An Interview with English Language Notes Editor Laura Winkiel

We recently sat down with new English Language Notes (ELNeditor Laura Winkiel to discuss the journal’s editorial philosophy, the journal’s new “Of Note” section, and upcoming special issues of the journal.

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How would you describe the journal’s editorial philosophy?

The journal’s core editors are a rotating group of professors housed in the English Department at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and the aim of the journal is to highlight and further new critical trends. We’re trans-historical and trans-interdisciplinary, so what that’s meant is that we push the envelope on a given critical question for an interdisciplinary, trans-historical field. We’re special issue driven, so we have a special issue editor, or two, who writes the introduction to map out the wide parameters of a critical question. The journal is methodologically driven, instead of historically driven.

How does English Language Notes differentiate itself from other journals in the area?

ELN is a special issue-only journal; every issue is different. It’s hard to fit us into a box because, for example, we are currently publishing a “Comparative Mysticisms” issue , while we have just published a biopolitically-driven issue, called “In/security” and an environmental humanities issue, called “Environmental Trajectories.”

One of the things we want to start doing next year is to have a section called Of Note, which will address all kinds of critical angles in literary studies and beyond. This section will be separate from whatever the special issue editor is curating. “Of Note” will serve as a thread of contemporary criticism and dialogue that is continuous across all issues to solidify our identity and to begin to generate attention to a continuous open call at the journal for short, position-taking submissions. This can be in the form of a review essay, or a short essay akin to the “Theories and Methodologies” section of the PMLA.

Can you tell me a little more about this new “Of Note” section and what you’re looking for in submissions?

English Language Notes has always had a variety of formats: the long scholarly article, creative submissions, and clusters and forums. We are looking to build upon this strength.  We will begin by publishing a CFP for “Of Note” this spring.  We’ve already built an in-box for submissions in Editorial Manager, and the Senior Editor will be in charge of curating this section for each issue. I think scholars will have a sense of what we’re looking for by reading the CFP.

What are some forthcoming issues of English Language Notes?

What has always motivated my editorial work is the desire to learn a field in depth: who is working in it, and what the salient debates are. Editorial work is scholarly work that is collaborative and collective.

I’m currently working on a special issue called, “Hydro-criticism,” that will be out in April 2019.  Though I’ve worked on the black Atlantic for a long time now, the maritime turn in humanities is changing this field in many compelling ways. I’m interested in how the two can meet. The topic of “Hydro-criticism” is perfect for an ELN issue: it is transhistorical, interdisciplinary, there are scientists, social scientists, anthropologists, artists and humanists working in this field, if one can call it that. I have circulated a range of question topics: wet ontologies, entanglements, provincializing Europe, long histories, questions of sovereignty, shipwrecks and other seafaring disasters, literary form, and problems of scale. The deadline to submit to this issue of English Language Notes is March 1, 2018.

Comparative Mysticisms” is in production now and coming out in April 2018. It’s edited by Professor Nan Goodman, who is in the English Department and directs the Jewish Studies Program at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Maria Windell and Jesse Alemán’s “Latinx Lives in Hemispheric Context” will be published in October 2018.

After the “Hydro-criticism” issue, Ramesh Mallipeddi and Cristobal Silva will publish an issue titled “Memory, Amnesia, Commemoration.”

Are there any ways you would like to shape the journal in the future?

I think I’ve already outlined most of the important work that has gone into our move to Duke University Press and our vision for the journal’s future. I will add that the journal is also going through a redesign, so it will have a new look in terms of layout as well. In addition, we have started to reach out to co-editors from other institutions and departments as a way to broaden our editorial vision. I think English Language Notes is a journal to pay attention to, now more than ever.

A respected forum of criticism and scholarship in literary and cultural studies since 1962, English Language Notes (ELN) is dedicated to pushing the edge of scholarship in literature and related fields in new directions. Broadening its reach geographically and transhistorically, ELN opens new lines of inquiry and widens emerging fields. Each ELN issue advances topics of current scholarly concern, providing theoretical speculation as well as interdisciplinary recalibrations through practical usage. Offering semiannual, topically themed issues, ELN also includes “Of Note,” an ongoing section featuring related topics, review essays or roundtables of cutting-edge scholarship, and emergent concerns. Edited by Laura Winkiel, ELN is a wide-ranging journal that combines theoretical rigor with innovative interdisciplinary collaboration.

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