Toby Miller, Blow Up The Humanities

12:00pm - 1:00pm EST November 14, 2012

As part of NITLE’s continuing series on the future of the liberal arts college library, this seminar seeks to engage members of the NITLE Network in building shared discussion about that future and developing common structures and strategies for sustaining the mission of the college library. We encourage faculty, librarians, instructional technologists, and others to attend: attendance by institutional teams is strongly encouraged; individuals are also welcome to participate. (Times EST)

Toby Miller is a British-Australian-U.S. interdisciplinary social scientist. He is the author and/or editor of over 30 books, has published essays in more than 100 journals and edited collections, and is a frequent guest commentator on television and radio programs. He has written and spoken extensively on issues of higher education and scholarly communication in the United States and around the world. In his most recent book, Blow Up The Humanities (Temple UP), he provocatively outlines an argument for a new model of humanities teaching and scholarship that will address the social, cultural, and economic crises it faces. Miller synthesizes data and arguments about the history and status of what he claims is a bifurcated humanities, providing a nuanced, complex solution, which may nevertheless require some “creative destruction.”

As we consider the future of liberal arts college library, it is useful to consider what we mean by the liberal arts. How the latter are—or could—change in relation to the pressures and concerns Miller outlines will ultimately determine in the future of the library itself. While we may contend with Miller’s particular incendiary devices, his ruthless, rigorous vision is an essential continuation of our conversation. Many of his solutions accord well with the core values of NITLE members; those that don’t are opportunities for productive engagement. Please join us for this important, forward-looking dialogue with a leading scholar in Critical Cultural/Studies.


Toby Miller. Born in the United Kingdom and brought up in England, India, and Australia, Dr. Miller earned a B.A. in history and political science at the Australian National University in 1980 and a Ph.D. in philosophy and communication studies at Murdoch University in 1991. He taught at Murdoch, Griffith University, and the University of New South Wales and was a professor at New York University from 1993 to 2004, when he joined the University of California, Riverside. Miller is now Professor of Cultural Industries in the Centre for Cultural Policy and Management at the City University of London. He has a critical, interdisciplinary, transnational perspective on the liberal arts and humanities.

Miller’s teaching and research cover higher education, scholarly communication, media, sports, labor, gender, race, citizenship, politics, and cultural policy, as well as the success of Hollywood overseas and the adverse effects of electronic waste. His work has been translated into Chinese, Japanese, Swedish, German, Turkish, Spanish, and Portuguese. He has been Media Scholar in Residence at Sarai, the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in India, Becker Lecturer at the University of Iowa, a Queensland Smart Returns Fellow in Australia, Honorary Professor at the Center for Critical and Cultural Studies, University of Queensland, CanWest Visiting Fellow at the Alberta Global Forum in Canada, and an International Research collaborator at the Centre for Cultural Research in Australia.

About the Future of the Liberal Arts College Library series

The Future of the Liberal Arts College Library seminar series is part of NITLE’s continuing effort to engage members of the NITLE Network in conversation around this important topic. Over the course of the year, the series will bring librarians, faculty, and interested others from NITLE’s member campuses together to explore principal elements: What is the future of the liberal arts? the future of the liberal arts college? the future of the library?

Our goal in asking these questions, exploring potential answers, and engaging stakeholders from across the NITLE Network in sharing their diverse perspectives is to prepare the groundwork for moving on to the next step: joint and individual action. These discussions are aimed at both inspiring and guiding us in strategically crafting campus policy of developing intra- and inter-campus collaborative connections.

Because broad engagement across diverse viewpoints is key to developing strategies that are actually effective in the long run, we encourage stakeholders from member campuses to participate regularly in this seminar series, recruit campus colleagues to join the discussion, and to use seminar discussions as fuel for ongoing conversation on campus.

Series Hashtag

Participants are encouraged to share their thoughts on Twitter via this series’ hashtag: #LAClibrary.


Registration for this event is closed. (Participation in NITLE Shared Academics events is open to all active member institutions of the NITLE Network as a benefit of membership and as space allows. No additional registration fee applies.)


For more information about this event, please contact Sean Johnson Andrews at