The Literary Journalism Doctorate: A Missing Piece in the Disciplinary Puzzle?

Susan L. Greenberg, John Bak, Robert Boynton, Kevin Lerner, Alex Bertram

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This edited discussion took place as a panel at the Fourteenth International Conference for Literary Journalism Studies, Stony Brook University, United States, in May 2019. Susan Greenberg proposed the topic for the conference as a way of exploring the question raised the previous year by the association’s founding president, John S. Bak: Is literary journalism a full-blown discipline, or a more amorphous area of “studies”? One of the qualifying conditions identified by Bak was the existence of a recognizable body of doctoral work in the field. And so, the following question arises: What is the current state of doctoral-level research around the globe? To structure the response, Greenberg included doctorates in both the practice of literary journalism, and those involving research about the genre, or about related areas. She also widened the search to include all narrative nonfiction genres, and posed a few starter questions, namely: Where is doctoral research on literary journalism taking place within higher education throughout the world? How much research is being conducted? Is this still a minority interest? What kind of critical constructs are used, and how does that influence the field in general and doctoral work in particular? Each contributor drew their own conclusions, but a thread can be seen running through all four contributions: namely, the need for a critical discourse that not only informs the practice but also responds to it, in a bilateral dialogue.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)162-185
    Number of pages24
    JournalLiterary Journalism Studies
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020


    • Higher Education
    • practice research
    • narrative nonfiction
    • literary journalism
    • disciplines
    • PhD
    • doctoral studies

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