Institutional Inertia and the State of the Discipline
Do we think that ideas only come in a limited number of sizes? Obviously not. And yet… it would be perfectly reasonable for someone from the outside to accuse us of so thinking. These are the constraints of the institution, and we reinforce them constantly: in, for instance, our evaluations of journal articles, including the ways we count them for tenure; but also, say, in the normal length of the normal end-of-term graduate seminar paper, which is merely a proxy for its potential future as a journal article. And so for historical periods, the graduate curriculum,and reports on the state of disciplines: we think very badly about institutions, when we do at all.