[Humanist] 27.959 solutions to the job problem

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Fri Apr 11 09:22:10 CEST 2014

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 27, No. 959.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Thu, 10 Apr 2014 18:34:09 +0200
        From: "Dr. Hartmut Krech" <kr538 at zfn.uni-bremen.de>
        Subject: Solutions to the job problem

While, in a quiet moment, I was contemplating the 
possibility that internet-based photo and video sharing 
services like Flickr, Instagram, etc. may have been created 
not so much as a source of revenue in themselves, but as a 
.purposeful outlet for the masses of digital photographs and 
videos that would never meet a critical mind in the 
conventional art shows and show rooms due to the sheer 
number of their occurrences, I was reminded of my still 
undocumented (Humanist 26.44) attempt at defining the 
humanities first and foremost as the community or 
communities of humanists, whereby, I might add, "digital" 
would refer to their medium or means of expression and 
communication, quite similar to "written" ethnography or 
"visual" anthropology ("scriptural" ethnology is quite a 
different thing).

In an effort that stands in the best tradition of activating 
or consciousness-raising surveys, Eleanor Dickey, Professor 
of Classics at the University of Reading, has aggregated 
quite a number of personal experiences of "independent 
scholars," recommendations for administrative improvements 
and ideas for digital enterprises to help those 80 % of 
Humanities PhDs that will never get a permanent job in their 
profession despite (and sometimes because of) their 
high-profile education.

The extensive results of her inquiry were posted to the 
Classicists list of Liverpool University and make impressive 
and sometimes depressing reading-material. Professor Dickey 
has given me permission to forward her study to Humanist-L 
and to ask you for your commentaries and additions. Her 
original posting is archived at:
As Prof. Dickey's email address is visible only for 
listmembers, she asks for commentaries to be sent to her 
email address e.dickey at READING.AC.UK.

Of course, I would highly welcome any ideas from members of 
Humanist-L that tackle the problem of the future of the 
humanities from the perspective of those who have dedicated 
their lives to this subject area and its accepted methods 
and shared cognizances.

Hartmut Krech

Prof. Dickey begins her posting with the following words:

"Thank you very much to all the people who answered my 
questions on what could be done to help the people with 
doctorates but no permanent job. I received nearly a hundred 
responses, most containing heart-rending tales of woe as 
well as exciting ideas for tackling the issue. Clearly the 
problem is a major one, and the people suffering from it are 
deserving of help from the academic community: one 
respondent said that we don't owe them jobs, and that may be 
true, but having in most cases led them to believe that if 
they were good enough things would work out, we owe them 
something better than the circumstances to which these 
excellent scholars are currently subjected. And we can do 
something about this! I have compiled a list of the ideas 
for action that people have submitted; it is below. What I 
now need to know is how good these ideas are from a variety 
of perspectives, so I would be very grateful if you (that's 
you, no matter what your current job status) would rate them 
for me according to the scale given below and send the 
result to E.Dickey at reading.ac.uk."

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