Date: Thu, 22 Jun 1995 18:27:57 -0400

From: "H. Stephen Straight (Binghamton University/SUNY)"


Subject: Re: A Dumb Question about the NEH

The VERY amiable Glowka/Kretschmar "debate", in which I find myself

agreeing with both sides (as do the two of them, apparently), left out one

prominent pro-NEH point. Ironically, I present this point despite my own

(sour grape-ish?) displeasure with what I perceive as an elitist

(rich-get-richer) bias in the NEH peer-review process. Specifically, NEH

provides for the humanities as a whole, very much as NSF does for other

disciplines, and as FIPSE does for higher-education instructional domains,

a well-developed nationally-representative mechanism for the funding of

discipline-based scholarly research. To abandon these national

clearinghouses for research would be as ridiculous (and as reasonable, if

you have a mind to do it) as to abandon the MLA, the AHA, the APA, the

AAA, the LSA, and (pick your disciplinary acronym) all the other national

forums for the public presentation and publication of the results of the

funded (and unfunded) research. Would we have each state attempt to

duplicate the nationally-composed review panels? Would we have each

state (or regional) disciplinary organization attempt to represent the

entire nation in the composition of its conference program committees?

Elimination of national "bureaucracies" in these area might

quickly lead to the spawning of even more wasteful, and far less

effective, state-by-state bureaucracies. (This is reminiscent of the

well-documented fact that single-payer national health-care bureaucracies

extract fewer premium dollars for administrative costs than the

collective costs extracted by the existing myriad of private

health-insurance providers.)

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H Stephen STRAIGHT, Assoc Prof of Anthro & of Ling, Binghamton Univ (SUNY)

Director: Grad Studies in Anthro, Prog in Ling, and Lgs Across the Curric

Box 6000, Binghamton, NY 13902-6000; Voice: 607-777-2824; Fax: -2889/-2477