Nonfiction Liberation

In the 1970s, when Ms. Magazine came out, there was a great story about three (heterosexual) couples who got together for dinner: a lawyer, a chemist, a teacher, a lawyer, a manager, and a lawyer, and one of the lawyers looked around the room and said: “This will be great, we’re all lawyers!” (the men were lawyers).
In a similar way, I feel that history books just get completely overlooked in schools. People who talk about writing in the schools, talk about fiction, and people who talk about reading (in the schools) talk as if nonfiction just did not exist. It does not seem to find a place in their thoughts. Literature Rules! (good and bad)…
I know that, in the early days of women’s liberation (1970s version), men would sometimes catch themselves, and say, “or she,” and the like, but it was a real struggle. Now in schools there may be people who mention nonfiction in the same way, but history and other nonfiction have not really moved into the mainstream. There is a glass ceiling for nonfiction so thick, that people standing on it, as a floor, do not even see nonfiction down there waiting its turn.
The Nonfiction Liberation Movement should challenge that Hegemonic monopoly and at least teach educators that to mention writing, without mentioning academic expository writing (term papers), and to talk of reading, without mentioning history, is to be politically incorrect!
Then perhaps the downtrodden brothers and sisters in the History Departments will dare to assert themselves and say, boldly, to the astonishment of their peers, “I am going to assign a complete history book this semester!” and “I am going to assign a serious Extended Research Essay this semester!” A cadre of new Nonfiction Freedom Riders will arise, and our kids will no longer be sent off to college and into the world never having read a complete history book or written one serious nonfiction term paper.
Will Fitzhugh [founder]
Consortium for Varsity Academics? [2007]
The Concord Review [1987]
Ralph Waldo Emerson Prizes [1995]
National Writing Board [1998]
TCR Institute [2002]
730 Boston Post Road, Suite 24
Sudbury, Massachusetts 01776 USA
978-443-0022; 800-331-5007;