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Art history ph.d.'s

From 1992-93 to 2002-03, the number of Ph.D.'s awarded annually in art history (and related fields, such as artcriticism and art studies, but not including architecture or archaeology) increased dramatically. During the fourteen yearsprior to the 1993-94 academic year (1979-93), the field had awarded an average of about 156 Ph.D.'s per year. Between 1993-94 and1996-97 (a span of four years), the field awarded an average of 198 Ph.D.'s per year, a 27% increase over the previous 14-year average.Since 1998-99, the field has awarded an average of 236 Ph.D.'s per year, an increase of another 19% from the mid-1990s, and a totalincrease of 51% since the 1980s and early 1990s. In the most recent two years for which data are available (2002-03 and 2003-04), therewere 260 and 259 Ph.D.'s awarded in the field of art history, or over 100 more Ph.D.'s per year than was typical during the 1980sand early 1990s.

While the total number of doctoral degrees awarded (in all fields) has also increased since 1992-93, the fieldof art history has been producing Ph.D.'s at a far more rapid rate than the typical discipline. The average annual rate of increase ofPh.D.'s in all fields since 1992-93 has been just under 1 percent per year, while art history Ph.D.'s have increased at a rate ofmore than 8 percent per year.

Qualitative data collection

Three focused discussions sessions were held with art history scholars concerning theirpublishing experiencesand those of their colleagues and advisees. The first group was comprised of younger scholars (who had received their Ph.D.'swithin the past 10 years), the second was conducted with mid-career and senior scholars, and the third with chairs of graduate arthistory departments in the northeastern United States.

In addition, semi-structured interviews were conducted with senior representatives from a number of leading arthistory publishers in order to hear their perspectives on the problems involved in publishing in this field. Among the topicsexplored were issues associated with heavily illustrated books; numbers of manuscripts being submitted, accepted, and rejected bothbefore and after peer review; and publishers' perceptions of their audiences, trends in the field, and their strategies for arthistory publishing.

A focused discussion session was also held with art history editors during the annual conference of theCollege Art Association in February 2006, and a follow-up survey of art history editors was conducted in order to collect data on thecharacteristics of the art publishing programs at their presses.

Challenges associated with art history publishing

These investigations revealed a number of challenges associated with the publishing of monographicscholarship in art and architectural history. These challenges might be summed up as follows:

  • Art history is different.
  • Scholarly publishing is changing.
  • Conflicting mandates: specialization versus breadth of appeal.
  • Where are the subventions?
  • Is the peer review process working?
  • How should art historians advise Ph.D. students?
  • Tenure criteria and library purchasing policies are at odds.
  • Alternative outlets for publication may better suit some types of scholarship.
  • How is scholarship being evaluated?

Questions & Answers

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Source:  OpenStax, The state of scholarly publishing in the history of art and architecture. OpenStax CNX. Sep 22, 2006 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10377/1.2
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