A puzzling piece titled "Against Rank" by one Jeffrey R. Di Leo has just been posted to Inside Higher Ed. The thesis, it seems, is that it is a sign of "good health" that the humanities disciplines have not "caught rank and brand fever like many of the other disciplines in the American academy." I'm not sure exactly what the case for that thesis is supposed to be, because the rest of the article simply notes that the specific specializations and sub-fields within humanities disciplines have their own journals; and this makes overall rankings across sub-fields difficult (or is the claim that it's impossible?). Di Leo then goes further to say that rankings within the sub-fields is "not very useful," because each person working in the sub-field will have "their own highly idiosyncratic" ranking of the journals in the sub-field. I'm not sure why this is a sign of health. By the end of the article, Di Leo has changed the thesis to the claim that journal rankings in the humanities are "not a worthwhile endeavor," and humanities professors should be "proud" that their disciplines have avoided "rank and brand fever."
I find this piece utterly confused. Anyone care to explain it to me?