Community College Humanities Review Journal

Want a peek at the CCHR? See the teasers below!

The Community College Humanities Review Journal

The Community College Humanities Review (CCHR) journal, published biannually by the Community College Humanities Association (CCHA), has gone through an extensive redesign and reevaluation of editorial content. Along with the publication’s historical penchant for outstanding peer-reviewed scholarship, CCHR is now publishing essays on pedagogy, faculty profiles, book reviews, columns, fiction, poetry, and first-person reflections on life as a community college humanities professor. Further information on our Submission Guidelines below.

For “conventional” humanities disciplines such as history, philosophy, literary studies, composition, comparative religion, and ethics, CCHR provides the latest in research and pedagogy. The publication also leads the charge in expanding the definition of what studying the humanities may come to mean in the future. CCHR intends to explore, from a humanities perspective and with the intention of building bridges with other disciplines, such subjects as climate change, income inequality, environmental racism, terrorism, sustainability, media literacy, and biotechnology.

With expanded editorial content, CCHR is better able to serve CCHA’s members, as well as reach the larger higher education humanities community. CCHR is the go-to for the past, present, and future of humanities education in community colleges. Since the re-launch, CCHR has assumed its position as the signature publication of the Community College Humanities Association and be a welcome and important contribution for any individual and/or institution where the humanities are taught or explored.

Edited by Sydney Elliott, The Review is available via Amazon by clicking the link below. Additionally, more information about our Submission Guidelines can be found HERE.

Yellow compass rose cover of the spring 2019 CCHR
EBSCO logo, white on blue

Get the Community College Humanities Review Journal (CCHR) delivered to your  library; it’s easy to do! Masyn Phoenix, Library Director at Tillamook Bay Community College, is here to tell you how just how easy it is. “Subscribing to the Community College Huamnities Review is easy. Just ask your friendly neighborhood librarian to subscribe for you through EBSCONET. ISSN# 0748-0741.” Thanks, Masyn!

Want a peek at the CCHR? See the teasers below!

Contact information

Sydney Elliott, Editor

Submission guidelines

Community College


The Community College Humanities Review is published by the Community College Humanities Association (CCHA). The goal of the journal is to highlight the scholarly and creative work of community college humanities faculty. The editor encourages progressive approaches to writing about the humanities in community colleges, welcoming but also questioning conventional subject matter while inviting community college humanities faculty to take a fresh look at, for example, culture, the environment, the politics of food, climate change, genetic engineering, whatever new challenges a humanities mindset may help, in an integrated approach with other disciplines, to solve. The Community College Humanities Review strives to be the go to publication for community college humanities scholarship and creativity.

Submission Guidelines


Please query CCHR’s editor, Sydney Elliott, at Submissions will only be accepted through email in MS Word, 12 point, Times New Roman font, double spaced, left justified, with one-inch margins and page numbers in the upper right corner. There should be no headers or footers. CCHR rarely accepts any work over 7,000 words. Most texts should fall between the 2,000 – 7,000 word range. For additional format requirements concerning research submissions, see below.


CCHR accepts well-researched articles by community college humanities faculty. Along with the above writing guidelines, scholar writers should follow MLA format and use endnotes (not footnotes) when necessary. Please restrict the number of explanatory or digressive endnotes that are excessively long. Limit the total number of endnotes to bibliographic references. Use superscript Arabic numbers in text, avoid the use of other symbols like asterisks. Embed tables, figures, charts, graphs into the narrative as close to the in-text reference as possible. Limit the number of appendixes.

Creative Nonfiction

Essays – CCHR accepts well-written personal experience and critical essays as well as long-form, literary journalism written by community college humanities faculty. Essays on novel pedagogy and teaching experiences are encouraged.

Profiles – Creative profiles in the long-form tradition should focus on community college humanities faculty or those who are in some significant way associated with community colleges.


Interviews, in Q&A format, will be accepted as long as the interview subject has particular relevance to the teaching of humanities in community colleges. Please query Editor Sydney Elliott.


CCHR accepts well written short stories of any genre, generally 1,000 to 7,500 words. Higher consideration is given to quality writing and the ability to tell a good story. Both character- or plot-driven stories welcome for review. CCHR publishes one short story per issue, more depending on the discretion of the editor. Send your best work. No previously published material. Yes on simultaneous submissions.


Poets may submit up to five poems in any form. Publication design guidelines prohibit the guarantee of poet-designated line breaks. We’ll do our best to accommodate. Thoughtful, imaginative poems should resonate. Send your very best work. No previously published material. Simultaneous submissions are ok.



Subject to the editor’s discretion, The Community College Humanities Review accepts photography by community college humanities faculty. Photos may need to be conducive to the thematic content of a particular issue.

In This Issue:

Sneak Peek
Linda MacKillop:
“Historical Markers” (Non-Fiction)

“Set up for yourself roadmarks, place for yourself guideposts; direct your mind to the highway, the way by which you went.”

—Jeremiah 31:21

It’s the mid-90s and I’m far, far from home, driving on a rolling, rising Southern road, bordered on my right by the James River outside of Richmond, Virginia—a world away from my beloved New England roots. I left my husband at home with our four sons, presumably so I could go get some milk at the grocery store only minutes from our new house. I likely will be gone for a couple of hours. It takes a while for my eyes to settle on something that recalls home, something that will settle me and this roiling longing for a familiar place. I scan the landscape for anything reminiscent of antique colonial houses, a little aged and a little weathered from sitting near sea air for over a century, their gray shingles and red front doors serving as a welcome committee. I find nothing. And despite my proximity to the river, inhaling deeply only brings the scent of pine trees and dried leaves scorched by the Southern heat rather than any hint of salty ocean. Plantation-like historical homes suffice for the time being, offering age and history, standing watch from the safety of the river bank. But those old plantations remind me I have moved to a place with a past so different from my own.

My husband recently accepted an engineering job in this state, moving our family from the land of the Pilgrims and the Mayflower to the former Capital of the Confederacy. We arrived long after the Civil War ended, long after the last Union soldier prisoner celebrated his release and trudged home to his family, long after the last son wandered up a driveway, all battered but alive, to the joy of his parents. We live as transplanted Yankees on Southern soil, bringing with us our Northeast accents and habits. “You’re from Boston? Do you pahk ya cah in Havid yad?”

Relationships feel strained, and I’m not sure if I’m imagining it or not, but neighbors and acquaintances seem to look askance at us when I tell them we’re from Massachusetts. We struggle to build relationships with the locals, separated by our dress styles, manners, and histories. Assumptions abound, and I get a lecture about the shenanigans of John F. Kennedy, as if I didn’t know his history, as if I supported marital infidelity because I’m from Massachusetts. The next- door neighbor boy, standing in our front doorway one day comments in front of his mother that I don’t make my sons tuck in their shirts. The mother is silent while I look down and notice my own untucked shirt. I’m surrounded by people who say “ya’ll,” and “might could” as in “We might could get along if only everyone understood the rules and spoke those rules out loud.” One day, I will be charmed by the respectful Miss Linda’s and the charming Mr. Bill’s, the polite yes ma’ams and no sirs, but while driving along this lovely river road in the 1990s, the future seems invisible to me, offering only visions of permanent loneliness and homesickness.

My new neighbors and I fall on two different sides of the Civil War, or “The War Between the States,” as my growing sons will be taught during their years in Virginia schools. Not knowing if we’ll ever live outside the boundaries of Virginia again, my husband and I decide to ward off some of the newcomer loneliness by jumping into a history lesson, we with so little knowledge of the Civil War. We spend hours watching Ken Burns’ brilliant documentary series on the Civil War, learning about battles that once played out on the land and fields just down the road from our new home. We visit Appomattox, Petersburg, and Richmond’s Museum of History and the White House of the Confederacy. Characters come alive: Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, Jefferson Davis, still heroes today to native Virginians; they become more than names to us as we learn their individual stories and personalities. Whether we agree with their reason for fighting or not, we hear one of their reasons for going to war: the Yankees are on their land.

Our surroundings eventually come to life for us, often spoken through the folks who lived a century ago on these same rolling Southern roads and left their parents’ home with a homemade meal to head off to war. We stand at grassy battlefields and tune our ears to the ghosts of dying men from both armies and their rising moans. Learning the history of a place makes a permanent mark on the living as you learn about the dead. We imagine how the weathered timber fences bordering farm houses outside of the city once encircled green fields stained with blood.

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Sneak Peek
David Arnold:
“The Last Stand: The Liberal Arts and Community Colleges”

After a great postwar run where the liberal arts and humanities expanded along with the general growth of higher education. More recently, the liberal arts have been thrown back on their heels, reeling from decades of funding cuts, diminishing numbers of undergraduate majors (which are at their lowest ebb since 1948), and high-profile attacks from political leaders. These trends have encouraged college students and their families to view the liberal arts as the quickest path to poverty (unless, of course, you’re lucky enough to attend a university like Harvard, Yale, Princeton, or Columbia).

Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and also a law degree, criticizes our universities for “graduating people with degrees that don’t lead to jobs.” Former Florida governor Jeb Bush, who earned a Bachelor of Arts in Latin American Studies, said, “it’s important to have liberal arts . . . but realize, you’re going to be working at Chick-fil-A.” Former President Barack Obama, who graduated from Columbia with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with emphases in International Relations and English Literature and later received a law degree from Harvard, said, “Folks can make a lot more, potentially, with skilled manufacturing or the trades than they might with an art-history degree.” The list goes on.

The quickest way to achieving the American Dream, the conventional wisdom goes, is to major in something practical, like engineering, finance, accounting, or computer science. Or, perhaps, pursue a vocational path towards nursing, radiology, or welding. Community colleges have put a premium on these workforce pathways, which quickly deposit students at the end of their stream- lined degree or certificate program with the likely prospect of obtaining a decent-paying job. This is a development that makes perfect sense, especially given the background and goals of our community college student population. They want—and we want for them—to enter the workforce and make a living wage. Unfortunately, the perception that liberal arts courses are not central to that pathway is fostered not only by cost-cutting politicians but also by accreditors, state boards, and college administrators who champion workforce, career, and technical fields.

The result is, that over my two decades of teaching history at a community college, I have watched the curriculum get narrower, and the paths that students can travel down more restrictive. Every quarter, I find fewer “traditional” community college students (older, working students as opposed to high school-aged dual-credit students) in my classrooms as more of them opt for “practical” majors that limit their choice of electives to a paltry few. And history, at my college, is purely elective for all but those seeking a high school degree.

The most recent development in the community college system in Washington State, and nationwide, is called “Guided Pathways”—an effort to steer students more rapidly and efficiently down narrow corridors that will deliver them jobs with the least amount of inefficiency, meaning less cost to them as well as taxpayers. This is a seemingly rational response to the rising costs of education, crunched public budgets, and tuition-paying students who want degrees that are “useful” and “relevant.” But even if we assume that the intent of Guided Pathways, and initiatives like it, is not to eviscerate the liberal arts, the message conveyed to students is clear: the liberal arts and humanities are not useful or relevant unless they are specifically needed for university transfer credit. Moreover, broad learning across the liberal arts is discouraged by narrowing the “choice architecture” for degree and certificate programs.

A cottage industry has emerged in books defending the value of a liberal arts education, and those of us teaching humanities at community colleges should pay attention, because it is increasingly clear that we need to do a better job of defending our disciplines and making a compelling case for the liberal arts not only to the public, politicians, and college administrators, but also to our primary constituents: our students.

The defenders of the liberal arts come in two varieties: Idealists and Pragmatists. The Idealists defend the liberal arts with high-minded arguments about the intrinsic worth and value of a liberal arts education. These arguments focus on the enduring values of aesthetic beauty, contemplation, truth-seeking, self-knowledge, curiosity, empathy, and enlightened citizenship. These are values crucial to the existence of democratic societies, argues Martha Nussbaum, in her book, Not for Prof- it: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities. Nussbaum doesn’t overlook the fact that the humanities provide skills that prepare students for employment, but her primary concern is that the higher ideals of a liberal education—“the faculties of thought and imagination that make us human and make our relationships rich human relationships”—are being sacrificed to the profit motive, which is governed by “relationships of mere use and manipulation.” Nussbaum fears that if citizens see each other this way, “democracy is bound to fail, because democracy is built upon respect and con- cern, and these in turn are built upon the ability to see other people as human beings, not simply as objects.”

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Sneak Peek
Mark R. Huston:
“Beyond Apocalypse Now: Just War Theory and Existentialism”

Francis Ford Coppola’s brilliant Vietnam War film Apocalypse Now (1979) presents a complicated vision of the individual soldier during wartime. In this paper, I will provide a twofold analysis of the film Apocalypse Now. I will analyze the film in relation to Just War Theory, particularly the element of Just War Theory that relates to the responsibilities of the individual soldier. Those responsibilities are referred to as jus in bello, or justice in war. I will argue that the movie makes a case against the possibility of justice in war. Assuming the plausibility of that interpretation leads to the second fold of my analysis, namely that Existentialism provides the best way to make sense of the behavior of the two main characters, Willard and Kurtz.
Before going further, some assumptions are in order. I will assume the reader has seen the movie, and so I will make references throughout to specific scenes and bits of dialogue. I will also give only the most cursory of descriptions when necessary to establish key points. In addition, for the sake of simplicity, I will only look at the original version of Apocalypse Now not Apocalypse Now Redux (2001). Finally, I will focus only on the film and not on Joseph Conrad’s novel Heart of Darkness upon which the film is based. However, a brief synopsis is in order.

Captain Benjamin Willard is ordered to find and kill Colonel Walter E. Kurtz, who is currently in Cambodia where he has become commander of a group of indigenous Vietnamese called the Montagnards. Kurtz, who has been charged with murder and desertion, is called “insane” by the General giving Willard these orders. Willard takes a patrol boat down the Nung River (which is in fact fictional) to find Kurtz. The boat is manned by four people: Chief, the chief of the boat; Clean, a 17 year old; Chef, a saucier from New Orleans; and Lance, a surfer from California. The journey is harrowing, all but Lance and Willard are killed, with Willard finally killing Kurtz in the end. As Kurtz is dying he utters the lines, “the horror . . . the horror.”

In order to discuss Just War Theory in relation to Apocalypse Now, it is essential to understand some of the key assumptions and distinctions that occur within theorizing about war. I will primarily use Michael Walzer’s classic book, Just And Unjust Wars, as a means for examining the issues explored in the film and as a contrast to many of the points I believe the film is making. Much of the debate surrounding Just War Theory has to do with jus ad bellum, or justice of war. There is a very long debate, going back explicitly at least to Augustine and Aquinas, over whether there is such a thing as a just war and, if so, just what requirements must be met in order to wage a just war. While it may be assumed that Apocalypse Now takes the Vietnam War to be an unjust war in terms of jus ad bellum, that view is not made explicit and it is clearly separate from the main issues raised in the film. The film’s primary concern is the role of the soldier during war, independently of whether or not the state was justified in going to war.

Walzer understands war to be an activity that occurs between nations and states with the individuals who make up war activity (soldiers, etc.) as part of an overall state apparatus. In addition, the rules that allow a state to go to war are separate from the rules that govern the soldier’s activity in war. This distinction gives Walzer the ability to claim that soldiers in war, even if those soldiers are fighting for a nation that has waged an unjust war, are “moral equals,” meaning each has a right to kill the other without being considered a murderer. Importantly, the moral equivalence is only among combatants with noncombatants keeping their ordinary rights. Hence, while a soldier may kill another soldier while fighting, the soldier may not kill a noncombatant or a soldier that is surrendering. These are just some of the rules that govern the activities of the individual soldier.

While Walzer clearly recognizes that “war is hell,” he also just as firmly believes there are rules of war. The structures and rules of war allow Walzer to distinguish different levels of responsibility that individuals have for their conduct. The upshot is that the further up the food chain one goes, the more responsibility that one has, especially when noncombatants are harmed or killed as a result of a military action. The level of responsibility is correlated with the level of power and knowledge one has, so officers have significantly more responsibilities than enlisted soldiers. For example, the My Lai massacre that occurred during the Vietnam  War, when an entire village was wiped out under direct orders by Lieutenant Calley, resulted in only the conviction of Calley. Morally, though, Walzer indicates that Captain Medina, Calley’s commanding officer, bears responsibility for giving ambiguous orders and that most of the individual soldiers probably are morally responsible as well. However, he does argue that the duress the individual soldier is under, such as trying to follow orders, pressure from other soldiers, following moral law, may mitigate much of that responsibility. So, while a soldier may not violate the basic rights of the noncombatant (e.g. rape, murder, etc.), there are still levels of moral responsibility that a soldier bears depending upon the situation.

According to Walzer, then, there are rules for going to war and independent rules that soldiers must follow in war. Following those rules depends upon an understanding of basic human rights, an understanding Walzer believes each soldier has, along with a structure that places greater moral responsibility on commanders to take actions and give orders that avoid, as much as possible, harming non-combatants. Additionally, those actions and orders must be clearly communicated to the soldiers in the field. Apocalypse Now presents a view of war that casts serious doubt on the possibility of justice in war. In fact, the movie could even be taken as an argument that justice in war, as understood by those who hold views like Walzer’s, is highly improbable and maybe impossible.

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