Professor Michael Rothberg Speaks Up in Defense of Stanford University Press

Published: May 7, 2019

Professor Michael Rothberg speaks up in defense of Stanford University Press (SUP) and all scholarly publishing. In response to Stanford University’s Provost’s threat to cease funding to SUP, Professor Rothberg quickly took action to decry this administrative decision and defend the renowned press.

In a letter addressed to Stanford’s President and Provost, Rothberg voices his concerns about closing this world-class press. Rothberg describes the press’ value for both his personal academic work and, more broadly, the humanities and social sciences as a whole. He writes,

“It is no secret that the world currently faces unprecedented challenges—challenges such as the growing climate of hate and intolerance, the radical questioning of scientific knowledge and truth, and the impending threat of environmental crisis. SUP authors are at the cutting-edge in confronting these issues. At this perilous moment, we need scholarly, evidence-based knowledge more than ever.”

Rothberg’s letter has been widely circulated and was published in The Stanford Daily. You can read his letter here.

More recently, The Nation also asked Professor Rothberg to provide an account of the controversial debate surrounding SUP. In the statement, Rothberg offers a powerful and optimistic conclusion, which will hopefully continue to inspire more action:

“The fragile truce surrounding SUP remains cause for concern, but the scale and rapidity of the mobilization that rose up to defend the press is also reason for guarded optimism. We who have dedicated our lives to the pursuit of critical knowledge about society and culture are not going down without a fight.”

To read Rothberg’s full article, which is now published on The Nation‘s website, click here.

Michael Rothberg is a Professor of English and Comparative Literature at UCLA. He is also the 1939 Society Samuel Goetz Chair in Holocaust Studies.