When we were at BEA in June, we met the nice people from Harvard University Press who offered to put us in contact with executive editor Lindsay Waters to discuss the state of academic publishing. Like oh so much in our lives, that item has been languishing on our to do list but we got a sharp kick in the pants when we read Waters' fine essay Bonfire of the Humanities in the current Village Voice, in which he asks "what good are books?"
I argue that there is a causal connection between the corporatist demand for increased productivity and the draining from all publications of any significance other than as a number. The humanities are in a crisis now because many of the presuppositions about what counts are absolutely inimical to the humanities. When books cease being complex media and become objects to quantify, then it follows that all the media that the humanities study lose value.
Do check out this thought provoking essay whilst we get our ducks in a row and plan a Q&A. (Link via Arts & Letters Daily.)