peede.

“Having awarded hundreds of millions of dollars in federal cultural grants during her career, Anne brings a wealth of wisdom and experience to our agency,” said Chairman Peede. “We are delighted to have her as a colleague and mentor to staff.”

Radice brings more than forty years of experience in public humanities and federal service to the position. Since 2012 Radice has served as Executive Director of the American Folk Art Museum in New York, where she increased the museum’s profile by opening a second site and attracting financial support from the Ford Foundation, Mellon Foundation, and Luce Foundation. In addition, she instituted an apprenticeship program at the museum for underserved students from LaGuardia Community College.

Her most recent government position was as Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, where she served in both the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations. She has also served as Chief of Staff for the U.S. Department of Education, Chief Arts Advisor for the U.S. Information Agency, and Curator for the Architect of the U.S. Capitol.

Radice’s new position will be a return to NEH. In 2005 she served as the agency’s Acting Deputy Chairman and Special Advisor to the Chairman. In her tenure at NEH, she helped develop and oversee the agency’s 40th anniversary as well as its Picturing America initiative, which brought masterpieces of American art into schools and libraries. She has also served at NEH’s sister agency, the National Endowment for the Arts, where she was appointed Acting Chairman of NEA in 1992.

Radice has also served as Director of the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. She is the recipient of the Presidential Citizen’s Medal, the Forbes Medal, and the NEA’s Chairman’s Medal.

She holds an MBA from American University, a PhD in art and architectural history with a specialty in Renaissance architecture from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, an MA from Villa Schifanoia School of Fine Arts in Florence, Italy, and an AB from Wheaton College.

P.S.  For my evangelical readers, Radice is a graduate of the OTHER Wheaton College.

Financial Planners Need to Read Shakespeare

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Check out “The Enduring Value of the Humanities,” Craig Lee’s article about the humanities at St. Olaf College, a liberal arts college in Northfield, Minnesota.  Here is a small taste:

As the founder of GW Randall & Associates, a successful financial planning firm in Santa Rosa, California, Greg Randall ’96 spends much of his time in the fiscal weeds. He performs investment analyses, financial research, and future value calculations — all essential components of the full-scale financial plans he creates for individuals and families.

But what makes him successful isn’t just his facility with financial algorithms and investment formulas, though that’s essential: it’s the real, human connection he makes with his clients as they work through their entire financial picture. “All of my work with clients starts with questions,” he says. “What are your most deeply held values? What’s meaningful and significant to your life? What is your goal for your money?”

That connection is where Randall’s degree in the classics has proved to be indispensable. The readings of Plato and Seneca, for example, taught him to think about ethics, values, and what matters most in life. He uses those insights to help his clients uncover their own foundational beliefs and link them to their finances.

In fact, Randall believes learning from history’s most revered thinkers is so critical that he recommends it to all the young planners he meets. “Financial planners who are early in their career will ask me about what books they should read to know financial planning,” he says. “I say — only half in jest — ‘Go read Shakespeare.’ Our business is all about what motivates people: their dreams, their fears, and their deeply held beliefs. And that’s what Shakespeare’s [works] are all about.”

Randall is far from alone in finding lasting value in the humanities. Nearly two-thirds of Fortune 500 CEOs have degrees in the humanities, and in the past few years, Google has hired thousands of employees with humanities backgrounds.

Read the rest here.

Want to be a Good Doctor? Study the Humanities

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Angira Patel is Assistant Professor of Pediatrics (Cardiology) and Medical Education at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University.  Yesterday the Pacific Standard published her piece, “To Be A Good Doctor, Study the Humanities.”  The subtitle of the article reads: “An emphasis on the humanities in medical school trains future doctors to become proficient in the social and cultural context of health care.”

Here is a taste:

A three-year-old was newly diagnosed with a brain tumor called a medulloblastoma. The pediatric oncologist, aware of the steep odds against the child’s survival, explained the diagnosis and counseled the family. The doctor performed a bone marrow biopsy while singing the alphabet to soothe the child. Eventually, she comforted the family when their child died, tears in her eyes. As a medical student who was new to witnessing death, I could feel the grief of both the family and the physician. Later, as a doctor in training, I actively cared for a child with congenital heart disease as he died of multi-system organ failure. Eventually, when I became the doctor in charge, I determined the treatment course and was responsible for guiding the conversation when a patient’s death was imminent.

Recently, I told these stories in an introductory undergraduate religion class that asked the students to consider how best to support a patient who is dying. Do you cry with the patient? Is it acceptable to be detached? Is it OK to resume your life and laugh a few hours later? Further: How, where, and from whom do you learn these skills? Most of the students were science majors and hoping to become doctors. They understood the general idea that how you experience death and dying changes over time, and is not the same process for everyone. But they also wanted to know what makes a good doctor.

As a philosophy major in college before medical school, I believe I learned what it means to be a good doctor equally from my humanities classes as from my science classes. Studying the humanities helps students develop critical-thinking skills, understand the viewpoints of others and different cultures, foster a just conscience, build a capacity for empathy, and become wise about emotions such as grief and loss. These are all characteristics that define a good doctor.

Read the rest here.

Good News on the Humanities Front

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From the National Humanities Alliance:

Yesterday evening, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies released a draft bill that includes $155 million in funding for both the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) for FY 2019. This represents not only another rejection of the administration’s efforts to defund the agencies but also a $2 million increase for each agency above FY 2018 funding levels. This proposed boost comes on the heels of increases in each of the past three years. 

The arts and humanities communities—including the National Humanities Alliance, the Federation of State Humanities Councils, and Americans for the Arts—have been pushing for at least $155 million in funding since the agency’s budgets were cut in 2010. This is the first time since then that the House subcommittee has met that request. We were heartened to see the enthusiasm for this funding level build in March when a record number of representatives (166 total) signed onto the Dear Colleague Letter requesting $155 million for the NEH.

Read the entire piece here.

A 2018 Messiah College Graduate Reflects on the Power of the Humanities

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I never got a chance to teach Becky Kimmel, Messiah College class of 2018.  I met her for the first time back in January when she interviewed me for a story on Confederate monuments that she was writing for the college news magazine.  We had a great conversation that day and I left wishing that I had had her in class.

In today Harrisburg Patriot-News, Kimmel reflects on the value of her humanities degree at Messiah College.  Nice work!

My liberal arts education has taught me perspective. How to look critically at myself and my place in society, but also at others and their place. What does it look like for me to actually be a good neighbor to my fellow citizens?

I’ve learned self-awareness. How might I have implicit biases that I don’t even recognize, but that still affect my everyday thoughts and interactions?

I’ve learned appreciation. What would our world look like without fine arts and theater — without films that move us and books that capture our attention?

I’ve learned the importance of stewardship. What am I doing to protect the planet and those creatures I share it with?

I’ve learned how to be accepting — that guess what, not everyone is going to look like me and think like me and talk like me, but that, yeah, they still matter. And are still entitled to their own opinions and actions.

And possibly of the most importance, these past four year have taught me empathy. In a society that seems to thrive on who can throw the most shade — deliver the hardest blow — I’ve learned that being nice is cool; that looking out for someone other than number one is important; that standing up for what is right, rather than what is easy or popular or will deliver the most money to my pocket, is what really matters.

Read the entire piece here.

Episode 37: Should You Go to Grad School?

PodcastAnyone who has been paying attention to higher ed and the humanities knows that job prospects for recently minted Ph.Ds are abysmal. So why do people keep choosing to engage in such a difficult process that by many measures is unlikely to pay off? John Fea adds his thoughts to this question and they are joined by Erin Bartram (@erin_bartram), the author of the viral blog post, “The Sublimated Grief of the Left Behind.”

Want to Work at Google? Take Some Humanities Courses. Or Better Yet, MAJOR in the Humanities!

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Fascinating piece here from Valerie Strauss at The Washington Post:

In 2013, Google decided to test its hiring hypothesis by crunching every bit and byte of hiring, firing, and promotion data accumulated since the company’s incorporation in 1998. Project Oxygen shocked everyone by concluding that, among the eight most important qualities of Google’s top employees, STEM expertise comes in dead last. The seven top characteristics of success at Google are all soft skills: being a good coach; communicating and listening well; possessing insights into others (including others different values and points of view); having empathy toward and being supportive of one’s colleagues; being a good critical thinker and problem solver; and being able to make connections across complex ideas.

Those traits sound more like what one gains as an English or theater major than as a programmer. Could it be that top Google employees were succeeding despite their technical training, not because of it?  After bringing in anthropologists and ethnographers to dive even deeper into the data, the company enlarged its previous hiring practices to include humanities majors, artists, and even the MBAs that, initially, Brin and Page viewed with disdain.

Read the entire piece here.

Notre Dame’s Provost Defends the Humanities in a “High-Tech World”

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University of Notre Dame Provost Thomas G. Burish informs us that “only two of the top 50 public institutions for research-and-development spending in the humanities in the 2016 fiscal year devoted more than 5 percent of their overall R&D to the humanities, while 19 of the top 50 private nonprofit institutions did.”

Burish believes this is a problem.  Here is a taste of his recent piece at The Chronicle of Higher Education:

Even at my institution, the University of Notre Dame, which ranked second among private universities in the dollar amount of its research-and-development spending on the humanities, we should do more. Rather than shun the “tyranny of relevance” — a concept within the liberal-arts community that refers to the need to demonstrate tangible benefits of humanities-research funding — we should embrace it. If we, like many others, believe in the vital importance of the humanities in grappling with basic questions of truth, the essence of humanness, and the importance of ethical decision-making, among other crucial issues, we must invest more.

If we do not, the humanities will be marginalized by the false premise that they provide nice flourishes but are not effective in dealing with the exciting and challenging advances made possible by the latest technologies. The humanities are neither opposed to technological progress nor indifferent to it; they are valuable partners in it, and must be adequately supported to perform that role.

Read the rest here.

Michael Roth on Steven Pinker’s *Enlightenment Now*

EnlightenmentOver at Inside Higher Ed Michael Roth, the president of Wesleyan University and a strong defender of humanities and the liberal arts, reviews Steven Pinker’s Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress.

A taste:

In his new book, Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress, Pinker expands his purview to include progress in everything from access to basic nourishment and health care to income and increased choices in how we spend our time. In every important area, Pinker sees robust improvement. The world is getting safer, more prosperous and less authoritarian. “Look at the data!” he cries again and again, and you will see that human beings have much to cheer about and much to look forward to. Evidence from surveys even suggests that we are happier — although not nearly as happy as we should be, given the progress we’ve made.

Pinker himself is not happy with colleges and universities, especially humanities programs, which, he claims, tend to emphasize the tragic, the negative, even the apocalyptic. He takes particular aim at Nietzsche and the streams of critical theory that flow from his thinking. Nietzsche’s antimodern polemics against smug, middle-class complacency especially rankle the Harvard University professor who can’t seem to imagine why anyone wouldn’t be grateful for the greater access to food, shelter and leisure that modernity has created.

There is plenty to criticize in Pinker’s historical portrait of triumphant modernity. He ignores any part of the Enlightenment legacy that doesn’t fit neatly into his neat, Popperian understanding of how scientific progress is made through disconfirming hypotheses. In describing progress in societies that behave more rationally, he says almost nothing about the social movements and struggles that forced those with power (and claims to rationality) to pay attention to political claims for justice. When science leads to bad things, like eugenics, he just dismisses the results as bad science. He criticizes those with whom he disagrees as being narrow-minded or tribalistic, but he seems to have no self-awareness of how his own thinking is plagued by parochialism. He writes that we have to cure “identity protective cognition,” but for him history is an effort to find figures like himself in the past so that he can write a story that culminates with people who have the same views as he. “There can be no question of which was the greatest era for human culture; the answer has to be today.” Maybe he thinks that the gesture of expecting an even better future is an expression of intellectual modesty.

But as much as Pinker’s self-congratulation may annoy anyone concerned with (or just curious about) the ways the achievements of modernity have been built through oppression, exploitation and violence, it would be a mistake to ignore the extraordinary accomplishments that he documents in Enlightenment Now. Take the astonishing reductions in poverty around the world. Over the last century, the portion of people living in extreme poverty has been reduced from 90 percent to under 10 percent. The acceleration of this progress in the last half century has been truly remarkable, and we can see similar good news in regard to decreased child mortality and increased life expectancy (to pick just two of the subjects Pinker covers).

And Pinker is right that many of us in the humanities and interpretive social sciences are loath simply to celebrate such gains when discussing the legacies of the Enlightenment or embracing contemporary critical thinking. Why? Part of the reason is that the story of those achievements should not be divorced from an account of how social injustice has made them possible. Humanists don’t dismiss the importance of reductions in poverty, but neither do they simply want to describe slavery, colonialism and other forms of exploitation as the price one has (always?) to pay for progress.

Read the entire review here.

Alan Jacobs on White Christian Males in the Academy

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Jacobs is responding here to Rod Dreher’s post at The American Conservative.  I was struck by this paragraph in Jacobs’s response:

I’m not exactly a pollyanna about these matters. I have said over and over again that, thanks to my long career at a Christian college and the specifically Christian character of much of my writing, I am almost certainly unemployable in my field (English literature) outside the world of Christian higher education. And there’s bigotry at work there — no doubt about it. On the other hand, I have been able to publish at some of the best university presses in the world, which also shouldn’t be possible if Rod’s friend’s account of the academic humanities is accurate.

Read the entire post here.

Is Jacobs right when he says that white Christian males are “certainly unemployable” in humanities fields “outside the world of Christian higher education?”

What Does a Humanities Professor Do When a College Cuts the Humanities?

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Check out Nina Handler‘s moving piece at The Chronicle of Higher Education.  Handler teaches English at Holy Names University, in Oakland, California.  The college recently cut several humanities majors, including English and History.  It’s website currently features a student playing golf.

Holy Names claims to be a a university “rooted in Catholic intellectual and spiritual traditions.”  The Catholic college has also cut majors in Intercultural Peace and Justice, Latin American Studies, Music, Philosophy, and Religious Studies.

Here is a taste of Handler’s “Facing My Own Extinction“:

Disturbingly, after our English major was eliminated, I discovered in conversations that several of my colleagues didn’t realize that there was a distinction between the freshman-writing program and the English major.

Times change, and institutions of higher education must change along with them. If no one wants to study a particular field, if it’s not filling a niche, it will die a natural death. This is evolution in action. I have no choice but to accept that the vast majority of students at my university don’t want to major in English. They don’t want what I have to offer. Instead, they want degrees in the health sciences.

Of course, my students and their worldviews don’t exist in a vacuum. They live in a culture that tells them in every way that STEM fields are where the money’s at and consequently are the only fields worth studying. They want to know — for the return on the gargantuan investment they and their families have made in a college education — that they will be able to get a well-paid job tied directly to their major.

Once education is viewed as a hoop to be jumped through to get somewhere else, people start assigning value to it in a way that privileges direct connections to prosperity and jobs they can easily see. With no sense that being an English major leads to any job but being an English teacher, students are “voting with their feet,” as my provost said when she canceled the major. Social Darwinism speaks of “survival of the fittest,” a victim-blaming phrase that has been distorted to justify socially constructed imbalances of wealth and power. If you can’t make it, it’s your own fault — or it’s just nature taking its bloody course.

Read the entire piece here.

Has Marco Rubio Changed His Mind About Philosophers?

Some of you may recall that Marco Rubio once had some pretty harsh things to say about philosophy and philosophers.  Has he changed his mind?

Make Texts Relevant to Students, Not the Humanities

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Mark Bauerlein of the English Department at Emory University is absolutely correct when he says:

For most of my professional life, the future of the humanities was a conceptual matter. That’s no longer the case. When enrollments are down, majors are down, funding and jobs are down, adjuncts are up, and departments are being closed, abstract debates over which new theory or interdisciplinary vision is on the rise don’t much count. When a formation as renowned as the Humanities Center at the Johns Hopkins University is proposed for shutdown (it later was saved in modified form), we know that the prosperity of the humanities doesn’t rest with people at the top.

No, it depends on the people at the bottom, undergraduates who vote with their feet. If an English department’s chairman tells the dean, “We’ve got to hire someone in this new area of ____,” the dean replies, “But you can’t even get your existing courses half-filled.” If, however, a parent calls and grumbles, “I’m paying lots of money, and my daughter can’t get into any of the English classes she wants,” well, that calls for action.

It’s a situation that few humanities professors are equipped to overcome. Graduate school and assistant professorships don’t impel you to attract freshmen and sophomores. Instead you learn how to impress senior professors. But right now, nothing is more crucial than the preferences of 19-year-olds.

The measure of success for the humanities: Do undergraduates want to come?

And as humanities enrollments have slipped, in some places precipitously, instructors have felt pressure to make their courses more relevant and less rigorous. The typical student searching for a course of study won’t be attracted by syllabi filled with old plays and 400 pages of reading each week. Contemporary and multicultural materials, more media, less reading and fewer writing assignments, and definitely no poetry — that’s the prescription for building enrollments.

Read this entire piece at The Chronicle of Higher Education.

I think this is particularly the case at smaller colleges where the humanities are struggling to survive.

NOTE:  The title of this post comes from a Facebook post on the Bauerlein piece by Western Washington University historian Johann Neem.

UW-Stevens Point Students Will Protest Cuts to the Liberal Arts

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We have covered this story here.  Chris Gehrz wrote about it much greater detail here.

It looks the students at the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point will be staging a sit-in to protest the university’s decision to cut the following majors:  American studies, art, English, French, Geography, Geoscience, German, History, Music literature, Philosophy, Political science, Sociology, Spanish.

The Way of Improvement Leads Home reader Catherine Martin writes:

My son is a student at UWSP and is participating in this demonstration. The university also proposed something similar three or four years ago when my daughter was a student there. The students were up in arms at that time as well and the university system backed down at that time. We’ll see what they do this time.

Catherine also shared this article from Stevens Point Journal.  A taste:

University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point students intend to stage a sit-in of the campus administration building on Wednesday to protest proposed changes to academic programs.

The demonstration, called Save Our Majors, will take place from 1 to 5 p.m.. Participants will gather at the sundial at 12:30 p.m. and then march to Old Main at 1 p.m. to conduct a sit-in for 13 minutes, a minute for each major that is up elimination under a university proposal. 

The student-led and -organized protest is in support of the 13 humanities and social science majors that the university is considering cutting in its proposal.

Outcry from the campus community and surrounding areas continues after UW-Stevens Point unveiled a proposal in early March to eliminate 13 liberal arts degree majors, including English, history and political science. The cuts of 13 majors and the additions or expansions of 16 majors are part of university efforts to deal with a projected deficit of $4.5 million through two years because of declining enrollment and lower tuition revenues.

After the sit-in, students will deliver a list of demands and requests to the university and then march back to the sundial, said Valerie Landowski, a 2014 political science and international studies alumna of UW-Stevens Point.

Read the entire piece here.

Wendell Berry Defends the University Press of Kentucky

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Kentucky governor Matt Bevin wants to close the University Press of Kentucky.  Agrarian writer and novelist Wendell Berry, who lives on a farm in Henry County, thinks Bevin’s budget proposal is “petty and barbaric.”  Writing in the Louisville Courier-Journal, Berry defends the press.  Here is a taste:

In defending the Press, I have in mind the geographic, economic and historical uniqueness of Kentucky. Perhaps no other state is so regionally divided as ours. Perhaps there is no other where the interests of agriculture, industry and urban development have competed so hurtfully. No other state’s experience of the Civil War closely resembled ours, and no others suffered its influences in the way we have. And so our need for books about our land and our people, our history and natural history, our political and economic life, is not going to be adequately served by the great commercial publishing companies, or by the university presses of other states. That need can only be served, and it has been admirably served, by The University Press of Kentucky. 

Because we have sustained that press for 75 years with a very modest investment of public money, we have The Kentucky Encyclopedia and Lowell Harrison’s and James Klotter’s New History of Kentucky, books that have the distinction of being indispensable to Kentucky students young and old; and we have in print books by James Still, Harlan Hubbard, Jim Wayne Miller, Bobbie Ann Mason, and Crystal Wilkinson that will be needed by coming generations of literate Kentuckians. Any concerned citizens who want to understand this state as it was and now is, and how it became what it now is, will find themselves immediately and continuously indebted to the University Press of Kentucky. 

Read the rest here.