One of the things we ponder these days at H-Net is just how the heck H-Net fits in to academia. One side of this question is about what exactly all these networks we have can or should do. The other side is about academia: what does it do, what does it want, and do the many large scale changes happening in academia impact what we can or should do at H-Net?
Everyone is invited to a discussion on the matter on the H-Net Executive Council's public site. I especially want to reach out to H-Material-Culture as wrapped up in those changes are a large number of PhD's leaving academia for other (possibly greener) pastures. H-Material-Culture already has a large number of subscribers who have at least one, and often times two, feet outside academia, in museums or elsewhere.
In many ways, H-Net has generally been by and for academics, but academia is changing, maybe suffering (especially in Humanities and Social Sciences), and the idea of a viable career path as a university professor seems to be disintegrating. Should changes in academia prompt us to think differently about what we do? Are there ways we could be more useful or engaging for subscribers outside the Ivory Tower? Does the Material Culture mix of academia and practice offer any suggestions? Feel free to join and reply to H-Net's discussion on the matter.