As previously reported in this column, this could be the end for _minnesota review_.

Editor Jeffrey Williams released this announcement earlier in the week:

The _minnesota review_ is seeking a new editor and a new institutional home. Please send queries and proposals to Jeffrey J. Williams, at
jwill@andrew.cmu.edu or Department of English, Carnegie Mellon University,
Pittsburgh, PA 15213, by December 1. Traditionally, institutional support
has included release time and summer support for the editor, support for two
graduate assistants, office space, and incidental expenses. The _minnesota
review_ is an independent journal, meaning that its revenues (from
subscriptions) sustain its publishing (its printing) without outside support.
However, institutions with which it has been affiliated have supported the
editorial work of the journal.

If a suitable editor and institutional support can’t be arranged, Williams will shut the journal down.

How’d it come to this pass? Evidently the “quality” wizards at CMU are happy to throw cash at administrators, facilities and gimmicks like the Data Truck, but the humanities? They gotta pay their own way.

How do the quality wizards at Carnegie Mellon and elsewhere initiate organizational learning for humanities types? Why, give ’em Sophie’s choice, of course: “You can give up tenure track lines or do twice as much teaching–you choose!”

The managerial literature actually thinks this tactic and others like it is a real cleverness on their part. And it’s true, there are plenty of high scorers on the SAT who are conned into thinking this amounts to a form of worker participation in decision making.

Both the perpetrators and the dupes seem oblivious to the fact that it really sounds like an especially sadistic set piece in a violent film: ( “You want me to break your left kneecap or your right? Har, har, har!”)

Faced with his own Sophie’s choice, framed by the paymasters at CMU (“You can give up your summer pay or make your graduate assistants work twice as hard–you choose, buddy!”), _minnesota review_ editor Jeffrey Williams chose option C, neither.

Since the amount of money involved is tiny–and the humanities cred that this well-regarded journal offered was cheap at the price–I think a good administrator would have backed down, somewhere along the line, over the couple of years that this was brewing.

I have no inside information, other than quite a few CMU admins and loyal servants are ticked that I’d actually raise the door to the garage in which they were plying their trade.

But my guess is that it must boil down to some manager’s ego: “I said you had to make cuts, and that’s final!”

Always wanted to run your own journal? Now’s your chance.






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