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Lingua Franca Bites the Dust?
- To: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Subject: Lingua Franca Bites the Dust?
- From: Ann Okerson <email@example.com>
- Date: Thu, 18 Oct 2001 15:55:55 -0400 (EDT)
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- Sender: email@example.com
Sorry, folks, this has nothing to do with licensing at all, but it will be of interest to many who were avid readers of the academic/humanities magazine, Lingua Franca. We want to pay tribute to it here and we will miss it a great deal. Maybe it will rise again; meanwhile, RIP. We also wish the best of continuing futures for Mr. Kittay's excellent web resource, Arts & Letters Daily ; and for his superb academic publication, University Business. Ann Okerson ---------- Forwarded message ---------- This article from NYTimes.com Chronicle of Academic Life Halts Publication October 18, 2001 By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK Lingua Franca, a magazine about academic life that became a must-read for intellectuals far from universities as well, suspended publication yesterday after its financial backer withdrew his support. While Lingua Franca never turned a profit and its circulation hovered around 15,000, news of its apparent demise elicited exclamations of dismay in the world of letters. David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, said: "That is terrible. I really enjoyed it - I always found something fascinating to read in that magazine, and not infrequently something that I wish we had had for The New Yorker." Lingua Franca was founded in 1990 by Jeffrey Kittay, a former professor of French literature at Yale, who saw a niche for vivid reporting about the academic world and especially about its many personal feuds and intellectual controversies. "There is a lot of red-blooded activity in a field that is mostly covered as a pretty desiccated operation," he said yesterday. "I was an academic who was very, very hungry for information about what made my profession so alive, where people became passionate about abstract ideas." Lingua Franca, based in New York and published nine times a year, became known for articles that strove to be both gossipy and weighty, trying to explain complicated ideas in general terms while telling tales about the emotional and human aspects of academic life. Alexander Star, its editor since 1995, said he was first drawn to the magazine by an article about a feminist academic accused of sexually harassing a student. The article juxtaposed the accusation with the professor's discussion in her seminars of the erotic aspects of pedagogy. Mr. Star said Lingua Franca also tried to write about academia's relationship with the public during the "culture wars" of the 1990's, when many critics dismissed university professors as hopelessly out of touch with mainstream culture and academics in turn often looked down at the public as anti-intellectual. In 1996, Lingua Franca made headlines for an article describing a hoax played by Alan Sokal, a New York University physicist. To satirize academic jargon, he persuaded a postmodern humanities journal to publish an essay of pseudoscientific mumbo jumbo. Lingua Franca won a National Magazine Award for general excellence for magazines with low circulations in 1993. It was nominated again in 1994, 1996, 1998, and 1999. Mr. Kittay's company, Academic Partners, added a second publication, University Business, about college administration, and a stake in Arts & Letters Daily, a Web site that provides links to articles about intellectual life from many publications. But Mr. Kittay depended on a single financial backer to subsidize the company's continuing losses. Mr. Kittay declined to name his backer but said that yesterday, that backer, after reviewing the magazine's finances and his own, decided to stop supporting Lingua Franca. Mr. Kittay said the advertising slowdown was not the problem, and he planned to seek new financial support. University Business will continue to appear in some form, he said, and Arts & Letters Daily will continue to appear online. http://www.nytimes.com/2001/10/18/business/media/18MAG.html?ex=1004381293&ei=1&en=7bc31c5513ceaea9 ____ For general information about NYTimes.com, write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Copyright 2001 The New York Times Company