Archive for the 'publication' Category

July 31st 2013
Phantom plagiarists, academic boogeymen, and open access fears that go bump in the night

Posted under jobs & publication & students

Some of you may have read about the recent call from the American Historical Association to Ph.D.-granting universities to permit their recently credentialed historians to leave their dissertations off-line for six years in order to give the junior scholar time to revise the dissertation for publication.  The AHA’s reasoning?

History has been and remains a book-based discipline, and the requirement that dissertations be published online poses a tangible threat to the interests and careers of junior scholars in particular.  Many universities award tenure only to those junior faculty who have published a monograph within six years of receiving the PhD.  With the online publication of dissertations, historians will find it increasingly difficult to persuade publishers to make the considerable capital investments necessary to the production of scholarly monographs.

I read through the AHA statement, the New York Times article on the subject, and a blog post by Berkeley biologist and open access advocate Michael Eisen (courtesy of Comradde PhysioProffe).  I agree entirely with Eisen.  The AHA position is wrongheaded, although I’ve got some different reasons to disagree with the call to embargo disseratations than Eisen has.  Let me explain: Continue Reading »

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July 30th 2013
Word limits, book contracts, and the demand to cut cut cut: any advice?

Posted under jobs & publication

I’ve got a friend who is struggling this summer with her university press publisher’s demand that she cut 20,000 words from her 142,000 word book.  She’s doing interesting work pulling together the relevant strands of scholarship from many different fields, and as most of you humanists can probably guess, this means that her footnotes are pretty crunchy and dense.  She added a great deal more to her first draft of the manuscript to respond to the suggestions and concerns of the press reviewers, and now the press itself is demanding that she cut-cut-cut, and she’s understandably frustrated.

As a first-time author, she feels obligated to demonstrate quite clearly her scholarly debt to others, so her footnotes and bibliography comprise 36,000 of the total.  At this point, she has already cut 12,000 words from the manuscript and doesn’t think she can go further without undermining her contribution to the existing literature. Continue Reading »

33 Comments »

June 6th 2013
Good blogging: do you know it when you see it?

Posted under American history & art & fluff & happy endings & publication

Sorry I’ve been out of touch lately–I’ve been enjoying our lovely wet and cool late spring days here on the high plains with my head stuck pretty much full time in the eighteenth century. (And that is awesome! So long as it’s all in books and in my head, and doesn’t involve period costumes and camping out.) Working on the back porch, watching the rose bushes bloom (finally!) and the hollyhocks and herb garden grow is pretty swell (even if it ain’t Italy.)

If you want some bloggy amusement, head on over to Tenured Radical, who is soliciting ideas in the service of answering some reader mail: what makes for a good blog post? How does it differ from academic writing for books and journals? What do you look for, and which posts do you tend to avoid? Let’s share!

Meanwhile, I heard this song last night on David Dye’s World Cafe, and was reminded that there once was a Velvet Underground song that felt like a fun, happy, summer song: Continue Reading »

14 Comments »

May 29th 2013
AHA Roundtable: Historians’ Perspectives on Web Ethics

Posted under American history & jobs & publication

Howdy, friends–today’s post is an invitation for you to click on over to the American Historical Association’s Roundtable, “Historians’ Perspectives on Web Ethics,” a free-range discussion of the ethical and moral responsibilities historians have with respect to our online presence, either as web page hosts, bloggers, commenters, Tweeters, etc.  Many thanks to Vanessa Varin, an Assistant Editor of Web and Social Media for Perspectives, the newsmagazine of the AHAI made a contribution to the discussion, as did Benjamin Alpers of Oklahoma University and the U.S. Intellectual History blog, John Fea of Messiah College and the blog The Way of Improvement Leads Home, and Claire Potter of the New School for Public Engagement, a.k.a. our old pal, Tenured Radical.

I was interested to see that three of us wrote about the necessity of developing online professional standards and aggressively curating online discussions, whereas Alpers was the only one of us who wrote about a vision of the web as an “open, public scholarly space.”  (This may have something to do with the fact that he has an intellectual history blog, which probably attracts fewer than its share of trolls compared to queer-radfem-political-cowgirl-religion bloggers like Fea, TR, and myself.)  Continue Reading »

18 Comments »

May 10th 2013
Friday funny: “Divisive gender and quota stuff” is all we do around here.

Posted under American history & art & Gender & happy endings & publication & women's history

Don’t miss the cameo by Elaine Showalter, who appears in this video to restage one of my favorite scenes in American film history. Comedy gold! (Via Sophylou at True Stories Backward.)

11 Comments »

September 18th 2012
Trilogies, trade presses, and books in print: part III of my interview with Mary Beth Norton

Posted under American history & book reviews & Gender & publication & women's history

Today’s post is the final installment of my three-part interview with Mary Beth Norton, whose career will be celebrated at Liberty’s Sons and Daughters, a conference in her honor in Ithaca, New York September 28 and 29.  (If you’ve missed part I and part II, get yourself caught up and then read on.)  Here, we talk about her decision to to write a trilogy of books on early American women’s and gender history.  In chronological order of the history they cover, they are Founding Mothers and Fathers:  Gendered Power and the Forming of American Society (1996), Separated by their Sex:  Women in Public and Private in the Colonial Atlantic World (2011), and Liberty’s Daughters:  The Revolutionary Experience of American Women, 1750-1800 (1980).   We also talk about her experiences publishing with both trade and university presses, both of which present their own advantages and disadvantages.

Historiann:  You write in your introduction to Separated by their Sex that this is the third volume of your trilogy focusing on colonial and Revolutionary-era women’s history, connecting Founding Mothers and Fathers to Liberty’s Daughters.  When and how did you conceive of writing a trilogy?  Would you recommend this career strategy to younger historians?

MBN:  I knew I had to write a trilogy when I was three or four years into the research for what became Founding Mothers & Fathers, for I realized then that the project I had conceived as one book had to be divided into two. And even later I decided that Salem witchcraft deserved its own book, an offshoot of the trilogy, because otherwise I feared it would take over the second volume. As it happened, both the Salem research and the research for Separated by their Sex went in directions that I had not anticipated, and so In the Devil’s Snare became more a stand-alone (but related) volume. Continue Reading »

6 Comments »

September 6th 2012
Blogs to books: an opportunity or a big mistake? You decide.

Posted under local news & publication

Blogging in my dressing gown again!

From time to time, I’ve been encouraged to consider publishing a book comprised of blog posts at Historiann, plus (presumably!) some new, not-published-on-the-blog material.  While I’m always terribly flattered by the suggestion, I have real problems with this idea on a number of levels.

Maybe some (or most?) bloggers hope they’ll be the next Julie Powell of Julie and Julia fame–the book about the blog that begat the book that begat the Nora Ephron movie starring Amy Adams and Meryl Streep–I don’t know of too many books-from-blogs or Twitter feeds that are all that impressive or successful.  Most of them seem to me to be (like most blogs, perhaps) disposable celebutainment, “lifestyle” books in the Martha Stewart style, books about weird diets, or baby blogs turned into baby books.  Even  Julie and Julia was a pretty bad book–entertaining, but poorly written in large sections and only lightly edited, if at all, and it only made me wish I had followed the blog in real time.  (Ephron’s movie was the product of a larger and more mature imagination.)

In the main, my problems with the book-to-blog concept revolve around the fact that blogs are a particular genre of communication that I don’t think translate particularly well to other media, and maybe to print media in particular: Continue Reading »

26 Comments »

June 16th 2012
Code Blue at Ferule and Fescue!

Posted under publication & unhappy endings

Drink up, then find another publisher

Friends, as you know I’m conferencing this weekend, but I’m wondering if some of you can offer some helpful advice and assistance to our friend Flavia at Ferule and Fescue.  As some of you may know, she’s enjoying a completely enviable summer in Rome, but that’s beside the point.  Last week, someone peed in her negroni, big time:

As you may recall, I’d been working with this press for two years. They first sent the manuscript to one outside reviewer, who had stern but encouraging words, so I revised according to her suggestions. They sent it to her again, and she was very happy with my revisions and recommended publication. Then they sent it to a second reviewer, who read the entire MS in three weeks and was highly critical–but he also seemed confused about the basic parameters of my project; he made lots of suggestions, but most of them were, at best, tangential to my topic. I was asked to address “at least some of” his concerns, and I did so to the extent that I felt I could while maintaining the integrity of the project. I also told the press very clearly what I had done, what I had not done, and why.

So after winter break they sent it back to him. . . and after more than four months he submitted a one-paragraph review, most of it cut-and-pasted from his previous review, saying that I hadn’t engaged sufficiently with his criticisms.

And that means that’s it for that press. The editor was quite apologetic, but explained that such a negative review tied the press’s hands and would make it hard for the editor to make a case to the publication board–even if the editor were to find a warmly receptive third reader. Continue Reading »

13 Comments »

October 4th 2011
Can a textbook change your intellectual life?

Posted under American history & book reviews & publication & students

Ben Hufbauer, an art historian at the University of Louisville,  has a really nice essay about his encounter with Richard Hofstadter’s The American Republic, which was co-authored by Daniel Aaron and William Miller (1959; rev. 1970).  It turned out to be Hofstadter’s final book, as he died just weeks after the publication of the revised edition in 1970.  Go read–Hufbauer makes a compelling case for the clarity and freshness of the approach by Hofstadter et. al. to narrative history, especially as he encounters it in the mid-1990s in an unlighted Nigerian university library:

I came across The American Republic almost by chance 24 years later, in the library of the Enugu campus of the University of Nigeria. I was in Nigeria for five months with my wife as her research assistant as she studied Igbo masquerades for her doctorate. We lived in a small apartment a short distance from campus in a city that was at times hot almost beyond belief. We often only had power for a few hours a day, and in that un-air-conditioned state — when we weren’t doing ethnographic research — we read a lot to each other, often by candlelight.

Given the poverty and corruption of the country, and the fact that Nigeria suffered a military coup while we were there, it is perhaps not surprising that most of our reading was comfort fare — Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, Charles Dickens. But one day as I was wandering the quiet stacks of the library with no lights and no air conditioning, I dimly saw on a bottom shelf two volumes by a historian I remembered liking for The American Political Tradition, which I’d read as an undergraduate. Continue Reading »

28 Comments »

September 14th 2011
Grad school confidential: new article prize at the Journal of Women’s History!

Posted under Gender & happy endings & publication & students & women's history

We want YOUR article!

Mary Berkery, the Managing Editor of the JWH e-mailed me last month to help spread the word about a new graduate student article prize.  Here are the details:

Journal of Women’s History Graduate Student Article Prize

The Editorial Board of the Journal of Women’s History is proud to announce the initiation of a biennial prize for the best article manuscript in the field of women’s history authored by a graduate student.  Manuscripts in any chronological and geographical area are welcome.  We seek work that has broad significance for the field of women’s history in general by addressing issues that transcend the particulars of the case or by breaking new ground methodologically.

Manuscripts should be submitted electronically, along with a cover letter specifying the author’s graduate advisor, program, and status (i.e., year in program, ABD, etc.), by March 1, 2012 to each member of the committee:  Durba Ghosh (dg256ATcornellDOTedu); Pamela Scully (pamelaDOTscullyATemoryDOTedu); and Judith Zinsser (zinssejpATmuohioDOTedu).

The winning author will receive $3000, and the article will be published in the Journal of Women’s History.  

Now, that is some serious do-re-mi, in addition to a very nice publication line on your CV, friends.  Check out the current issue here, which just happens to include a very generous review of my book in an essay by Rutgers University’s Jennifer Mittelstadt, “Women Participants in Armed Violence.”  Continue Reading »

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