Newfield, Christopher



Ph.D., Cornell University, 1988
M.A., Cornell University, 1984
B.A., Reed College, 1980

My current work is in critical university studies, American literature since 1990, California
culture and society, quantification studies, and the status of literary knowledge. In the first
area, I’ve written a trilogy of books on the university as an intellectual and social institution: Ivy
and Industry: Business and the Making of the American University, 1880-1980 (Duke University
Press, 2003); Unmaking the Public University: The Forty Year Assault on the Middle
Class (Harvard University Press, 2008); and The Great Mistake: How We Wrecked Public
Universities and How We Can Fix Them (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2016), which has just
appeared in paperback. I am the principal investigator on a project called, “Limits of the
Numerical: Higher Education in the Age of Metrics,” supported by a 2-year NEH Collaborative
Research Grant. I am very interested in innovation theory—and the role of literary and cultural
study (or lack thereof) in moving the U.S. away from tech-exclusive understandings of social
change. I served as co-PI on an NSF grant that founded a Center for Nanotechnology in Society
at UCSB, immersed myself in renewal energy innovation and co-authored a film, What
Happened to Solar Innovation? I also write about American intellectual and social history (The
Emerson Effect, University of Chicago Press), and I co-edited Mapping Multiculturalism
(University of Minnesota Press) with Avery F. Gordon.  I blog on higher education policy
at Remaking the University, and I’ve written for the Huffington Post, Inside Higher Ed, The
Chronicle of Higher Education, WonkHE (UK), The Guardian’s Higher Education Network, and
the Los Angeles Review of Books. In the summer of 2019, I’ll start to write for the Education
section at Forbes.

Late 20 th and 21 st Century American Literature
Critical University Studies
Literary Theory; Theory of Literary Knowledge
Literature and Economics
Literature and Crime
Literature and Social Sciences
Humanities and Quantitative Methods
Race and Ethnicity
American Studies
American Literature Before 1865
Cultural Studies
Humanities and Science
Future of the Humanities

Research Website



South Hall 2517

Office Hours: 

Spring 2020 - Please email for appointment.


Mailing Address: 

English Department
UC Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-3170


Literature and Mind
American Literature
Cultural Studies
Literary Theory


Recent Courses Taught