Kathleen Fitzpatrick needs no introduction. Everything there is to know about her is on the web. If you google her, you will find that she is neither one of the 25 professionals named Kathleen Fitzpatrick on LinkedIn nor is she the Australian academic who died in 1990—more on that in a minute. Rather, she is the other Kathleen Fitzpatrick on Wikipedia, which links to her homepage at Pomona College, where she is Associate Professor of Media Studies.
She is the recipient of numerous awards, most notably from the Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Her first book, The Anxiety of Obsolescence: The American Novel in the Age of Television, was published. Eventually. In the introduction to her second book, she referenced the challenges she had faced in the publication process, concluding:
“The first academic book isn’t dead, it is undead.”
Now I ask you, what’s not to admire in an academic who can work a zombie metaphor into a serious book about “the crisis in scholarly publishing”?
And how appropriate that she should offer a keynote presentation for us here in New Orleans.
More significantly, Kathleen Fitzpatrick is a strong advocate for change in institutional thinking about scholarly communication. And she practices what she preaches. Her second book, Planned Obsolescence: Publishing, Technology, and the Future of the Academy, will be published this year by New York University Press. A draft version is available for open peer review at Media Commons.