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Higher Ed

Book Launch Q&A

Screenshot of Katina giving talk and smaller thumbnails of event participants
Click to watch the full conversation

I had the great pleasure of speaking with Dr. Teresa Mangum at the University of Iowa to celebrate the launch of Putting the Humanities PhD to Work. Following a generous introduction by Dr. Cathy Davidson, Teresa and I had an invigorating conversation about the nature of graduate education, the challenges of navigating tacit knowledge, and the value of the humanities in a moment of great unrest. The discussion moved along so briskly that we didn’t have time for a thorough Q&A with the audience, but many people added thoughtful questions in the chat and I’m happy to be able to address them here. I have included attribution when possible, and have lightly edited for clarity in some cases.

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(#Alt-)Academia Higher Ed Writing

Putting the Humanities Ph.D. to Work

I’m excited to announce that Putting the Humanities Ph.D. to Work: Theory, Practice, and Models for Thriving Beyond the Classroom is in contract with Duke University Press. The book is a project that I have been working on in one way or another ever since working with the Scholarly Communication Institute and the Scholars’ Lab at UVa. The book will be a solid discussion of career pathways for humanities Ph.D.’s, from nuts and bolts to why it matters. In the coming months, I hope to blog about the project, especially some of the more complex questions I’m wrestling with. Feedback is most welcome.

For now, here’s the working abstract:

Intended for graduate students in the humanities and for the faculty members who guide them, this book grounds practical career advice in a nuanced consideration of the current landscape of the academic workforce and an emphasis on reaffirming humanities education as a public good. It explores how rhetoric and practices related to career preparation are evolving, and how those changes intersect with admissions practices, scholarly reward structures, and academic labor practices—especially the increasing reliance on contingent labor. The book also examines the ways that current practices perpetuate systems of inequality that result in the continued underrepresentation of women and minorities in the academy. Rather than indulge the narrative of crisis, this book invites readers to consider ways that graduate training can open unexpected doors that lead to meaningful careers with significant public impact. Drawing on surveys, interviews, and personal experience, the book provides graduate students with context and analysis to inform the ways they discern opportunities for their own potential career paths, while taking an activist perspective that moves not only toward individual success but also systemic change. For those in positions to make decisions in humanities departments or programs, the book offers insight into the circumstances and pressures that students are facing and examples of programmatic reform that address career matters in structural ways. Throughout, the book highlights the important possibility that different kinds of careers offer engaging, fulfilling, and even unexpected pathways for students who seek them out.