The Humanities Lab
My article came out today in Inside Higher Ed. It's entitled "We Need Humanities Labs". Although it is a bit tongue-in-cheek to suggest the idea that those in the humanities need to gather in "labs", I believe that more interaction and collegiality would improve the quality of the academic experience for grad students and also increase their creativity and productivity.
I wrote it in response to the epidemic of lonely, isolated, or even abandoned graduate students that I have talked to, heard about, and read about, mostly in the humanities. I find it interesting that one of the comments to the article stated that maybe "isolation is good for you." The writer went on to say that it might be help you with independent thinking not to interact with others in your field as often as weekly. As that writer is far from his/her campus, I suspect that there may be more than a little rationalization -- I can't have it so it must be bad for you. I doubt that most scientists would say they've lost their ability to think independently because they are in regular contact with each other.
Most of the comments so far, except for one silly one (and I know who you are) have been quite thought provoking. It's clear that some people can find their own communities, and those are the students who don't suffer. There's something about the critical nature of the interactions with certain professors, or the negative amosphere in some departments, that causes some grad students not to be able to go after that kind of community on their own. For some, it's their introverted nature. But I don't think that academia should only reward extroverts.