On “History as a Book Discipline”
To the Editor:
The essays that comprise the “History as a Book Discipline” feature in the April 2015 issue offer thoughtful commentary on a subject of major significance for the future of our discipline. Yet I am surprised to read that scholarship valued for promotion and for “securing permanent membership in the history guild” (p. 24) must nearly always be in book form. This may be true for scholars at research universities. It is not necessarily so for those legions who toil in smaller institutions focused chiefly on undergraduate education. We too are members of the “guild,” and we too engage in scholarly endeavor. This includes publishing books. Four of the seven members of my department have at least one book to their credit, and the other three are hard at work on their first monographs. It is, however, unrealistic to demand a book as the price of tenure from faculty who teach 4-4 loads without help from graduate assistants and who lack the level of institutional support typically provided by major universities. Of necessity we routinely accept articles and essays as evidence of sufficient scholarly achievement to merit tenure. Hence the model for an article-based path to tenure and promotion is available if we take into account the full spectrum of experience within the profession.
Anders Henriksson, Shepherd University
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