2011 Plenary 3: Debating the Humanities

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Rising tuition fees, falling endowments, an exodus of undergraduate students to pre-professional majors, and a spate of recent books critical of the liberal arts professoriate — such developments have raised questions about the value of the humanities as taught in U.S. universities. Cost-conscious institutions have responded by cutting budgets and tenure-track positions in core humanities departments. In this lively, debate-style forum, three distinguished academic guests will address the current crisis — if indeed it is a crisis — from very different points of view. Ohio State's Frank J. Donoghue, Pomona College's Kathleen Fitzpatrick, and the Institute for the Future of the Book's Bob Stein, will specifically consider the role of university press publishing in the future of the humanities, and the role of the humanities in the future of the university press. Will either survive the 21st century and if so, as Shakespeare might have asked, how will it?

Moderator: Fredric Nachbaur, Director, Fordham University Press

Panelists: Frank J. Donoghue, Associate Professor of English, Ohio State University and author of The Last Professors: The Corporate University and the Fate of the Humanities (Fordham University Press, 2008); Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Professor of Media Studies, Pomona College and author of The Anxiety of Obsolescence: The American Novel in the Age of Television (Vanderbilt University Press, 2006) and Planned Obsolescence: Publishing, Technology, and the Future of the Academy (forthcoming from NYU Press); Bob Stein, Founder and Co-Director of the Institute of the Future of the Book and Founder of The Voyager Company

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