Session Submission Summary

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Publish or Perish? Rethinking Academic Journals for Graduate Students and Contingent Scholars

Mon, December 16, 8:30 to 10:00am, Hilton Bayfront San Diego, Aqua 309

Session Submission Type: Roundtable

Session Sponsor: In geveb: A Journal of Yiddish Studies


This round table brings together digital and print publishers of academic and academic-adjacent writing to think about ways that we do, can, might, and should incorporate graduate students, recent graduates, underemployed and contingent academic workers and those outside academia in the world of academic publishing. Given increased expectations that graduate students face about publishing before completing a PhD and while on the job market, and the significant challenges that increasing numbers of underemployed and contingent academics face in finding time, resources, and compensation for their scholarly work, we will consider the role and function of publishing giving changing professional and scholarly demands in the field. We will discuss the missions of our individual academic publishing ventures and how they are responding to continuing changes in our field as they relate specifically to providing opportunities for these populations.

Some questions we will consider include:

What are the specific concerns that these populations might have with regard to the time and resources required to write an academic article?

What benefits does publishing with an academic journal or a digital platform offer for people in these positions?

What editorial or organizational opportunities would be beneficial for people in such positions to hold, and how could journals and other organizations recruit from within these populations?

What role does publishing play as part of professional training for graduate students; for academics in alt-ac positions, etc.
How should publications address the labor and process of peer review?

What knowledge and experience do individuals in these positions have that might be otherwise missing from our academic conversations?

What genres, formats, and timelines best accommodate the needs of these populations?

What kind of compensation would be fair?

Are there accommodations that should not be made, so as to uphold the quality or integrity of the academic articles or maintain their traditional form?

Saul Noam Zaritt is an assistant professor of Yiddish Literature at Harvard University. He is currently a senior editor at In geveb and one of the site’s founding editors.

Nick Underwood is currently a Visiting Fellow in the History of Migration at the German Historical Institute West and Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute of European Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. In 2019-2020, he will be a Fellow at the Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan. As an early career scholar who has published in several peer reviewed journals and also as the managing editor for the journals American Jewish History and East European Jewish Affairs and project manager for the digital humanities consortium the Digital Yiddish Theatre Project, he will speak about the advantages and disadvantages of academic publishing at the graduate and early career stages from the perspective of both an author and as part of an editorial team.

Jessica Kirzane is the Lecturer in Yiddish at the University of Chicago and the Editor-in-Chief of In geveb: A Journal of Yiddish Studies. As the editor of a journal with multiple components (peer reviewed journal, blog, translations, pedagogical materials), some of which involve contributors outside academia, she will discuss the variety of audiences for and genres of academic writing as they relate to the needs, experiences, and expertise of graduate students and contingent scholars. She will also discuss the journal's efforts to employ, and pay, editors who are contingent scholars or graduate students.

David N. Myers is the Sady and Ludwig Kahn Professor of Jewish History at UCLA, where he also serves as the director of the UCLA Luskin Center for History and Policy. Myers serves as President of the New Israel Fund. He served as President/CEO of the Center for Jewish History in New York during 2017-18. From 2010-15, Myers served as the Robert N. Burr Chair of the UCLA History Department. He has served as co-editor of the Jewish Quarterly Review since 2003.

Sarah Shectman is a scholar and editor living in San Francisco. She is the managing editor of Jewish Social Studies, in addition to working as a freelance editor of academic works, mainly in the area of Hebrew Bible and the ancient Near East. Based on her own experience as an independent academic who has continued to publish and participate professionally, she will discuss the challenges and the advantages of being involved in the production side of academic publishing for those scholars not on the academic/tenure track and how such work can be balanced with doing one’s own academic research and writing.

Robin Judd is a member of the History Department at the Ohio State University, where she also serves as an associate member of the Melton Center for Jewish Studies, the Women’s/Gender/Sexuality Studies Department, and the Center for the Study of Religion. Judd is the author of Contested Rituals: Circumcision, Kosher Butchering, and German-Jewish Political Life in Germany, 1843-1933 (Cornell University Press) and a number of articles concerning Jewish history, gender history, and ritual behavior. She currently serves as Vice President of Publications of the Association for Jewish Studies.

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