This week, as part of our continuing series on academic journal publishing, we are featuring five Q&A’s with journal editors. In today’s edition, we asked the contributors to offer their insight into their proudest moment as an editor. Read their responses to this question below and follow along with our Journal Publishing Series for additional resources on journal publishing. Previous posts detail how the contributors became journal editors and what skills a journal editor uses the most.
What has been your proudest moment as an editor?
“Well, I’ve only been at this with Ethnohistory for two years, so my experience with the journal is relatively limited. I was certainly proud and honored to have been asked to be the editor. I can’t really single out a particular manuscript I was proud to receive and see through to publication—I’m extremely proud of all of them. One thing that I’ve been pleased about is when I hear through the grapevine that an author liked working with me—it’s important to keep good relationships with authors and to offer guidance and advice in a way that is helpful. It is nice to hear someone say I’ve done that for them.” – Robbie Ethridge, co-editor of Ethnohistory and Professor of Anthropology at University of Mississippi
“I just returned from Berlin, where I was delighted to see the journal displayed on the shelf of a rather sophisticated art bookshop, and seeing people buying it and reading it in my neighborhood bookstore in New York or at theater events where we make it available makes me very happy. I was also pleased when a theater critic for the New York Times began her review by referring to Theater to discuss the work of a challenging foreign playwright we had published. But there have been many others: seeing dramas we’ve published get produced and the artists we feature gain recognition, partly as a result of the exposure and context we bring to their work is immensely satisfying.” – Tom Sellar, editor of Theater, Professor of Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism at Yale University, and Chief Theater Critic for the Village Voice
“It is not a moment. It is an achievement that has accrued over many years. I am proudest of having disseminated editing skills and daring to others and particularly to younger scholars. By skills I mean the ability to get inside a manuscript and improve it; not everyone is born with this empathy but editors must develop it. By daring I mean that a lot of academic life is mystified, so scholars are not aware that they can and should create problems and pursue these problems through the process of the special journal issue. Dare to create advocacy, to show what a critical reading is and how it can shape future thinking. Make knowledge tangible. That is the dare. My greatest skill as an intellectual journal editor is to look at a proposal and to work with the proposal to create a problematic, or what some call a “problem orientation.” When the problem orientation is clear then the issue will create a better new response to a problem. Sometimes the “new” is very small. Sometimes it is bigger. This skill, like all skills, is transferable and long ago I committed to teaching this set of skills to scholars. The enormous pressure on the humanities and the social sciences to fold shop and go away, that must be fought with displays of superior intellect and scholarly outcome. That is the new role, in my view, of the journal.” – Tani Barlow, founding editor of positions and T.T. and W.F. Chao Professor of Asian History and founding director of the Chao Center for Asian Studies at Rice University
“Successfully publishing a journal for many years now means that there are actually many proud moments—including the continued existence of the journal itself! But perhaps two things specifically: after its first year of publication, Pedagogy was selected as the Best New Journal by the Council of Editors of Learned Journals [in 2001]. That was a wonderful affirmation. More recently, one of my students was visiting a campus that he was considering attending for graduate school. While there, he sat in on a seminar that was discussing an article from Pedagogy. I am always delighted to hear that the wonderful scholarship our authors are producing is finding a home in classrooms. That’s why the journal exists.” – Jennifer Holberg, founding co-editor of Pedagogy and Professor of English at Calvin College