Matter Notes:

Karen Michalson
Photo by Nana Nakazwe

Matter Notes: A lawyer's private notes on a legal matter; considered inviolate and nondisclosable. By metaphor and game, my occasional blog posts on the war on the humanities, the corporatization of higher education, fiction writing, publishing, and the current state of culture and society. In both cases, a form of work product.


A Scattering of March

What would happen if we got through the plague by experiencing how to live fully human lives again? And how to be fully human with each other again? We might decide that it suits us so well that we’re going to stay home and keep doing it. We might even keep doing it in public, and at work. It might become corporate America’s worst nightmare.


TeachItGlobal When Universities Aren’t Teaching It At All

Awhile back, in response to the running tragedy of universities destroying their humanities programs, I asked: So, what would happen if humanities scholars offered structured private classes in Renaissance art, Victorian literature, ancient Greek philosophy, the Age of Reason?  I’m not talking about a Great Courses recording or a MOOC, neither of which provide the […]


So Karen, Why Did it Take You So Long to Finish Book Three?

Because it’s always three o’clock?  Sartre wrote in La Nausée that “Three o’clock is always too late or too early for anything you want to do.”  OK, he wrote it in French, but the point still stands.  Middle age is like that for me.  Too late for writing with the crazed energy that possesses you […]


Things Need to Be What They Are

Please go read Adam Daniel and Chad Wellmon’s piece in The Chronicle of Higher Education, “The University Run Amok!” Daniel and Wellmon get it.  In spades and stinging sunshine.  As Stanley Fish and others (including your humble blogger) have argued, the humanities need to stop “marketing” themselves as something they aren’t and can’t deliver, and […]


The War on the Humanities: Humanists are the Weak Flank

I’ve blogged about three fronts in the War on the Humanities: the right wing, the corporate takeover of higher education, and artists themselves. In a brave opinion piece for The Chronicle of Higher Education, “When Humanists Undermine the Humanities”, Professor Eric Adler describes another problem: Humanists who can’t get out of their own way. Or, […]


The Traditional Defenses of The Humanities are Dead, and Everybody Knows it. A Humble Suggestion in Support of Humanities Education (Part 2)

So how do we save the liberal arts? I have a humble suggestion. It isn’t the entire answer; it’s more journey than destination. And it isn’t ideal. Ideal is the traditional disciplined focused study of an area of learning under experienced scholars at a university. The major. But as more universities abandon the humanities, it […]