Retooling the Humanities
The Culture of Research in Canadian Universities
Is market-driven research healthy? Responding to the language of "knowledge mobilization" that percolates through Canadian postsecondary education, the literary scholars who contributed these essays address the challenges that an intensified culture of research capitalism brings to the humanities in particular. Stakeholders in Canada's research infrastructure-university students, professors, and administrators; grant policy makers and bureaucrats; and the public who are the ultimate inheritors of such knowledge-are urged to examine a range of perspectives on the increasingly entrepreneurial university environment and its growing corporate culture.
About the Authors
"We've heard much about the modern corporate university....at stake are issues that extend beyond the quality of degrees to no less than intellectual freedom and the social valuation (and very definition) of knowledge itself. Enter Retooling the Humanities, in which 13 literary scholars reflect the 'the culture of research capitalism' currently directing the profession and study of the humanities.... As several contributors emphasize, basic science and any curiosity-driven field where knowledge can't be readily patented are at risk. But humanist research faces particular challenges. To this end, the book sets out not only to offer a critical analysis of the situation, 'but to explore the possibilities for "re-tooling" the humanities.... Retooling [the Humanities] seems geared to academics, administrators and policymakers...such in-house discussion is badly needed." Christine Wiesenthal, Alberta Views,
"Scholars of literature and other humanities from a number of Canadian universities explore how their professions are being impacted by the increasing pressure to attract external research funding from governments or corporations, and to produce knowledge that is directly applicable to the needs and priorities of the community at large - as identified chiefly by those very private and government funders. Chemists can make poison and biologists can make monsters, they say, but what does a poet have to sell? Their topics include taking it personally and politically, culture and knowledge as market commodities in humanities research, employing equity in post-secondary art institutes, re-imagining Roy Kiyooka's academic subjectivities, and whether the humanities need a new humanism." Book News Inc.
"Coleman's and Kamboureli's introduction gives a genealogy of changes in the university over the past century, stressing in particular the transformation of the implicit social contract that binds it to the nation-state and to other communities.. [T]he fact that the collection left this particular reader wanting more is surely a good thing: books like this encourage not simply passive consumption, but active participation, a making of new connections, and a renewed awareness of the problematics and possibilities in readers' own everyday academic practices of life." Philip Holden, Chimo
"[T]his collection will be of great interest to the academic community generally, especially to humanities scholars and indeed to all who believe that there are more ends to academic research, teaching and learning than the perpetuation of capitalism." Michael Cottrell, Topia, Oct. 19, 2012
"My own sense is that the value of humanities scholarship lies in the dialogue it engenders, and this provocative book will surely do just that. It puts a range of opinions into dialogue. It also gives voice both to the central question—Why study the humanities?—and to multiple variations of the inevitable answer: Because we must." Nathalie Cooke, Canadian Literatures 214, Autumn 2012
Other Titles by Daniel Coleman
Other Titles by Smaro Kamboureli
Other Titles in BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Government & Business