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EASR 2019 Publishing Panel

This panel, recorded at the EASR conference 2019 at the University of Tartu, is intended for PhD students and early career scholars who want to learn more about the publishing world. We encourage listeners to watch the video version of this week’s episode on YouTube, which has timestamps in the video description for the different questions answered by these experienced editors and publishers in their hour-long discussion.

On the panel chaired by Suzanne Owen were Michael Stausberg, Gregory D. Alles, Joshua Wells, Valerie Hall, Jenny Butler, and James White.

This event was organized by the Estonian Society for the Study of Religions and University of Tartu in cooperation with Religious Studies Project, and was supported by the European Regional Developmental Fund (through Enterprise Estonia). We thank them for their generous help to produce this resource.

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EASR Publishing Roundtable 2019

Podcast with Michael Stausberg, Gregory D. Alles, Joshua Wells, Valerie Hall, Jenny Butler, James White and Suzanne Owen (28 October 2019).

Transcribed by Helen Bradstock.

Audio and transcript available at: https://www.religiousstudiesproject.com/podcast/easr-publishing-roundtable-2019/

PDF version of the transcript available here.

Suzanne Owen (SO): Welcome, this evening, to the panel on how to get published – particularly in the Study of Religion – at the European Association for the Study of Religion in Tartu, Estonia. And we have here people that represent different areas of publication and career. So my furthest is Michael Stausberg, and he is editing a journal and he will talk about that in a minute; and also we have James White, who is at the University here, so a local; and Greg Alles who’s also an editor of a series and journal; and we have Jenny Butler, considered early career – but has also ready done so much; and Valerie Hall, from Equinox publishers; and Joshua Wells, from the Routledge Publishers. And we want to have each of them introduce themselves in turn, and what they work on, and then we can start the discussion. So, let’s start with you, Michael.

Michael Stausberg (MS): What we work on? What do you mean?

SO: What you edit, and your experiences.

MS: Right, ok. Yes. Well, thanks for showing up! It’s a bit weird to sit down here and be kind-of at your service. And I have been one of the two editors of a journal called Religion since 2008. My co-editor is the Canadian, Steven Engler. And Religion started around 50 years back . . . 49, basically. Greg was on the editorial board for decades, I suppose!

Gregory Alles (GA): Until you kicked me off!

MS: Right! (Laughs). And so the journal is published with Routledge since 2012, I believe. It had a series of publishers in between. And I also co-edit two book series. One called Religion and Reason for Walter de Gruyter and one called Critical Studies in Religion which is a bilingual series published by (a German publisher). I think that should suffice for the moment.

James White (JWh): Hello. So I’m James White. As our chair introduced me, I do work here at the University of Tartu as a research fellow. But actually, most of my career for the last three to four years has been spent at the Ural Federal University in Ekaterinburg, Russia. I’m a young scholar, at the beginning of my career – as that story wold suggest. I’ve probably published, in the last four – five years, about ten articles in both English language journals and Russian language journals. I do have some experience on the other side of the coin, because I’m actually the English Language Editor of (Russian name) which is the Journal of Russian Studies for Ural Federal University, currently on both Scopus and Web of Science. So I do have both the experience of a young, junior academic publishing, but also being on the editorial side of things. So, thank you very much.

GA: I’m Greg Alles. I wish I could say I’m at the beginning of my career. It would be nice to be a young scholar again. But of course I’m not. I’ve been co-editing Numen almost as long as Michael has been co-editing Religion. I started that in 2010 first with Olav Hammer and now with Laura Feldt. I was also, as Michael mentioned, on the editorial board of Religion for a long time. I think I started that in ’94. And MTSRMethod and Theory in the Study of Religion – I think in ’96. Eventually they get tired of you being on the editorial board and rotate you off, right? Which is a good thing. And so maybe that’s enough to say.

Jenny Butler (JB): I’m Jenny Butler and I’m based in the Department of Study of Religions at University College, Cork. I’m the secretary of the Irish Society for the Academic Study of Religions. I’ve also been on a number of editorial boards. And I’ve guest edited some peer-reviewed journal volumes. And I published early on as a PhD student. I think that’s what I’m here to speak about.

Valerie Hall (VH): Hi. I’m Valerie Hall (5:00). I work for Equinox publishing. I’ve worked there since 2004, which was the beginning of the company, and previously worked at Continuum. And I do the marketing for the books and journals. But I also do some editorial work on the book side.

Joshua Wells (JW): Good evening. My name is Josh Wells. I work for Routledge, and I’m one of two Religion editors at Routledge so my colleague, Rebecca Shillabeer does books for undergrads – so pedagogical stuff, textbooks – and my focus is on research-level books in Religious Studies – so monographs and edited collections.

SO: And I should introduce myself as chair of this panel. I’m Suzanne Owen, based at Leeds Trinity University in the UK. I am also editor for the British Association for the Study of Religions, and on editorial boards as well. So we will open to discussion very soon. But I thought, maybe to start with: how did you first get something published? And just say, for the editors or the publishers, what was your first going out to find something to publish? How did that work? How did you go about that? So Michael – sorry I mispronounced your name earlier. How did you first get published, and in what?

MS: Good question. I think I started with book reviews. And I think my first proper article was published in a Scandinavian journal and at that time it was a Danish, Norwegian co-production. And that was based on a conference paper I gave. If that’s sufficient.

SO: Yes.

JWh: Thank you. My first publications. Well, I have to echo the comments of Michael, that my first serious publications were book reviews. I think, good training for later. But my first serious couple of publications . . . the first one I did was an article which was translated to Russian for the journal for which I now work. I didn’t work for it when it was published. I was asked by a colleague of mine, who was one of the only other people who specialises in the same subjects as I specialise in – because I chose an entirely irrelevant subject for my PhD Thesis! But my first, if you want to describe it in this way, major peer-reviewed English publication was for the Canadian Journal of Russian History. And of course it was an entirely different process with full peer-review, entirely different checks and balances that one had to tick off than publishing in the Russian journal, which was much more informal, and where the peer review team was internal and tended to be far less exacting. So that was my dual experience of publishing.

GA: I don’t really recall, to be honest with you. I don’t remember what the first publication was. I’d have to look at the CV and find out which came out first. No I don’t have it. It’s not there. I worked as an editorial assistant for a history of religions journal when I was a graduate student, so I kind-of knew the process. I knew what to do, right? I don’t know that my first article came out in HR but as a grad student I also co-wrote several things with Joseph Kitagawa and did some work with (audio unclear) who’s a specialist. And so I sort-of got into the business that way, right? So that’s another way that you can do that, is to co-write with your senior supervisors and so on.

JB: As far as I recall, the first publication was in a peer review journal called Cosmos produced by the Traditional Cosmology Society. And that was on the neopagan ritual year and gender. And it was a special issue of the journal that came out in 2002. Well it was dated 2002, but I think it had actually been backdated. So my first publication would have been . . . I think the first one was a book chapter in a book called Communicating in Cultures that was edited by (audio unclear). And it was published by Lit Verlag. You’ll have to excuse me because I have a cold and I’m trying not to cough. (10:00) (Laughs).

VW: Thanks. I can’t remember exactly the first one. But because I go to a lot of conferences – because I do the marketing at the academic conferences – my involvement with commissioning tends to be in talking to people at the conferences, where they can see the kind of books that we publish and approach us with proposals. So that’s kind-of one of the main reasons why I go to conferences like this. And that is how I’m involved in commissioning.

JW: So it’s also a while since I commissioned my first book. So I actually commissioned my first book as an editorial assistant. Before I was an editor. One thing I neglected to mention in my introduction is that I’ve been working at Routledge now for nearly ten years, but I’ve only been on the Religion list for three and a half years. And that’s, maybe, something to bear in mind when you’re preparing your proposal: that not every commissioning editor actually has their academic background in the subject that their commissioning in. So my academic background is in literature, and I commissioned my first book in Sports Science. So it was the absolutely vital tome The Science of Equestrian Sports. That was my first ever book. And similarly I happen to be attending a conference, and I met an academic there who wanted to publish. And the editor that was looking after me said, “Well, as you’ve made the contact, as a development opportunity you can see the book through the process.” So I was supervised in doing that.

Question 1: I’m Jason, a PhD student at the University of Tartu. My question is, is there a usual amount of time between a submission of an article and the decision on whether to publish it, and then the actual publication? Because I heard that a couple of journals, it takes them one to two years. So I’m just wondering what kind of range there is.

SO: We can start with the two at the end. James?

JWh: Yes. My experience – I mean I assume we’re talking about English language journals here? My experience has been, yes, a one-and-a-half to two years process. It can depend, as far as I’ve seen, basically on where you submit the article in terms of its content and the match between the content and the journal. So, for instance, I submitted a Russian history article to a general European History journal not very long ago. It took them a very long time to find peer reviewers, simply because they did not have, in their contact lists, specialists on Russian History. So it was . . . for what I regard as being a rather second rank publication, it took an extremely long time. But generally, yes. One-and-a-half to two years has been my experience.

GA: There are a lot of practical problems involved. And a lot of practical issues. On the one side, it’s a matter of getting something reviewed. And that’s often – I don’t know what your experience is like Michael, or yours is like, James – but that’s often outside of our control. Sometimes you get a peer review in within a week and it’s very positive, and then you’re waiting months and months. Somebody’s agreed to review it. They don’t respond, they don’t respond, they don’t respond.You nag, you nag, you nag, right? And that’s a frustrating experience. That’s on one hand. The other hand is in terms of how much copy you have in the pipeline. For a while, when Olav and I were editing Numen, we were both saying “Look, you’re e a new career scholar. You’re a junior scholar. We’ve got a backlog. We can’t publish anything that you give us until 2019.” So I recommended several people to go to other places because they needed to get published more quickly, right? That strategy also backfires because word gets out, “Oh, you got a backlog. It’s going to take a while”, and people stop sending you stuff, right? So, you’ve got to be careful about that. But you’ve got those two factors. And you want to be fair. I mean, if somebody’s got an article accepted they’re in line first. So you have to sort-of do that. It’s hard to say, exactly. It’s hard to predict exactly how long it’s going to take. And you can always ask the editor. If I think you need a publication out sooner than I can get it out, I’ll tell you. “This looks good, but you need to go someplace else, because you need to have that out.”

MS: Now I can only speak for Religion, and we do publish these figures roughly every other year in editorials where we list our referees (15:00). There we give the statistics about the time. Usually with Religion, and of course we are subject to the same factors as mentioned by Greg. It takes three months per decision step. So that means that usually we are able to provide a first decision after three months. But a first decision is very rarely to accept as is. That almost never happens. So then comes the second. And then you are, again, in this three month loop, right? So I think where much time is actually being lost, if you might say it like this, in this process where it adds up to these horrendously sounding figures like a year or two. It’s actually that when the authors get their review back they have other things to do. So they don’t do it right away sit down and revise and rewrite their articles. But then they get to it a couple of months later. And then they take their time. So sometimes we do not get a second version back until after a year. So that means, when you then, again, go for a the three months, and then maybe you have another round, and again you get it back after six months or so, then you end up with two years. But it has been with the journal only for twice three months. So you have to add the authors’ speed to revise. And then you see different attitudes. Some authors try to cut it short by just doing superficial revisions – kind-of doing some sort-of lip service to what is required – while others basically rewrite their papers. And that, of course, takes much more time, but might be a more rewarding exercise. Because then, of course, if you do just superficial revisions the chances are high that you’ll get it back again, that referees aren’t happy yet. So then, of course, you can complain that it takes so much time, but it’s also the authors who are involved here as the crucial factor. And now I agree that not all referees read the articles in the most sympathetic ways. But this is also their job as it were. The point is that as authors we are . . . I mean, we are not just editors we are also authors. So we are also subject to the same process. So we find ourselves misunderstood: “Why doesn’t the referee get it, what I’m trying to say?!” Now you might say, as a conspiracy theorist, that “They don’t want me published at all!” or “They’re stupid!”, or “They are malevolent”, or . . . what do I know? But the point is often, really, what seems very clear to us, when we write, isn’t very clear to others who read. So we then really have to take that to heart. I mean these people did a job; they did read the thing. And then, as authors, we should also actually . . . . It’s the referees’ duty to give us a favourable reading, but it’s also our duty to give the referees’ report a favourable reading. And that means that one really takes that seriously.

GA: I disagree just a little bit. I don’t think it’s the referees’ duty to give you a favourable reading,

MS: But a fair reading.

GA: A fair reading, yeah. A fair reading and an honest reading. And I think the worst thing you can do as an author is not take a referee’s report seriously. Take it seriously and revise. Probably the thing you don’t want is a quick decision. If I give you a decision in two weeks, three weeks . . .

MS: It’s not good! (Laughs).

GA: It probably means that I decided within twenty four hours that this was not really something that we really wanted. But I didn’t want you to feel too badly, so I’m going to hold onto it for two or three weeks and then give you a statement saying this is not for us, right? And maybe give you some indications. So the process is there to ensure that your work is the best work possible for this particular journal, and for your sake as well. So participate in the process and take it seriously.

SO: I would like to add, I guess . . . . Would you say, generally, to expect some revision? Yes, so in my experience too, I think, you expect some revision. (20:00) We can move onto another question here.

MS: Excuse me, may I just add one more comment? Please don’t resend an unrevised article to a different journal. We see this happening all the time: that articles that have been rejected here and there appear exactly in the same form on other editors’ desks. And this isn’t really a good way to make use of the resources that go into the peer review process. On the one hand. On the other hand be aware that our field is a collection of niches. The pool of potential referees is fairly restricted, so the chances are very high that you’ll run into the same referees everywhere. And we are getting these messages all the time, Greg don’t we? “You know, I have seen this paper before for a different journal.” And if you as an editor with a good conscience can say, “You know, you might have read it, but it’s now a very different paper”, then it might work. But it rarely is.

Question 2: My name is (audio unclear). I’m from the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia and my question is mostly directed towards the monograph side of publishing. So, very roughly, is it better to approach a series editor or the editor for the topic of religion in general? If there’s a particular series at a publishing house that fits what the monograph would be about, which way would be better to go? Thank you.

JW: So the answer to that, predictably, is that you can sort-of do both. And which would I recommend? Probably if you already have had some contact with the series editor and maybe you at least know each other by name, or have been at the same conference, it might be quite useful to approach them in the first place, because they’ll be able to give you a bit of advice on how to put the proposal together in a way that’s going to appeal to an editor like me. However, having said that, most editors like me are generally pretty friendly and looking for ideas. So actually, if you approached us with an idea we would give you guidelines and say, “This is how to submit proposals. These are the sort of things we’re looking for.” Maybe the only sort-of advantage of coming to an editor first is that obviously, if you go to a series editor, you might be limiting yourself to that series. And it might be, actually, that the editor says, “Well, actually I think there might be another series that it fits in a little bit better.” So, obviously, we’ve got a wider view of our publishing output. And so rather than have the slightly awkward situation where you’ve got to extricate yourself from a series, you might want to approach an editor first. So I think if you’re very clear on which your proposal is for and it’s definitely going to fit that series, and you’ve got a professional relationship with the series editors, I think it’s absolutely not inappropriate at all to approach them. But it would be absolutely fine to approach the publishing editor as well. Because we’ll have a conversation anyway. So whether it comes in via them or comes in via me, we’ll always share that proposal and discuss it first.

SO: I think Michael Stausberg would like to answer this, too.

MS: I think, as a series editor, of course I would like you to contact me! Because I mean usually, as series editors, you have a clear understanding of what kind of things you want to have in your series. And the publishers might not always kind-of have the same clarity in vision for a series. And even as a series editor of course you might say, you know, “May be you might want to take it to this series?” So we do not just say usually “We don’t fit.” But we might also suggest other alternative series. And please bear in mind that the national publication landscapes are very different. So when you work with the British press they usually operate very differently from the German press, for example. Or an Italian one. So there are very big national differences in terms of how to proceed with proposals or, for example, British presses or Anglo presses are more averse to publishing PhD theses as they are (25:00). Whereas this is quite normal in Germany, for example, where they would require only minor revisions and not a complete rewrite of your work. So be aware that the publishing requirements, and strategies, and procedures, and timelines, etc. are very different according to which country you go to. And previously, that was kind-of not really for you to worry about, because if you wanted to publish in English you had to go to an Anglo publisher anyway. But now since also German or Italian publishers, or French ones even, publish in English you as an author also have much more choice to draw benefits from this relatively non-homogeneous publishing landscape.

SO: I’d actually like to take that kind-of question to Jenny and James about your experience of proposing for book-length projects?

JB: I think part of it is knowing your own field. If it’s quite a niche area or . . . I work in New Religious Movements. So in locating a list and a particular publisher I educated myself on where it would best fit. I looked at what had already been published, and also looked at a series. So in terms of marketing a monograph, it’s usually good to be in a series. So to take those kinds of things into account as well.

SO: You often have to cite this in your proposal as well – your own research, into the field that you’re publishing in. You have to know it a bit.

Question 3: I’m Anya, I did my PhD at Cambridge which I recently finished, and I’ve started post-doc-ing there, as well. I have a brief question about inter-disciplinarity. I know that Religious Studies is its own thing, but many people approach it as a subject from other fields. And I was wondering if you have any suggestions for scholars who are outside of the core area of research who would like to publish within Religious Studies?

MS: Well I think Religion has a very long tradition of trying to absorb work from scholars outside of Religious Studies. And so if you ask, “Does one get in, not being part of the tribe?” I’d say this isn’t really an issue, is it? But I think, actually, when you look at open access, there are quite a number of interdisciplinary journals that are leading. And my impression is that the disciplinary journals, they have a long history and they are quite established. And sometimes new ones come up, and new publishers want to start publishing journals etc. But basically they’re . . . the dyes are cast. And as long as these journals aren’t run by an association that uses membership fees to sponsor journals that might feed into open access. I think the traditional journals are not really at the forefront of this, but in the interdisciplinary fields that is very different. Because they aren’t kind-of part of these disciplinary power structures. So I think, on the inter-disciplinary field, the open access landscape is much more vibrant. And this might actually be a very interesting option for scholars to get published also more . . . and get a wider reading. Because you are in the open access landscape.

GA: I think it’s really important point that you raise. But not quite the way you raise it. I don’t think Numen would reject an article simply because you don’t belong to the tribe. Because we don’t actually know what tribe you belong to, in one sense. But I think what you really need to do, when you submit an article to a journal, is know what its editorial range is, what its agenda is, what its scope is. Because sometimes I get articles and it’s like, “Well, this would be a great article for a journal specifically devoted to a particular topic.” (30:00) But we’re trying to reach a more general readership of all scholars of religions. So if it’s too narrowly focussed then it’s not right for us. But that does not mean it’s not right for someplace else. And there are other ways that you can be out of scope as well. So have a sense for what the editorial policy of the journal is, what the journal is trying to accomplish, the kinds of article that they published in the past. It’s no guarantee that they’re not going to go out of that range. In Numen we’ve got a habit of publishing a lot of philologically very heavy material, but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to publish something that’s not philologically heavy .I would welcome things that aren’t philologically heavy. So if you have something that isn’t philologically heavy, think about our journal. But I think that’s what you need to do. Figure out what’s the editorial . . . what’s the journal trying to do editorially, and submit to them. You can always contact the editor, and the editor will let you know.

Question 4: My name is John, and I would like to ask a question on: how do we meet the challenges of the twenty-first century? I mean, do people still read the paper journals? The general public, not scientists, not limited . . .? I mean, I notice that my grandfather reads, but I don’t know what my children will be reading. Because the contemporary generation is only on the internet, not in the books any more. How do we, as scientists, meet this change and reach this audience, the general public?

SO: I know that Valerie Hall, at Equinox…

VH: Our journals are on-line, and definitely the print is going way down. So the preference is for on-line journals now, really. I mean, we have one journal which is only on-line. And I can see that others might potentially go that way. Or the other thing we’re thinking about doing is perhaps having just one print volume at the end of each year, with all of the issues in it, rather than sending out individual issues throughout the year. So it’s definitely moving towards on-line for sure, I think.

JW: I’ll add to that that again, books are slightly different. We would sort-of find at Routledge that the increase in the share of where our revenue comes from is getting more and more from electronic, but not as quickly as you might think. So it was a very fast increase and then it’s actually tended to plateau a bit. Do I think the technological changes are coming? Yes. But I think they’re actually not in every area of academia. I don’t think they’re going as quickly as people suspect they might. Because they’re still . . . some people still just prefer printed stuff, for all sorts of reasons. But I think all publishers are definitely having to react to people expecting . . . . The thing about making your content electronic is that it’s just much easier to find, in the great sea of information. So adding discoverability tools. And I think a lot of publishers are looking at how they can organise their content, how they can deliver their content in a way that you can find it, simply and easily, by typing in a couple of key search words. So I think that’s probably going to be one of the key challenges going forwards. It might still be in print but it’ll have to probably be print and electronic at all times so people can find stuff – and they might buy the print anyway, after that.

SO: And I don’t doubt, briefly, Joshua and Valerie, that you are now advising the future of publishing as publishers. And maybe either warning, or preparing authors, or changing things? So what would you say that you think is developing, that we need to know about perhaps?

VH: I’d have to think about that!

SO: I mean in terms of the commercial aspect, I guess that’s always a priority.

JW: OK. So, for many of us, governmental educational budgets, and maybe individual institutional library budgets have tended to shrink. (35:00)You know, it was the case that libraries would buy books just on the off-chance they might need them. But now, many of them have electronic systems where, basically, if enough people request it then they automatically order a copy. So that is obviously better for libraries, because they’re only buying what people want, and what people use. And that’s absolutely fair enough. But publishers are going to have to react to that by, it’s not just enough to be in the general field and probably someone will pick it up. Actually it’s got to be useful to somebody. So I would think, if you’re thinking about putting your proposal together, quite a lot of that proposal should be explaining to me, as an editor who’s going to read it, why is it useful? How does it fit into the general academic conversation that’s going on in your field? Because we are having to be more and more judicious about what we put through. Because things that are being bought are things that people are actively requesting to use – increasingly, anyway.

VH: Yes, I would definitely agree with that. I mean one of the things we are trying to do is publish more textbooks, and less monographs, probably. Sorry, fewer monographs. But yes. It’s definitely true about the libraries and it’s a customer-demand-driven acquisitions model now. So definitely e-books are increasing and print books are decreasing, in terms of sales, I would say. And also library packages are something we’re really pushing at the moment. So we have subject packages with journals and books, just journals, just books – libraries can choose which titles they want to have. You can have front lists, back lists, it’s basically bespoke packages for different libraries. So that’s kind-of where it’s going for us really, at the moment.

SO: And do people want to talk a little bit about what the process of reviewing is? You’ve indicated Greg, a little bit about the process, about where it goes to, and the stages. And is there anything more to add to that?

GA: What do you have in mind, specifically?

SO: With the journals, in general. Do they all follow the same pattern, do you think? Do they all have a checklist? And they all have two reviewers?

GA: I think the protocol these days has become two blind reviewers. If the reviewers disagree then I always try and get a third person, unless it’s something that I know about. And then I also try and assess, do I think the reviewer’s been fair? Or do I think the reviewer’s done a decent job? Some reviewers are very, very thorough. Some reviewers aren’t very thorough. Sometimes you can see personal animosity in the review, and you try and allow for that. And, as James said, you try and give the author some directions. I had cases where I’ve written to the author and I’ve said “This reviewer is just really a nasty person. Don’t take it personally. I disagree with . . . . There are things here that are worth considering, but don’t take it personally”, right?

SO: I have to say the first time I had something published was based off of a conference paper, because I was invited to submit the finished article. But it was still liable for revision or rejection. But that was my foot in. And I think that’s why presenting at conferences is also . . . . Because there’s lots of editors roaming around who might be looking for articles, as well. But obviously it depends. Some of these journals have this backlog. It maybe that you’re not hunting them out, but there’s probably lots of other journals who are actually looking for papers.

VH: Yes, we often publish papers with thematic issues, special issues, which come from conferences. So that would just be papers from a particular conference and that’s very successful. Sometimes they become book volumes as well, afterwards.

SO: Do you want to comment on that?

GA: I know Brill likes to have special issues for Numen, because they think that the different articles are going to feed off of each other. So if you’ve got a whole set of articles… like we had an issue on “Religion and Terrorism” that Jim Lewis edited. Mark Jeurgensmeyer was in there, Lorne Dawson was in there, and so on. And you know, that then attracts attention. Because it has higher visibility. So another thing to think about in terms of getting yourself published is not just to submit individual articles but try and get a group of people together to work on the same topic and then submit a whole block. (40:00) And that’s often received much more favourably.

SO: Yes. To propose a group of papers in a theme, or particular problem that you are addressing, together. Yes.

MS: If I just may comment on the backlog. There are different procedures, of course, among the journals. So for example with Religion, we first publish digital and then eventually it comes in an issue. But there can be a year, or one-and-a-half years, between these two dates. Whereas other journals . . . I think Numen still doesn’t have that. So then you are kind-of more dependent on when the next slot is free. But let me just add this. I think we do have very many journals out there. And the publishers, apparently, are eager to put out more journals because it gives kind-of payment up front if you have subscribers. So it’s apparently a lucrative strategy. And the field is an ecology, or a market, where all the time new players want to come in. And the question is are they sustainable? Is the thematic range too small or, I don’t know, or key actors disappear or shift their interest. But in general there are very many journals in the field. And in that sense, really, it shouldn’t be impossible to be published. It’s rather the contrary. The contrary fact is that there are very few good, or very good, articles out there. If you get them to us, we’d be delighted. So I think we can just say that. You get many articles, but the ones that really kind-of make a point, argue solidly, give a clean argument, have good documentation, make some contribution, are well-written and somehow relevant, are not that many. So I just wrote that down. I wanted to get that across. So on the one hand there aren’t that many good, or very good, or even shining articles out there. On the other hand, there are many journals. So don’t be kind-of discouraged. Try to seek journals that fit your articles. Don’t necessarily go to a generalist journal. If you have something that, for example, specifically deals with fieldwork then there is a particular journal on fieldwork in religion, which maybe isn’t of interest for a generalist journal. So try to screen the journal landscape and you’d be surprised how many journals there are. They are all craving for content, right? And that is basically… yeah. You want to add something?

GA: (Laughter) What I would say, coming to this . . . and I was thinking, there are plenty of opportunities out there. All you have to do to get published is have something important to say, and say it well, right? Have something important to say, and say it well. And then find somebody who wants to hear it. And you know, be really self-critical. But then also write, and write, and write. Human beings and human brains did not evolve to write, we’ve evolved to speak, right? Writing is a skill, writing is an art. It takes practice. But the more you do it, the easier it gets. And sometimes you may think you have a great article. Be critical. I mean you can write an article and then look at it: “I’ll bin this. This is garbage! Why did I write this?” Because you just don’t like it any more. But then, turn to something else and move on from there. But if you have something important to say, and you can say it well, somebody will publish it.

SO: We got to you in the middle, I think. You haven’t asked a question yet.

Question 5: I’m Monica, from SOAS. And I’m doing my PhD there now. And I would like to know how you deal with the different scenarios of knowledge production between the Global North and the Global South. So at the moment, your articles have to be paid for and a lot of people are being excluded, right, from accessing the knowledge and being part of the system of knowledge production? And, as somebody who is working in the Global South, I really would like to have my work being accessible to the people I’m working with. So now I’m facing this moral dilemma. On the one side, that is there, but on the other side I also would like to pursue a career in academia. So do you see any solutions to this, or any suggestions on this please?

SO: I’m thinking Greg Alles?

GA: Yes this is . . . I think that’s a really, really important question. And it doesn’t just involve publication, but it involves the entire academy. I think there’s . . . . It’s probably, maybe, a question that’s under people’s radars, right? But it’s still there. It becomes a real problem because scholarly conventions differ from one place to the next, to the next, to the next, right? And it’s not always easy for reviewers, for editors to . . . . I try and see, try and discern where people are coming from and see potential, and see whether they can be made into something that’s worthwhile, and try and give advice in that way. During my time at Numen, I’ve really wanted to bring in authors from different parts of the world. We don’t get much submitted from the Global South – I wish we did. You know, we don’t get much submitted from Asia. There are certain problems there in terms of linguistic facility, also certain problems in terms of the audience that people want to address. This is only tangentially related to what you asked. But one thing that’s been really frustrating for me . . . . But I understand where it’s coming from, because I’ve written in German. I can talk in German but my written German isn’t great, right? English, if you’re writing in English, or German, or French, whatever language you’re writing in, if it’s not your native language there are certain kinds of errors that people tend to make. And those, unless you learn the language at age five age six . . . . I think it was this room I heard a woman do a talk on language learning by adults, versus language learning by kids. And there are certain kinds of mistakes that adults are just going to make routinely, simply because of the way they learned languages, right? And as an editor, I’ve spent a lot . . . . When I first started with Numen, we didn’t have a copy editor and I spent a lot of time revising articles sentence by sentence, by sentence, by sentence – just reworking the English language. And that’s frustrating. And so it would be in your best interest, if English isn’t your first language – or German, French, whatever it is – to have someone read over the language and improve the language, so that it looks as good as possible when it’s submitted. Because it could be very interesting. But if it’s going to cost me a hundred hours of time to put it in a readable fashion, I’m going to think three times before I accept it. And, you know, I’ve spent way too much time revising people’s English. I’m happy to do it, but after a while one just says, “Enough is enough”. So keep that in mind. Because a lot of people here . . . .

SO: Make it easy for them.

GA: Make it easy for us. If you’re submitting an article in English, and I guess most people are. We’re supposed to publish in German and French, but we haven’t done it for years. If you’re submitting an article in English, have a native speaker look it over so it reads well. Because otherwise, it’s just a real headache. And then you’re going to think twice about it. So keep that in mind. Also keep in mind the scholarly conventions where you’re trying to publish.

SO: And now you’re also talking about access to the Global South as well. Not just from the Global South to publishing, but access to the Global North.

Monica (M): Yes, and how I personally can find a balance between on the one side trying to pursue a career in the West, where I’m living . . . (50:00).

SO: In English language journals.

M: And at the same time having my writings accessible to the people whom I’m working with, so that I also get a very honest and critical feedback. So that the knowledge is not legitimised only from one side.

SO: As far as I know, if something’s in translation you can publish it independently, I mean through a different publisher.

JW: That would depend on your contract.

M: But with the indexing . . . . Then it’s not part of one of these journal titles.

SO: Yes. Do you have partners with other . . .? I don’t know if that’s the kind of question you’re looking at. But you want your people that you work with to be able to read it?

M: Yes. So for example, in the university . . . . In, say, a university in Saudi. I have studied there as well, and I have seen that so many of the journals are just not accessible because the universities do not have the subscriptions. So it just becomes very difficult. And there is a very one-sided knowledge which is legitimised from the West, even though we are talking about other areas.

SO: Just briefly, yes.

VH: The only thing I can say is that for some journals we do have preferential rates for some parts of the world, so it’s worth looking on the journal website. Some of them are much cheaper.

SO: Sure, James. Yes.

JW: Simply that, as maybe the only other person on the panel who works on a non-English speaking journal, a non-English language journal: for a start, to make our work accessible to my colleagues in Russian universities – and we publish from a Russian university – our journal is open access, and is devotedly open access. Despite offers from Elsevier last year, we have decided to remain open access, to provide access to our Russian colleagues. And I have to reflect and repeat the sentiments offered earlier, that basically, of course, I have many excellent Russian colleagues who wish to publish in Western journals, who wish to publish in English. And often the boundary . . . the problem isn’t language; they can write perfectly acceptable English with a few corrections here and there. It’s simply the academic Russian style and the English or Anglo academic style are almost . . . are extremely different. And when you’ve put this into . . . when a Russian has written an English article, it does look, you know, very different. And it sometimes won’t be accepted by an English or Anglo Academic journal precisely because the style is different. The Russians, they like their point-by-point argumentation rather than a narrative, for instance. I’m a historian, so in British historical journals in particular, we like a nice narrative, a nice story. We don’t like this point-by-point analytical argumentation.

SO: I just wanted to say that we haven’t actually talked about the pay-to-publish . . . which you might feel under pressure to do as a new scholar. And don’t do it. Try to find other ways first. But I would like to end, actually, with our final advice in maybe one sentence. I know Michael has a list. But if you can give some final advice about what you wish the people who approach you had in mind, or could do, before they approach you to submit an article?

MS: Let me say something more general, please. On the one hand, please don’t let yourself be irritated or discouraged by the fact that everybody else seems to be publishing much more than you do. This is, I think, something that we all think. “All the others are much more productive.” I mean set yourself a realistic goal: what can I achieve given my constraints? Don’t think of, I don’t know, seven pieces or articles when you have lots of teaching to do. Make clear what you can achieve, and don’t try to get kind-of distracted in all sorts of directions. And also, don’t try to overpublish. There is the tendency to think that if you have a publication list of twenty titles, you’ll get hired. If you only have three, you don’t. I think it doesn’t really work that well if you have ten articles that basically all say the same thing, (55:00) and quote the same sources. That will also, basically, at some point, be held against you by some committee. So, rather, try to do some really good pieces rather than do tons of things that are basically identical. And another thing is, I think there are two pitfalls. One is you can be a perfectionist and the other one you can be sloppy. And you should avoid both. If you are a perfectionist you will never end up publishing anything, because you will always be unhappy. So even if you are unhappy, spread the paper. Often people really like what you write, even though you don’t. So it helps you to kind-of get . . . it’s always good to get . . .

SO: Other perspectives.

MS: Not only to get the criticism, but also to get encouragement. But don’t be sloppy, either. I mean, really work on your writing. Get your argument across, and don’t try to take short cuts. So I think it’s in between. It’s in between these two things. And one final thing: something we do very little still in Religious Studies, or the Study of Religions, or whatever you might call it, is co-author. We get very few articles that are co-authored. Don’t you also, Greg? And I’ve co-authored with a handful of people. And it’s always been a very rewarding process. And some of the things that we’ve been talking about here actually become then part of the set up: that you comment on each other’s pieces. And I think this will be, also. . . . And when you get the reports back, you aren’t kind-of alone in receiving the feedback. I think this is really a rewarding experience. And I think we are still doing this to far too little a degree.

SO: I think rather than everyone answer, if somebody has something to add to that, that’s different? Greg, do you have something different to add to that? Or Valerie?

JWh: I’m just going to add, from my perspective as a young career scholar, in both the jobs I have now the attitude still is “publish or perish”. And you have to take that into account, as you’re publishing. As much as we would like to take all the time in the world to perfect and get our articles right, there is always going to be pressure on you from grant bodies, from university bodies, to publish as much as possible. This can make it difficult, sometimes, to get the kind of quality that you would like. I know from my position, I have to publish a certain amount in a year. You are going to have to learn to deal with this, I think, most certainly, to try and balance these two things between quality and pressure. But the thing that I would emphasise – especially if you haven’t published an academic article yet, you haven’t published your book – is, it is a learning experience. Your experience of writing so far is a long form dissertation, or long form thesis, not a ten thousand word article. It takes time to perfect that. So if your first article that gets published doesn’t satisfy your desire for quality, well, over time you’ll get better at short form writing, I think. Over time you’ll be able to perfect short form writing. I’ve certainly found, comparing my first ten thousand word article to the last couple I’ve written is, personally, I’m more satisfied with how I write short form now. So that’s my only advice.

GA: Two pieces, actually. One: don’t get discouraged. I don’t know how you feel. Writing for me is a very personal thing. I sort-of bleed myself onto the page, in a way. And if you get somebody who’s criticising you, that could be taken very, very personally. It can be a very discouraging experience. Don’t let that happen. You have to have a certain amount of self- confidence. Everybody gets criticism. Everybody gets rejected. And you can’t let that stop you. So I think that’s a really, really important point about where the writer comes from. The second thing – and maybe we’ve gotten away from this a little bit – for a while, everything that was published was “ground-breaking”, was “brilliant”, was “paradigm-shifting”! (1:00:00) I just hate that inflated rhetoric! I’d rather people be honest about what the contribution is that their article is making, and their manuscript is making, and not say “This is changing the paradigm! It’s going to change the way people think for the next two hundred years!” Because that just isn’t going happen. In most cases it’s not going to happen. So, just be honest to yourself and be honest to the people you’re selling the material to, about what the contribution is.

JB: I’ll add a very general piece of advice. The “publish or perish” situation is true. But try not to think of it that way – or try not to focus on that. Try not to focus on what will get you hired, or what will be funded, because it’s important to have passion for what you do. Because you need that if you’re going to be an academic. You need to love what you do, what you research, and to be enthusiastic about it. And when you publish, it opens up other opportunities. And the academy is a community. And there are many positive outcomes, and all of the different aspects of academia are interconnected. So, for example, people tried to dissuade me from publishing on areas that really have nothing to do with my main area of research, things that I’m personally interested in. So I am interested in popular culture and film studies, which is not the area that I work in. So I published something on that many years ago, and now I’m in a position to merge that into Study of Religions, into what I’m mainly doing now. So you know, follow what you most want to do.

SO: I have two audiences as well, and two fields. So you know it’s ok to do that. Last advice?

VH: Yes, I don’t have a lot to add. Just the idea of collaboration is brilliant, I think, for book projects and journal articles as well. And if you’re not collaborating, just try and get as much feedback from other people as you possibly can, and make sure that the kind-of remit of the piece of writing is appropriate for the word length that you’re given, as well. I think that can be a problem sometimes.

SO: And lastly, Joshua?

JW: Yes, ok. So I think I would say, firstly, that as a publisher I want your book to be good – because I want to do good books. So don’t feel like you have to come to me cap in hand. It’s actually . . . if you’ve got a good idea and a good book, I want to hear about it. I think, secondly, just think about how you’re explaining that idea. So if you can try and come out of your involvement with it for a second and think about it . . . put yourself in my shoes. If you’ve just got this email through, how might you react to it? And just a very small practical thing, if you were emailing someone like me out of the blue. What I quite like in an email: introduce yourself, say what stage you’re at, maybe a paragraph or something just explaining the book and then say, “Does that sound interesting?” Because if you just send me your thesis and go “Do you want to publish it?”, very honestly, I don’t have time to sit and read your whole thesis. I’ve got hundreds of emails a day, hundreds of projects to look through a year. So, just a brief summary that I can get the general gist of it, and that’s going to make me much more likely to respond to you quickly. If you leave it quite vague, I’m going put that on the I’ll-get-to-that-in-a-bit pile. That’s just a bit of honesty. Brief, concise detail in your initial contact with me will probably go a long way.

SO: Well, I think we will end it here. And I’d like to thank our speakers here answering questions, and also all of you for coming, and staying this long, and asking questions. And so thank you very much, and enjoy the rest of the conference. And come and speak to the publishers!

 

 

If you spot any errors in this transcription, please let us know at editors@religiousstudiesproject.com. If you would be willing to help with transcribing our podcast archive, or know of any sources of funding for the transcription project, please get in touch. Thanks for reading.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- NonCommercial- NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. The views expressed in podcasts are the views of the individual contributors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of THE RELIGIOUS STUDIES PROJECT or the British Association for the Study of Religions.

EASR 2019 Publishing Panel (Classroom Edit)

This panel, recorded at the EASR conference 2019 at the University of Tartu, is intended for PhD students and early career scholars who want to learn more about the publishing world. We encourage listeners to watch the video version of this week’s episode on YouTube, which has timestamps in the video description for the different questions answered by these experienced editors and publishers in their hour-long discussion.   On the panel chaired by Suzanne Owen were Michael Stausberg, Gregory D. Alles, Joshua Wells, Valerie Hall, Jenny Butler, and James White.   This event was organized by the Estonian Society for the Study of Religions and University of Tartu in cooperation with Religious Studies Project, and was supported by the European Regional Developmental Fund (through Enterprise Estonia). We thank them for their generous help to produce this resource.    

You can download this interview, and subscribe to receive our weekly podcast, on iTunes. If you enjoyed it, please take a moment to rate us. And remember, you can use our Amazon.co.ukAmazon.com, or Amazon.ca links to support us at no additional cost when buying academic texts, sardines, popcorn, and more.   Original audio and transcript available at: https://www.religiousstudiesproject.com/podcast/easr-publishing-roundtable-2019/   PDF version of the transcript available here.  

Gender-as-Lived: Considerations in Ethnographic Methodology

virgin-mary-pics-1119

Virgin Mary

In the Religious Studies Project’s recent interview with Dr. Anna Fedele, Dr. Fedele and her interviewer discuss several aspects of interest related to the intersections of gender, religions, and power dynamics. Fedele’s book, Gender and Power in Contemporary Spirituality: Ethnographic Approaches (Routledge, 2013), is a collection of essays exploring the interaction of gender, gender norms, expressions of power, and those movements broadly identified as ‘spiritual’ or ‘spirituality’ (If you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, it is an excellent set of essays and well worth the read). Fedele’s current research involves Catholic women in Portugal and the idea of ‘spiritual motherhood.’ ‘Spiritual motherhood,’ in this context, means women who have chosen to be stay-at-home-mothers, breastfeed longer than the average, give birth at home, and/or practice attachment parenting. Fedele looks at not only the experiences of the women as mothers, but their experiences as daughters and granddaughters. Fedele observes that it is very important to understand a woman’s history to know how she conceptualizes gender and motherhood.

Early in the interview Fedele offers an answer to the not-so-simple question of ‘what is gender?’ Her answer is based in both her study of classical theories of gender as well as her extensive experience as an ethnographer: ‘gender’ is what the research participants believe it to be, rather than what the researcher believes it to be. Fedele states that in her research, she tries to understand what ‘gender’ means for the people she studies, especially what gendered images they have received from their mothers and grandmothers. This relates to religion as well, because the women receive a whole set of values from their mothers, and the Catholicism in which they grew up (and still live) tells them that the mother is the center of the family, the mother must always be there for the child, as well as other notions that may not reflect the lives of the women Fedele studies.

Fedele’s approach of being guided by the women she studies resonates strongly with my perspective on studying ‘religion(s).’ The identities claimed by the individual(s) or community being researched must be acknowledged and respected by the researcher, and communicated to the audience (reader, students in a seminar, etc.) along with the researcher’s perspective and conclusions. Fedele further emphasizes this point when she observes that an academic researcher must acknowledge the power issues present in a researcher-interviewee relationship: the academic doesn’t know everything, nor is the participant ignorant. Fedele provides an example from her recent research on women, motherhood, and gendered roles conveyed via religion. The women she interviews are highly educated, intelligent, and have read extensively on pregnancy and motherhood. They are then struggling to reconcile the message of the Catholic Church (that a pregnant woman is in a state of grace, and the ideals of motherhood exemplified by the Virgin Mary) with their lived reality of physical pain and illness, sexuality, and spurts of emotions such as anger or impatience.

Sandro Botticelli - 'The Virgin and the Child' (Madonna of the Book)

Sandro Botticelli – ‘The Virgin and the Child’ (Madonna of the Book)

Fedele also cautions that scholars have an awareness of their own assumptions about the research topic. Some of Fedele’s colleagues had made a couple of highly inaccurate assumptions regarding the Portuguese women in Fedele’s study (for instance, the idea that because the women identify as religious they therefore follow all of the dictates of the Catholic Church, especially regarding abortion); the women must be anti-abortion because they value motherhood so highly, or so the assumption went. But Fedele’s research shows a much more nuanced, complicated picture: the women are not uniformly anti-abortion, owing to a distinct contrast between their Catholic upbringing, which taught that abortion is wrong, and what the women feel in their bodies and the agency they claim.

Later in the interview, Fedele emphasizes that it is crucial for scholars to have an awareness of how the religion is lived, in reality, by the people being studied. She further states that religion only exists in the lives of people and that while religion in texts can be studied, it is not alive. For example, in practice this means that she looks at living women and their stories, and shares her writing with them. She keeps an open mind regarding what they tell her and is careful to use non-judgmental language. Fedele notes that the women aren’t always interested in Fedele’s conclusions – some just read sections about themselves for accuracy or to make sure they aren’t identifiable – but some engage with the research as a whole.

These are valuable lessons for scholars of not only religion and gender, but are more broadly applicable to all scholars of religion. Whether a scholar is studying a living community, as Fedele does, or researching a text, we must be aware of the assumptions we carry with us as scholars. A person living a religion may appear different than a text would lead the researcher to believe and living communities of the same religion will differ based on location. (A point also noted by Jeff Wilson in his 2012 book, Dixie Dharma.) Fedele also leaves the listener contemplating a thorny problem related to the study of religion-as-lived (her preferred phrasing instead of ‘lived religion’): Fedele’s in-depth, ethnographic research is at odds with the pressure within departments for faculty to expediently finish research so that it can be published quickly. This hurried model of research and publication – and the constraints on conducting ethnographic research while teaching – is ultimately detrimental to the field. The trust between scholar and participant cannot be rushed or forced because the scholar is on a deadline. What valuable insights is the field missing by making it difficult for scholars to perform extensive studies on living communities?

References

Fedele, Anna and Kim E. Knibbe, eds. Gender and Power in Contemporary Spirituality: Ethnographic Approaches. Routledge Studies in Religion Series. New York & London: Routledge, 2013.

Fedele, Anna. Looking for Mary Magdalene: Alternative Pilgrimage and Ritual Creativity at Catholic Shrines in France. New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.

Wilson, Jeff. Dixie Dharma: Inside a Buddhist Temple in the American South. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2012. (Paperback released in 2014)

Belief, Belonging, and Academic Careers

Almost twenty years ago, Grace Davie observed that despite plenty of studies into the ‘exotic edges’ of religion, ‘the picture in the middle remains remarkably blurred’. Seeking to address this imbalance and engage with the ‘beliefs of ordinary British people in everyday life’, Abby Day‘s recent book, Believing in Belonging (the first topic for this interview), builds upon her doctoral and later postdoctoral fieldwork, beginning within small communities in Yorkshire, and extending to a number of modern industrialised nations.

in this interview with Chris, recorded at the 2013 BSA Sociology of Religion Study Group Conference at Durham University, Day introduces listeners to the concept of ‘belief’ and sets out her own inductive approach, using semi-structured interviews, whereby definitions were allowed to arise from the field. Her central thesis acts as a focal point for a wide-ranging and insightful discussion on a variety of topics from nationalism and secularisation, to the usefulness of censuses as tools for measuring ‘religion’, to gender and belief in destiny. These themes are also picked up and developed in a recent volume published by Ashgate – Social Identities Between the Sacred and the Secular – which was co-edited by Abby, Chris, and Giselle Vincett.

Wearing one of her other hats, Abby also presents regularly on how to build an academic career, win research funding, and get articles published, and has published the books academic publishing and building an academic career.

You can also download this interview, and subscribe to receive our weekly podcast, on iTunes. If you enjoyed it, please take a moment to rate us. And remember, you can use our Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com links to support us at no additional cost when buying your important books etc.

Academic Publishing Roundtable

Publish, or be damned! But the world of publishing can be esoteric, especially the cloistered world of academic publishing. In this special roundtable discussion, recorded during the Australian Association for the Study of Religion annual conference last year, Zoe Alderton leads a group of academics with experience of all levels of academic publishing in a discussion which aims to demystify the process.

George, Zoe and Carole begin by talking about editing special themed Issues of academic journals. They talk about networking – that you have to make yourself available, but you have to put the work in when it’s needed. Alex then describes how a larger edited book is constructed from the proposals received. Simon then describes his experience of writing for an edited volume. Alex shares a cautionary tale about authorship and competition, and Carole recounts some less-than-positive experiences with editors.

Conversation then turns to the experience of being an editor yourself. George reads an email which he composed in order to reject someone as kindly as he could. Carole’s closing advice is “Write what you want, and write clear.” This podcast is essential information not only for prospective Religious Studies scholars, not only the humanities and social scientists, but anyone aiming for a career in academia.

Thanks to Zoe for chairing this, to Carole and Don for opening their home, and to Annabel Carr for providing photographs. And thanks to all the participants for an informative and entertaining recording.

You can also download this interview, and subscribe to receive our weekly podcast, on iTunes. And if you enjoyed it, please take a moment to rate us, or use our Amazon.co.uk link to support us when buying your important books etc.

Zoe Alderton is a PhD candidate in the department of Studies in Religion at the University of Sydney. Her thesis concerns the New Zealand artist Colin McCahon and the nature of his audience reception. Zoe’s main interests are religion in modern art and religious communication via new media. Her recent publications include a discussion of the inheritance of Theosophy in Australian modernism, and an exploration of the contentious politics surrounding the Blake Prize for Religious Art. Upcoming publications concern imaginative pilgrimage in the work of Colin McCahon, and a discussion of the motifs in his beachside theology. Zoe is also a tutor in Sociology for the University of Western Sydney and reviews editor for the journal Literature & Aesthetics.

Carole M. Cusack (Professor in Studies in Religion at the University of Sydney) trained as a medievalist and her doctorate was published as Conversion Among the Germanic Peoples (Cassell, 1998). Since the late 1990s she has taught in contemporary religious trends, publishing on pilgrimage and tourism, modern Pagan religions, new religious movements, the interface between religion and politics, and religion and popular culture. She is the author of The Essence of Buddhism (Lansdowne, 2001), Invented Religions: Imagination, Fiction and Faith (Ashgate, 2010), and The Sacred Tree: Ancient and Medieval Manifestations (Cambridge Scholars Publishing), 2011. She has published in a number of edited volumes, and is the editor (with Christopher Hartney) of Religion and Retributive Logic: Essays in Honour of Garry W. Trompf (Brill, 2010). With Christopher Hartney (University of Sydney) she is editor of the Journal of Religious History (Wiley) and with Liselotte Frisk (Dalarna University) she is editor of the International Journal for the Study of New Religions (Equinox). She serves on the Editorial Boards of the journal Literature & Aesthetics, and of the Sophia Monograph Series (Springer).

Alex NormanAlex Norman (“the Tourism Guy”) lectures at the Department of Studies in Religion at the University of Sydney, where he completed his doctorate in 2010. His central research interests revolve around the confluence of travel practices and religious practices. His book Spiritual Tourism (Continuum 2011) examines the intersection of travel and secular spiritual practice by contemporary Westerners. His other main research interest is in new religious movements, and in 2012 he co-edited the Handbook of New Religions and Cultural Production (Brill 2012) with Carole M. Cusack. From 2010 to 2013 Alex was co-editor of Literature & Aesthetics, culminating in a special issue examining travel and literature published in 2012. His latest research project looks at the various ways in which travel events and traditions have impacted the formation of new religious movements.

George Ioannides studied comparative religion as part of his Undergraduate degree at the University of Sydney, Australia.

 

 

Simon Theobold is a graduate student in the Archaeology and Anthropology department of the Australian National University. His current research examines food taboos in contemporary Australia.

Sarah K. Balstrup is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Studies in Religion at the University of Sydney, and you can follow this link to read her paper Sentient Symbols: The Implications of Animal Cruelty Debates in Contemporary Australian Art.

 

Roundtable: Building an Academic Career

Jonathan, Chris, Kevin, Carole and the back of Louise’s head…

David was taking the photos this time

During her recent trip to the UK, the Religious Studies Project managed (with the promise of copious Pink Gin) to persuade Professor Carole Cusack to take part in a roundtable discussion. She suggested that we discuss how to build an academic career – advice which she has been generous with to many people in the past. That having been agreed, we rounded up a few of our regular discussants – and, for the first time, Louise Connelly, our hitherto silent third partner – in the imposing setting of the University of Edinburgh’s Rainy Hall. We think we managed to produce something which should be of at least some use to any aspiring academic in the social sciences… we’d love to hear if you think so too!

David: “Don’t wait to be given permission… if it is interesting, it will work!”

In these financially hard times, the role of the academic is changing; the reasons for people going to university are changing; and universities are constantly changing the configuration of their departments. Topics covered in this discussion include:

  • the importance of publication, and the relative merits of different publications;
  • getting teaching experience;
  • services to the discipline and the community
  • conferences and networking (Chris Cotter, of course)
  • what to put in your CV
  • how to keep up-to-date with your field
  • and much more…

It is worth mentioning, of course, that this is all just advice and should be taken as such. The experience of others may be entirely different and we cannot, of course, be held responsible for any unforeseen consequences of following the advice contained herein.

Carole: “One of the tragedies of academic work is that it sees no audience […] if [theses] only see an audience of two or three examiners they are essentially exercises in waste.”

Links mentioned in the podcast (likely not comprehensive):

Carole: “You can’t double-dip: [if] you put something into research [on your CV], it doesn’t go somewhere else”

 

Participants:

“Roundtable Regular” Kevin Whitesides completed his B.A. in Religious Studies at Humboldt State University. He has recently completed an MSc dissertation at the University of Edinburgh on ’2012′ millennialism as part of a broader emphasis on countercultural transmission. Kevin has contributed articles to ‘Archaeoastronomy’ and ‘Zeitschrift fur Anomalistik’, has contributed chapters for two anthologies on apocalypse and prophecy, and has presented widely on the ’2012′ milieu at academic conferences and universities.


What is Phenomenology? for the Religious Studies Project.


David G. Robertson is a Ph.D. candidate in the Religious Studies department of the University of Edinburgh. His research  examines how UFO narratives became the bridge by which ideas crossed between the conspiracist and New Age milieus in the post-Cold War period. More broadly, his work concerns contemporary alternative spiritualities, and their relationship with popular culture. Forthcoming publications: “Making the Donkey Visible: Discordianism in the Works of Robert Anton Wilson” in C. Cusack & A. Norman (Eds.), Brill Handbook of New Religions and Cultural Production. Leiden: Brill (2012) “(Always) Living in the End Times: The “rolling prophecy” of the conspracist milieu” in When Prophecy Persists. London: INFORM/Ashgate (2012). For a full CV and my MSc thesis on contemporary gnosticism, see my Academia page or my personal blog.


Carole M. Cusack (Associate Professor in Studies in Religion at the University of Sydney) trained as a medievalist and her doctorate was published as Conversion Among the Germanic Peoples (Cassell, 1998). Since the late 1990s she has taught in contemporary religious trends, publishing on pilgrimage and tourism, modern Pagan religions, new religious movements, the interface between religion and politics, and religion and popular culture. She is the author of The Essence of Buddhism (Lansdowne, 2001), Invented Religions: Imagination, Fiction and Faith (Ashgate, 2010), and The Sacred Tree: Ancient and Medieval Manifestations (Cambridge Scholars Publishing), 2011. She has published in a number of edited volumes, and is the editor (with Christopher Hartney) of Religion and Retributive Logic: Essays in Honour of Garry W. Trompf (Brill, 2010). With Christopher Hartney (University of Sydney) she is editor of the Journal of Religious History (Wiley) and with Liselotte Frisk (Dalarna University) she is editor of the International Journal for the Study of New Religions (Equinox). She serves on the Editorial Boards of the journal Literature & Aesthetics, and of the Sophia Monograph Series (Springer).


Christopher R. Cotter recently completed his MSc by Research in Religious Studies at the University of Edinburgh, on the topic ‘Toward a Typology of Nonreligion: A Qualitative Analysis of Everyday Narratives of Scottish University Students’. He is currently taking a year out from study to present at conferences, complete various writing projects, and work on projects such as this. His PhD research at Lancaster University (commencing October 2012) will continue to expand the theme of ‘non-religion’ to apply to ‘everyone’ in religiously diverse, socio-economically deprived urban environments, simultaneously deconstructing the religion-nonreligion dichotomy in the process. He is Editor and Bibliography Manager at the Nonreligion and Secularity Research Network, and currently editing the volume ‘Social Identities between the Sacred and the Secular’ with Abby Day and Giselle Vincett (Ashgate, 2013). See his personal blog, or academia.edu page for a full CV.


L Connelly ImageLouise Connelly, Ph.D., currently works as an Online Learning Advisor for the Institute for Academic Development at the University of Edinburgh. She also teaches short-courses in Hinduism and Buddhism through the Office of Lifelong Learning at the University of Edinburgh. Her Ph.D. thesis is titled “Aspects of the Self: An analysis of self reflection, self presentation and the experiential self within selected Buddhist blogs” (University of Edinburgh). Her research interests include early Buddhism, visual culture, the use of social media, and Buddhist ritual and identity in the online world of Second Life. Her recent publications include ‘Virtual Buddhism: An analysis of aesthetics in relation to religious practice within Second Life’, Heidelberg Journal of Religions on the Internet (2010); ‘Virtual Buddhism: Buddhist ritual in Second Life’ in Digital Religion: Understanding Religious Practice in New Media Worlds, Campbell (ed.) (2012); and Campbell and Connelly, ‘Religion and the Internet’ in the Encylopedia of Cyber Behavior,  Zang (ed.) (2012). See her personal blog or website for a full CV.


“Thanks for Listening”

It was somewhat fitting that this roundtable ends with these sage words from Mr Whitesides. We were very privileged to enjoy Kevin’s company during his eventful year in Edinburgh, and look forward to welcoming him back to the Religious Studies Project in the future. We hope you shall join us in wishing him the best for the coming months back at his home in California.

In the picture below, Dr Steven Sutcliffe, Dr Arkotong Longkumer, David Robertson and Kevin himself made some music at a recent University of Edinburgh event. We won’t embarrass them by putting up the video though…

image of books

Religious Studies Opportunities Digest (25 May 2012) – Jobs, Seminars, Books, Conferences and more…

25 May 2012 Issue

image of booksWe are not responsible for any content contained herein, but have simply copied and pasted from a variety of sources. If you have any content for future digests, please contact us via the various options on our ‘contact’ page.

In this issue:

  • Advanced Notice – Journals
  • New Books
  • Conference Announcements
  • Jobs
  • Scholarships
  • Calls for Papers
  • Seminars

ADVANCED NOTICE – JOURNALS


Culture and Religion, vol 13, issue 2, 2012 http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rcar20/13/2

Sociology of Religion, May 2012, http://socrel.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/recent?etoc

Journal of Korean Religions, Volume 3, Number 1 (April 2012). Guest edited by Boudewijn Walraven and titled “Late Chosŏn Buddhism,” this issue adds to the body of work challenging stereotypical appraisals of the Buddhist world of the Chosŏn dynasty. http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/journal_of_korean_religions.


NEW BOOKS

Buddhism Across Boundaries: The Interplay of Indian, Chinese, and Central Asian Source Materials, edited by John R. McRae and Jan Nattier.

Download: http://sino-platonic.org/complete/spp222_indian_chinese_buddhism.pdf


CONFERENCE ANNOUNCEMENTS


The University of Bucharest

The Faculty of Letters

The “Goldstein-Goren” Center of Jewish Studies

 

International Conference on

The Jews of the Mediterranean

Bucharest, New Europe College, 24-25 May 2012

Conference Program

Thursday 24th of May 2012

1st Session

Chair and opening remarks: Andrei Oişteanu, Institutul pentru Istoria Religiilor – Academia Română, Centrul de Studii Ebraice “Goldstein Goren” – Universitatea din Bucureşti

10.00 Opening of the Works of the Conference

10.15 Anca Manolescu, Cercetător şi publicist: Filon din Alexandria şi întâlnirea religiilor ca filozofii (Philon of Alexandria and the Phylosophical Encounter of Religions)

10.40 Andrei Cornea, Centrul de Studii Ebraice “Goldstein Goren”, Secţia de Studii Europene – Universitatea din Bucureşti: The Jewish Shabbat – A Day of Fast?

11.05 – 11.20 Coffee Break

11.20 Adrian Pirtea, Centrul de Studii Ebraice “Goldstein Goren” – Universitatea din Bucureşti, Freie Universiät, Berlin:  Late Byzantine Jewry and the Transfer of Islamic Esotericism to Europe

11.45 Cristina Ciucu, CNRS, Paris: (Again) on Tzimtzum and Exile – On the Circulation of Some Kabbalistic Ideas in the Mediterranean World during the 15th.-16th. Centuries

12.10 – 12.30 Discussions

12.30 – 14.30 Lunch

2nd. Session

Chair: Andrei Cornea, Centrul de Studii Ebraice “Goldstein Goren”, Secţia de Studii Europene – Universitatea din Bucureşti

15.00 Roberto Bachmann, Portuguese Association of Jewish Studies, Lisbon: The Portuguese Jewish and Marrano Diaspora and Their Integration among the Mediterranean (Jewish) Communities upon Their Exodus from Portugal after 1506

15.25 Măriuca Stanciu, Centrul de Studii Ebraice “Goldstein Goren” – Universitatea din Bucureşti, Biblioteca Academiei Române: Jewish Dukes and Romanian Voievodas – On the Ties between the Sephardic Ottoman Elite and Romanian Princes

15.50 Ivan Biliarsky, Bulgarian Academy of Science, Varna University: Two Documents Concerning the Matrimonial Relations among the Balkan Jews in the Late Middle Ages

16.15 Carol Iancu, Université „Paul Valery”, Montpellier: Evreii din Marsilia: un secol de istorie, de la Revoluţia Franceză la Afacerea Dreyfus

16.40 – 17.00 Discussions

17.00 More discussions over a glass of Rotenberg wine

Friday 25th of May 2012

1st Session

Chair: Liviu Rotman, SNSPA, CSIER, Centrul de Studii Ebraice “Goldstein Goren” – Universitatea din Bucureşti

10.00 Silvia Planas Marce, Museu d’Historia des Jueus i L”Institut d’Estudis „Nahmanides”, Girona: Daughers of Sarah, Mothers of Israel, Jewish Women of Girona

10.25 Minna Rozen, Haifa University: Romans in Istanbul: Tombstones and Manuscripts Tell the Story of a Jewish Family

10.50 Delia Bălăican, Biblioteca Academiei Române: Tipografia Samitca în viaţa urbei craiovene la sfârşitul secolului al XIX-lea şi începutul secolului XX (The Samitca Printing Press Co. and Its Influence on Craiova Urban Development during the Late 19th  and the Beginning of the 20th. centuries

11.15 – 11.30  Coffee Break

11.30 Victor Neumann Universitatea de Vest, Filiala Academiei Române, Timisoara:

Sefarzi şi ashkenazi în oraşele transilvano-bănăţene în secolele XVII- XVIII (Sephardim and Ashkenazim in Transylvania and Banat cities during the 17th – 18th centuries)

11.55 Yolanda Constantinescu, Academia de Muzica, CRIFS, Academia Română, Bucureşti: O privire asupra personalităţii lui Dimitrie Cantmir: sefarzi şi muzica sefardă (On Dimitrie Cantemir’s Personality Regarding the Sephardim and Sephardic Music)

12.20- 12.45 Discussions

12.45 – 15.00 Lunch

2nd Session

Chair: Mariuca Stanciu, Centrul de Studii Ebraice “Goldstein Goren” – Universitatea din Bucureşti, Biblioteca Academiei Române:

15.00 Karen Gerson Sarhon, Ottoman-Turkish Sephardic Culture Research Center, Istanbul: The Ladino Database Project Results as insight to the Current Situation of Judeo-Spanish in Turkey

15.25 Liviu Rotman, SNSPA, CSIER, Centrul de Studii Ebraice “Goldstein Goren” – Universitatea din Bucureşti: Continuitate şi înnoire în comunitatea sefardă din Bucureşti în a doua jumătate a secolului al XIX-lea (Continuity and Renewal within the Bucharest Sephardic Community during the 2nd. Half of the 19th. Century)

15.50 Cristina Toma, Societatea Romana de Radio: Bucureşti – panoramă sefardă (Bucharest – A Sephardic Outlook)

16.15 Alina Popescu, Centrul de Studii Ebraice „Goldstein-Goren”, Universitatea din. Bucureşti, Biblioteca Academiei Române, Bucuresti: Bucureştiul sefard şi sinagogile sale (Sephardic Bucharest and Its Synagogues)

16.40 Discussions

17.00 Closing of the works of the conference


Title: The annual two day conference hosted by the

Interdisciplinary Association for Philosophy & Religious

Studies (IAPRS)will be held at Edinboro University in April

2013

Location: Pennsylvania

Date: 2013-04-01

Description: The annual two day conference hosted by the

Interdisciplinary Association for Philosophy & Religious

Studies (IAPRS)will be held at Edinboro University in April

2013 (specific dates to be announced later). The conference

features undergraduate, graduate, and faculty presentations on

any topic in phi …

Contact: ssullivan@edinboro.edu

URL: www.sshe-iaprs.org/

Announcement ID: 194543

http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=194543


JOBS


University of Toronto – Scarborough, Humanities, Tung Lin Kok Yuen Visiting Professor in Buddhist Studies

Details: https://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=44550

Applications, consisting of a statement of interest with some indication of how a candidate will contribute to the Universitys programs (at most two pages), accompanied by a curriculum vitae,should be sent to buddhist-studies-search [at] utsc.utoronto.ca. The search committee reserves the right to ask for further materials from shortlisted candidates.

If electronic submission is not possible, applications may be mailed to:

TLKY Visiting Professor Search

Professor William Bowen, Chair

Department of Humanities

University of Toronto Scarborough

1265 Military Trail

Toronto, ON M1C 1A4

Canada

The deadline for applications is May 30, 2012.


Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Stirling

http://www.jobs.ac.uk/job/AEL392/lectureship-in-philosophy/

Grade 7 £31,222 to £35,939

Full time

Fixed term: 1 September 2012 – 31 December 2013

Job Reference: SCH00039

For further information, including details on how to apply, please see www.stir.ac.uk/jobs

Closing date: Monday 11 June 2012


Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Aberdeen

College / University Administration: College of Arts & Social Sciences

Position Type: Full-time

University Grade Structure: Grade 7

Salary From: £37,012. Salary To: £44,166.

Details: http://www.jobs.ac.uk/job/AEM086/lecturer-in-philosophy/

Application process: http://www.abdn.ac.uk/thefuture/

The closing date for the receipt of applications is 22 June 2012.


SCHOOL OF ORIENTAL AND AFRICAN STUDIES

University of London

Lecturer in Anthropology

£39,146 – £46,300 p.a. inclusive of London Allowance

Vacancy No: 000392

The Department of Anthropology and Sociology at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London invites applications for a permanent lectureship tenable from September 2012. Preference will be given to a candidate able to teach the ethnography of West or East Africa at undergraduate and Master’s level. The successful candidate would be expected to teach and develop other courses, assume normal administrative tasks including PhD supervision and must have an outstanding publication record.

You must have a PhD in Social Anthropology. It is expected that you will have expertise relevant to the vision and strategy of the School, including a strong interest in issues of particular importance to the developing world.

To apply for this vacancy or to download a job description/further information, please visit www.soas.ac.uk/jobs<http://www.soas.ac.uk/jobs>.

Closing date:  14th June 2012

Interviews are provisionally scheduled for week commencing: 16th July 2012


Please follow the link below for two new academic job opportunities in Theology and Religion at Durham. Please note the deadline of 8th June. I’d be happy to respond to any minor, informal enquiries. For formal enquiries or detailed questions, please contact my colleague and Head of Dept, Dr Robert Song (robert.song@durham.ac.uk).

http://www.joindurham.com/professorships/vacancies/search/category/arts-and-humanities


Arizona State University – Postdoctoral Fellowship in Science and

Religion

<http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=44588>


Managing Editor/ Open Access Books in Theology, Religious Studies.

We are currently looking for candidates for Managing Editors for our Open Access Books program in Theology, Religious Studies, launched by Versita (www.versita.com).

Scholarly monographs and other book categories have been an important format of scholarly communication. For various reasons in the last decades they have faced significant challenges. We believe that Open Access may yield the best available solution for keeping academic monographs and other scholarly books alive. Open Access provides free and unrestricted online access to electronic books for all interested users. This model grows readership by hundreds or thousands of times versus the printed book. To cover the publication costs, we will charge a moderate fee to the institution supporting the author. However, for the first year or two we have decided to waive these fees, so we will neither charge the reader (or librarian) nor the author.

With over 250 Open Access journals in its portfolio Versita (www.versita.com) is one of the leading scholarly Open Access Publishers. Versita cooperates with Springer (www.springer.com) and in January 2012 the company was acquired by de Gruyter (www.degruyter.com), a prominent scholarly publisher with a 260-year history.

IDEAL CANDIDATE PROFILE

Ideal candidates should hold a PhD in the above mentioned discipline and have experience in both conducting research and teaching. They should have sufficient time available to complete their duties. Editorial experience is not required. Candidates must speak native or fluent English, be proficient in using computers, and have constant access to Internet.

BRIEF JOB DESCRIPTION

The Managing Editor’s chief responsibility is launching a program for the publication of scholarly books in Open Access model in the above mentioned discipline. The Managing Editor solicits and evaluates book proposals submitted by authors from around the world and coordinates work of other editors who solicit books in their discipline. The Managing Editor is also expected to cooperate with authors, reviewers and copy editors.

WHAT WE OFFER IN RETURN

Compensation is based on the number of books published under Managing Editor’s supervision. You will get a chance to combine publishing activities with academic and pedagogic work and have a unique opportunity to acquire experience in and understanding of professional scientific publishing while taking part in a pioneering project in a dynamically developing company.

If you are interested in this position, please send a cover letter and a CV (both documents in English) to hr12@versita.com  with “Managing Editor, Theology, Religious Studies” as your subject line.

If you wish to participate in our Open Access Books program as an author and submit a new book proposal in your discipline, please fill in our New Book Proposal Form available at http://www.versita.com/Book_Author/Form/ and return it in by e-mail to info@versita.com.

Versita offers its authors:

•    fair and comprehensive peer-review of submitted proposals and manuscripts, English language copy-editing by native English speaking specialists in the field (in some subject areas we accept also manuscripts in other languages)

•    professional composition of the manuscript in PDF format

•    hosting the book on MetaPress platform, which offers many functionalities, e.g. active links in references

•    printed copies sold to libraries and individuals, by Versita and distributors (e.g. Amazon)

•    complimentary printed copies for book author and editors

•    royalties for the author from print copy sales

•    indexing by Google and other search engines

•    e-book delivery to libraries and full-text repositories (e.g. Google Book Search)

•    Creative Commons copyright license

More information on our Open Access book publishing program can be found at http://versita.com/Book_Author/


SCHOLARSHIPS


Guest Scholarships 2012 CRC 933 “Material Text Cultures”

The Collaborative Research Centre (CRC) 933 “Material Text Cultures. Materiality and Presence

of Writing in Non-Typographic Societies” has been established by the German Research Founda

tion in July 2011 at Heidelberg University (collaborating partner: College of Jewish Studies, Hei

delberg). Researchers working in the field of cultural studies will investigate the material presence of writing in “non-typographic societies” that do not possess any or any widespread methods for the mass production of writing. Based on this investigation, those receptive practices are presented which in all probability took place at the writing due to its material presence. The ‘material text cultures’ thus identified in non-typographical societies will then be systematically described and compared with those of typographical societies. The fundamental research by the CRC 933 “Material Text Cultures” on text-bearing artefacts, especially those of the circum-Mediterranean zone, will be performed within a conceptual framework that has been developed from recent approaches in cultural studies.

The Research Training Group „Text Anthropology“ of the CRC 933 is now looking for guest graduate students with outstanding qualifications who can show that participating in the interdisciplinary research of the CRC 933 “Material Text Cultures” will be beneficial to their doctoral project and to the CRC 933. The Research Training Group offers a monthly scholarship of 1.250 Euros starting on October 1st 2012. Furthermore, it supports scholarship holders in offering graduate courses and individual mentoring. The scholarship is granted for one year.

Applicants, who should hold an M.A. or equivalent in a discipline of the humanities with an above-

average grade, should send their written applications (including a CV, a letter of intent, a project proposal and a letter of recommendation from their supervisor) with reference to “CRC 933” by July 15th 2012 at the latest to SFB 933 „Materiale Textkulturen“, Heidelberg Zentrum Kulturelles Erbe, Marstallstraße 6, 69117 Heidelberg/Germany. We regret that we cannot return application documents sent to us by regular mail. Details may be requested at danijel.cubelic@zegk.uni-heidelberg.de.

The University of Heidelberg actively seeks to raise the proportion of female employees in all previously under-represented areas. In keeping with this, applications are particularly requested from women with the appropriate qualifications. In the case of equal qualifications, severely disabled persons will receive priority.


CALLS FOR PAPERS

CFP: The Journal of Korean Religions (JKR) is published biannually, every April and October, by the Institute for the Study of Religion, Sogang University, Korea. It aims to promote interest in and discuss the study of Korean religions in various academic disciplines within the humanities and social sciences. A peer-reviewed journal, JKR publishes articles of original research, review articles, book reviews, and current issues which seek to discuss, elaborate, and extend the study of Korean religions. Our work is featured in both print and digital form, published by the University of Hawai’i and served online by Project MUSE: http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/journal_of_korean_religions.

JKR invites contributions from scholars researching on any aspect of Korean religions from a wide range of perspectives, including religious studies, philosophy, theology, literature, folklore, art, anthropology, history, sociology, political science, and cultural studies. Articles submitted for consideration should not have appeared or be under review for publication elsewhere. JKR also welcomes book reviews and review articles. All submissions and inquiries should be sent to the Managing Editor: journalkr[at]sogang.ac.kr. Submission guidelines can be found at: http://bit.ly/JKRsubguide.


Call for Papers

Demons and Illness: Theory and Practice from Antiquity to the Early Modern Period

Centre for Medical History, University of Exeter

22 – 24th April 2013

In many near eastern traditions, demons appear as a cause of illness: most famously in the stories of possessed people cured by Christ. These traditions influenced perceptions of illness in Judaism, Christianity and Islam in later centuries but the ways in which these cultures viewed demons and illness have received comparatively little attention. For example, who were these demons? How did they cause illness? Why did they want to? How did demons fit into other explanations for illness? How could demonic illnesses be cured and how did this relate to other kinds of cure? How far did medical or philosophical theory affect how people responded to demonic illnesses in practice?

This conference will take a comparative approach, taking a wide geographical and chronological sweep but confining itself to this relatively specific set of questions. Because Jewish, Christian and Islamic ideas about demons and illness drew on a similar heritage of ancient religious texts from New Testament times to the early modern period there is real scope to draw meaningful comparisons between the different periods and cultures. What were the common assumptions made by different societies? When and why did they differ? What was the relationship between theory and practice? We would welcome papers which address these issues for any period between antiquity and the early modern period, and which discuss Christian, Jewish or Islamic traditions.

The conference is hosted by the Centre for Medical History at the University of Exeter, on April 22nd-24th, 2013. Please send abstracts by 15th September 2012 to the conference organizers, Catherine Rider and Siam Bhayro, Centre for Medical History, University of Exeter: email c.r.rider@exeter.ac.uk or s.bhayro@exeter.ac.uk.


The Board of Editors of the interdisciplinary journal Quaderni di Studi Indo-Mediterranei

(http://www2.lingue.unibo.it/studi indo-mediterranei/ ; (http://qusim.arts.ubc.ca/)

is soliciting contributions to its sixth thematic volume, scheduled to appear in 2013.

This issue will contain twelve to fifteen essays addressing the theme of the cultural

and religious interactions between Hebraism, Christianity and Islam.


The “Three Rings” parable, known in Western culture mainly through Boccaccio’s

novella in the Decameron and Lessing’s Nathan der Weise, has been subject to research

for a hundred years or so. Some scholars have argued that the parable originated in

Spain, but its exact source remains unknown. In any case, the emergence and

development of his suggestive message, including the eight and sixteenth centuries,

evidently origins in the Mediterranean context of intercultural and inter-religious

relations between Jews, Christians and Muslims.

In particular, Western esotericism has been characterised as the combination of

Alexandrian Hermeticism, Neo-Platonism and related religious philosophies of late

antiquity and the traces each has left in the three Abrahamic religions. For this

process, very important was the uninterrupted translation of texts between Arabic,

Latin and Hebrew languages. Still today these three Mediterranean cultures are mixed

together in narrow and interesting plots.

All aspects of the cultural connections between Hebraism, Christianity and Islam in

history of religions, theology, philosophy, mysticism, esotericism, literature, visual

arts, music and folklore are welcome.

Please send proposals for essays (250 to 350 words) accompanied by a bio-

bibliographical sketch to Alessandro Grossato (alessandro.grossato@lett.unitn.it), by

September 30, 2012.

Quaderni di Studi Indo-Mediterranei accepts proposals and essays in all major European

languages. The editors of the volume will strive for a balanced and diversified table of

contents. They will confirm accepted submissions by December 2, 2012.

Subsequently, the final deadline for submitting the completed essays will be June 1,

  1. The average length recommended for each contribution is of 6,000 words, with

a maximum length allowed of 7,000 words, including footnotes and bibliographical

references.


The journal Quaderni di Studi Indo-Mediterranei is based at the University of Bologna,

Italy, and is supported by ASTREA (Associazione di Studi e Ricerche Euro-

Asiatiche). Editor in Chief: Carlo Saccone; Board of Editors: Daniela Boccassini,

Alessandro Grossato, Carlo Saccone.

The journal counts among its editorial associates world-renowned specialists from

major European and North American Universities.

For further information on the journal’s mission and an overview of previous issues

please go to: http://www2.lingue.unibo.it/studi indo-mediterranei/ (Italian website)

http://qusim.arts.ubc.ca/ (North American website)

Quaderni di Studi Indo-Mediterranei is committed to upholding a high profile in

comparative studies and the highest standards of peer-reviewed scholarship.


Title: Special Issue on Religion and the Paranormal

Date: 2012-08-01

Description: The journal Nova Religio is currently seeking papers

for a special issue on religion and the paranormal. In the last

few years, several good books have appeared that consider

so-called paranormal beliefs, discourses, and experiences as an

object of inquiry for religion scholars. Like the category re

Contact: jlay@bu.edu

Announcement ID: 194634

http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=194634


SEMINARS


An Open Meeting at St. Marylebone Church, 17 Marylebone Road,

London NW1 5LT

Thursday 14th June 2012 from 2-4pm

THE UNIQUENESS OF SPIRITUAL CARE

Making the spiritual real: from research into training and practice

The challenge for all mental health services is to integrate spiritual care within care

planning in order that those who use the services receive true holistic care. Using a

combination of training, research and care planning Nigel will outline a research

project he has undertaken in partnership with nurses to deliver high quality spiritual

care. It is his belief that those of us engaged in delivering spiritual care need to base

all provision of care upon the foundation of robust research. He will outline the

model of research that he believes to be appropriate for researching the effectiveness

of spiritual care.

DR NIGEL COPSEY is the Team Leader for Spiritual Care in the East London

Foundation Trust and Surrey and Borders Partnership Foundation Trust. He has

published two research papers in the field of psychiatry and mental health for

the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health. He has also contributed to a number of

psychotherapy publications in the area of spirituality and mental health. Nigel is a

visiting lecturer at several London Universities as well as being a Programme

Leader in the psychology department of UEL. Nigel is an Anglican priest and an

accredited psychotherapist.

To register for this free seminar contact: info@mhspirituality.org.uk

Map and more information on the venue (on Jubilee Line, Baker Street Station)

obtainable on this link:

www.stmarylebone.org.uk/HandC01.htm

For more information about the National Spirituality and Mental Health

Forum see website: www.mhspirituality.org.uk


Centre for Child and Youth Research, Brunel University

 A QUESTION OF RELIGION: YOUNG PEOPLE and identity IN CONTEMPORARY MULTI-FAITH BRITAIN

Friday, 29th June 2012

10.30am – 4.30pm

MS114, Mary Seacole Building, Brunel University

Chair: Professor Judith Harwin, Centre for Child and Youth Research, Brunel University

10.30 – 10.50      Refreshments

10.50 – 11.00      Welcome to the seminar!

11.00 – 11.50      Young British Muslims finding their voice: from alienation to engagement

Dr Philip Lewis, Department of Peace Studies, University of Bradford

Young British Muslims are developing the confidence to engage British society and make the most of the institutional spaces opening up in which they can participate. This paper explores some of the encouraging debates now being heard – not least British Muslims contributing ‘Islamically’ to debates within education, social services and chaplaincy. It also addresses how intergenerational tensions are being played out by referring to a seismic political change in Bradford where the Respect candidate recently defeated the Labour candidate in one of the safest Labour seats. The important development from Islamist to post-Islamist politics is also discussed.

 

11.50 – 12.40      Young Sikhs

Jasjit Singh, University of Leeds

This presentation will outline findings from doctoral research on religious transmission among young British Sikhs (18-30). Focusing on a number of arenas of transmission including families, Sikh camps and the internet, this presentation will outline the ways in which these various arenas allow young British Sikhs to engage with their faith. It will also demonstrate how many religious identity practices result from religious socialisation in the family.

12.40 – 13.30      LUNCH

13.30 – 14.20      The Youth On Religion project: Young people and the negotiation of identity in three diverse urban locations

                               Professor Nicola Madge, Centre for Child and Youth Research, Brunel University

The Youth On Religion project surveyed over ten thousand young people, and talked to over 160, in secondary schools and colleges in the London Boroughs of Hillingdon and Newham, and Bradford in Yorkshire. Participants came from a range of faith and non-faith positions, and provided a wealth of information on the meaning of religion in their young lives. It was very apparent that families guided their initial religious direction but that peers, school, the community and their own personal experiences and agency became increasingly important as they grew older. This presentation examines the meaning of religious identity for young people and documents some of the landmarks they pass in their religious journey.

14.20 – 15.00      YORvoice: Youth On Religion

Young people from the London Borough of Hillingdon, who participated in YORvoice, part of the Youth On Religion project, present some of their views on religion and its impact on young lives.

15.00 – 15.15      TEA AND BISCUITS

15.15 – 16.00      Growing up with disability in Pakistani Muslim families

Dr Debbie Kramer-Roy, Lecturer in Occupational Therapy, Brunel University

This paper presents findings from a study of Pakistani Muslim families bringing up disabled children. Religion was a strong part of their daily lives, and parents talked about how personal faith influenced the way they experienced becoming the parents of disabled children and living with them in their communities. While mothers tended to talk about the shift from feelings of distress and shame to considering their child a blessing from God, fathers reported how they turned to religious leaders and scriptures to learn more about disability and its meaning. Siblings reported generally positive views but also indicated some frustration at the restrictions that a disabled brother or sister imposed.

16.00                     END OF SEMINAR

NB There is no charge for this seminar and lunch is provided

If you would like to attend, please email nicola.madge@brunel.ac.uk


Title: Summer Institute at Rutgers – Islam and the Muslim World –

July 16th-20th

Location: New Jersey

Date: 2012-07-16

Description: 2012 Summer Institute for Teachers at Rutgers Islam

and the Muslim World Where: Rutgers, the State University of

New JerseyNew Brunswick, NJ When: Monday, July 16 to Friday,

July 20, 2012 Cost: $300 The Center for Middle East Studies at

Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, is pleased to anno

Contact: areolive@rci.rutgers.edu

URL: mideast.rutgers.edu/islam-and-the-muslim-world

Announcement ID: 194590

http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=194590

image of books

How an Eerdmans Book is Born (In Sixteen Easy Steps)

The following piece was published back in August 2011 by Rachel Bomberger on EerdWord, the blog of Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. We think that it gives an invaluable insight into what goes on at a major publishing company when they receive your manuscript.

You can access the original article here http://eerdword.wordpress.com/2011/08/05/how-an-eerdmans-book-is-born-in-sixteen-easy-steps/ and find many other interesting posts on the main EerdWord site. This article has been republished with permission from EerdWord and the author, Rachel Bomberger. Rachel is the Internet marketing manager at Eerdmans. She loves reading, writing, and accidentally blurting out, “You’ve just got to read this amazing new book. Oh, wait, sorry, nevermind — I guess you’ll have to wait a few more months until it’s published.”


Things have been a little chaotic here at Eerdmans this summer. Eerdfolks have left; Eerdfolks have been shifted around; new Eerdfolks have been (and continue to be) brought in to fill the voids. The frenzy hasn’t left much contemplative space for creative reading and writing. All this is to say: I’ll have another book review coming soon. (I don’t know whether you enjoy reading them, but I sure enjoy writing them.) While you wait, however, here’s a little something I put together to help introduce all our new Eerdfolks to the magical world of book publishing. (It’s a smidge more up-to-date than our last “How a Book Is Made” document on record.)

Step One: Acquisitions

An editor finds a good book and talks the company into publishing it. (Sometimes these are “diamonds in the rough” — unsolicited manuscripts mined from the ever-present slush pile. Sometimes they come from literary agents. More often than not, however, our manuscripts seem to come from (a.) authors we’ve worked with before, (b.) authors published by other companies whose previous books we like, or (c.) first-time authors recommended by other authors with whom we have established relationships.) The author will be sent a formal contract, and the book is then on its way to publication, either heading straight to Step Three: “Disk-fixing” or taking a (sometimes lengthy) detour through Step Two: Project Development.

Step Two: Project Development

An editor works with an author or editor to turn a good idea into a good book. This can take a while, but it’s almost always worth the investment of time and effort that goes into it.

Step Three: “Disk-fixing”

Freelancers prepare a book’s electronic files for editing. We could call it “file conversion,” but that doesn’t have quite the same poetic ring as “disk-fixing.” This step can take between one week and many months, depending on the state of the files when they arrive and how long and/or elaborate the manuscript is.

Step Four: “Ready to Edit”

A book goes into the wine cellar for a time to mellow until it has taken on a smooth, oaky flavor. (Speaking less metaphorically, a disk-fixed manuscript sometimes has to wait a spell until its editor can finish up other projects and be ready to tackle it.)

Step Five: Editing

Editors work their editorial magic on manuscripts. They help authors organize and reorganize their thoughts; flesh out or condense their writing as needed; double check facts and data; make sure evidence is properly documented and footnotes are properly formatted; bring the book into line with house (and Chicago) style; smooth out uneven sentences or awkward wording; and generally whip the book into tip-top ship-shape. This can take as little as four weeks or as much as a year (or even longer). At this point the art department begins conceiving of a general design for the cover and a cover image and collaborating with the editorial team to make sure that the cover they have in mind adequately conveys the subject matter of the book. The editorial department will also be working to make sure that the book’s title is as strong, accurate, and attractive as it can be. It is at this stage, too, when a book is finally on the road to completion, that the marketing department will begin promoting it to booksellers, book distributors, and the like through Advance Title Information sheets (ATI) and catalogs and online.

Step Six: Design and Typesetting

Once the editors are at last satisfied with the style and content of a book, it is released to the production folks for typesetting — i.e., turning a collection of words and images and into something instantly recognizable as book pages and chapters. This takes an average of four weeks, but for some books with lots of photos, tables, and other tricky design elements, it can take years. After this, the book moves (rarely) into Step Seven: Galley Proofs or (more commonly) into Step Eight: First Page Proofs.

Step Seven: Galley Proofs

Very few books at Eerdmans go through “galleys” — generally only when the editorial team wants to move forward with typesetting and corrections but knows that the author will still be supplying a substantial amount of additional information down the line. Galleys are a sort of tentative page proofs — with footnotes tucked away conveniently at the end of chapters — that can shape-shift some as needed later on without causing too much extra trouble for the production folks.

Step Eight: First Page Proofs

By this step, the book is really starting to look like a book, with page numbers, margins, a title and copyright pages, and all the other “bells and whistles.” It’s still just a digital file of the interior pages, but several important processes can now move forward. Editorially speaking, both the author and a proofreader have the opportunity now to go over the book with a fine-toothed comb, picking through it for any and all errors, typographical or otherwise. (This usually takes about three weeks.) Once a book is “in proofs,” the marketing department is able to ramp up its efforts another notch as well. Publicists will begin sending perfect-bound page proofs to reviewers and media. The promotions department will also begin approaching endorsers to offer laudatory comments (“blurbs”) that can later be featured on the book cover and in other promotional materials.

Step Nine: Collating

Either the book’s editor or the managing editor will spend about a week transferring marks from both the author’s and the proofreader’s sets onto one master set of proofs.

Step Ten: First Corrections

The production team will use the collated marks to make corrections to the master PDF over the course of about two weeks.

Step Eleven: Linechecking

A diligent editor with a good eye (usually Milt) goes back over both the collated and the newly corrected proofs to make sure that every correction indicated by the author or proofreader has, in fact, been made. This usually takes less than a week. (Milt’s good.)

Step Twelve: Intermediate Corrections

(We’re not done yet. Aren’t we meticulous?) The proofs at this point will keep going back and forth between the editors and the production team until both sides are satisfied that all needed corrections have been made successfully.

Step Thirteen: Final Corrections

(Nearly there!) During this second-to-last step, the index and other end matter are completed and other last minute details and corrections are dealt with. This usually takes a week or two, but can very occasionally take much longer. Once a book is in final corrections, it’s also time to finalize the back cover or jacket copy. The copywriter will assemble catchy descriptive copy, endorsements, and biographical information about the author, which will then be edited and fine-tuned by the promotions manager. Once it’s just right, cover copy will be released to the designers for typesetting, and cover proofs will be proofread three or four times until every design element, every line break, and every jot and tittle in the text is perfect.

Step Fourteen: Interior at Printer

When both the interior and the cover of a book are ready, the production team issues a purchase order and releases the files to a printer for production. It takes three to four weeks to produce a paperback, about six weeks for a hardcover book.

Step Fifteen: In Stock

The books are here, and aren’t they beautiful! After taking a brief moment to gaze lovingly at them, the publicity and sales teams get straight to work. Copies are sent to the author, to other contributors, to endorsers, and to select reviewers. The publicist continues working to set up author interviews, book signings, and other promotional events. The sales team continues promoting the book to all their accounts, using each new review or piece of publicity to enhance their sales efforts.

Step Sixteen: Readers

Books are read. Stories are enjoyed. New and challenging ideas are pondered and discussed. Life is better, richer, and more thoughtful.

The end.

Podcasts

EASR 2019 Publishing Panel

This panel, recorded at the EASR conference 2019 at the University of Tartu, is intended for PhD students and early career scholars who want to learn more about the publishing world. We encourage listeners to watch the video version of this week’s episode on YouTube, which has timestamps in the video description for the different questions answered by these experienced editors and publishers in their hour-long discussion.

On the panel chaired by Suzanne Owen were Michael Stausberg, Gregory D. Alles, Joshua Wells, Valerie Hall, Jenny Butler, and James White.

This event was organized by the Estonian Society for the Study of Religions and University of Tartu in cooperation with Religious Studies Project, and was supported by the European Regional Developmental Fund (through Enterprise Estonia). We thank them for their generous help to produce this resource.

You can download this interview, and subscribe to receive our weekly podcast, on iTunes. If you enjoyed it, please take a moment to rate us. And remember, you can use our Amazon.co.ukAmazon.com, or Amazon.ca links to support us at no additional cost when buying academic texts, sardines, popcorn, and more.


EASR Publishing Roundtable 2019

Podcast with Michael Stausberg, Gregory D. Alles, Joshua Wells, Valerie Hall, Jenny Butler, James White and Suzanne Owen (28 October 2019).

Transcribed by Helen Bradstock.

Audio and transcript available at: https://www.religiousstudiesproject.com/podcast/easr-publishing-roundtable-2019/

PDF version of the transcript available here.

Suzanne Owen (SO): Welcome, this evening, to the panel on how to get published – particularly in the Study of Religion – at the European Association for the Study of Religion in Tartu, Estonia. And we have here people that represent different areas of publication and career. So my furthest is Michael Stausberg, and he is editing a journal and he will talk about that in a minute; and also we have James White, who is at the University here, so a local; and Greg Alles who’s also an editor of a series and journal; and we have Jenny Butler, considered early career – but has also ready done so much; and Valerie Hall, from Equinox publishers; and Joshua Wells, from the Routledge Publishers. And we want to have each of them introduce themselves in turn, and what they work on, and then we can start the discussion. So, let’s start with you, Michael.

Michael Stausberg (MS): What we work on? What do you mean?

SO: What you edit, and your experiences.

MS: Right, ok. Yes. Well, thanks for showing up! It’s a bit weird to sit down here and be kind-of at your service. And I have been one of the two editors of a journal called Religion since 2008. My co-editor is the Canadian, Steven Engler. And Religion started around 50 years back . . . 49, basically. Greg was on the editorial board for decades, I suppose!

Gregory Alles (GA): Until you kicked me off!

MS: Right! (Laughs). And so the journal is published with Routledge since 2012, I believe. It had a series of publishers in between. And I also co-edit two book series. One called Religion and Reason for Walter de Gruyter and one called Critical Studies in Religion which is a bilingual series published by (a German publisher). I think that should suffice for the moment.

James White (JWh): Hello. So I’m James White. As our chair introduced me, I do work here at the University of Tartu as a research fellow. But actually, most of my career for the last three to four years has been spent at the Ural Federal University in Ekaterinburg, Russia. I’m a young scholar, at the beginning of my career – as that story wold suggest. I’ve probably published, in the last four – five years, about ten articles in both English language journals and Russian language journals. I do have some experience on the other side of the coin, because I’m actually the English Language Editor of (Russian name) which is the Journal of Russian Studies for Ural Federal University, currently on both Scopus and Web of Science. So I do have both the experience of a young, junior academic publishing, but also being on the editorial side of things. So, thank you very much.

GA: I’m Greg Alles. I wish I could say I’m at the beginning of my career. It would be nice to be a young scholar again. But of course I’m not. I’ve been co-editing Numen almost as long as Michael has been co-editing Religion. I started that in 2010 first with Olav Hammer and now with Laura Feldt. I was also, as Michael mentioned, on the editorial board of Religion for a long time. I think I started that in ’94. And MTSRMethod and Theory in the Study of Religion – I think in ’96. Eventually they get tired of you being on the editorial board and rotate you off, right? Which is a good thing. And so maybe that’s enough to say.

Jenny Butler (JB): I’m Jenny Butler and I’m based in the Department of Study of Religions at University College, Cork. I’m the secretary of the Irish Society for the Academic Study of Religions. I’ve also been on a number of editorial boards. And I’ve guest edited some peer-reviewed journal volumes. And I published early on as a PhD student. I think that’s what I’m here to speak about.

Valerie Hall (VH): Hi. I’m Valerie Hall (5:00). I work for Equinox publishing. I’ve worked there since 2004, which was the beginning of the company, and previously worked at Continuum. And I do the marketing for the books and journals. But I also do some editorial work on the book side.

Joshua Wells (JW): Good evening. My name is Josh Wells. I work for Routledge, and I’m one of two Religion editors at Routledge so my colleague, Rebecca Shillabeer does books for undergrads – so pedagogical stuff, textbooks – and my focus is on research-level books in Religious Studies – so monographs and edited collections.

SO: And I should introduce myself as chair of this panel. I’m Suzanne Owen, based at Leeds Trinity University in the UK. I am also editor for the British Association for the Study of Religions, and on editorial boards as well. So we will open to discussion very soon. But I thought, maybe to start with: how did you first get something published? And just say, for the editors or the publishers, what was your first going out to find something to publish? How did that work? How did you go about that? So Michael – sorry I mispronounced your name earlier. How did you first get published, and in what?

MS: Good question. I think I started with book reviews. And I think my first proper article was published in a Scandinavian journal and at that time it was a Danish, Norwegian co-production. And that was based on a conference paper I gave. If that’s sufficient.

SO: Yes.

JWh: Thank you. My first publications. Well, I have to echo the comments of Michael, that my first serious publications were book reviews. I think, good training for later. But my first serious couple of publications . . . the first one I did was an article which was translated to Russian for the journal for which I now work. I didn’t work for it when it was published. I was asked by a colleague of mine, who was one of the only other people who specialises in the same subjects as I specialise in – because I chose an entirely irrelevant subject for my PhD Thesis! But my first, if you want to describe it in this way, major peer-reviewed English publication was for the Canadian Journal of Russian History. And of course it was an entirely different process with full peer-review, entirely different checks and balances that one had to tick off than publishing in the Russian journal, which was much more informal, and where the peer review team was internal and tended to be far less exacting. So that was my dual experience of publishing.

GA: I don’t really recall, to be honest with you. I don’t remember what the first publication was. I’d have to look at the CV and find out which came out first. No I don’t have it. It’s not there. I worked as an editorial assistant for a history of religions journal when I was a graduate student, so I kind-of knew the process. I knew what to do, right? I don’t know that my first article came out in HR but as a grad student I also co-wrote several things with Joseph Kitagawa and did some work with (audio unclear) who’s a specialist. And so I sort-of got into the business that way, right? So that’s another way that you can do that, is to co-write with your senior supervisors and so on.

JB: As far as I recall, the first publication was in a peer review journal called Cosmos produced by the Traditional Cosmology Society. And that was on the neopagan ritual year and gender. And it was a special issue of the journal that came out in 2002. Well it was dated 2002, but I think it had actually been backdated. So my first publication would have been . . . I think the first one was a book chapter in a book called Communicating in Cultures that was edited by (audio unclear). And it was published by Lit Verlag. You’ll have to excuse me because I have a cold and I’m trying not to cough. (10:00) (Laughs).

VW: Thanks. I can’t remember exactly the first one. But because I go to a lot of conferences – because I do the marketing at the academic conferences – my involvement with commissioning tends to be in talking to people at the conferences, where they can see the kind of books that we publish and approach us with proposals. So that’s kind-of one of the main reasons why I go to conferences like this. And that is how I’m involved in commissioning.

JW: So it’s also a while since I commissioned my first book. So I actually commissioned my first book as an editorial assistant. Before I was an editor. One thing I neglected to mention in my introduction is that I’ve been working at Routledge now for nearly ten years, but I’ve only been on the Religion list for three and a half years. And that’s, maybe, something to bear in mind when you’re preparing your proposal: that not every commissioning editor actually has their academic background in the subject that their commissioning in. So my academic background is in literature, and I commissioned my first book in Sports Science. So it was the absolutely vital tome The Science of Equestrian Sports. That was my first ever book. And similarly I happen to be attending a conference, and I met an academic there who wanted to publish. And the editor that was looking after me said, “Well, as you’ve made the contact, as a development opportunity you can see the book through the process.” So I was supervised in doing that.

Question 1: I’m Jason, a PhD student at the University of Tartu. My question is, is there a usual amount of time between a submission of an article and the decision on whether to publish it, and then the actual publication? Because I heard that a couple of journals, it takes them one to two years. So I’m just wondering what kind of range there is.

SO: We can start with the two at the end. James?

JWh: Yes. My experience – I mean I assume we’re talking about English language journals here? My experience has been, yes, a one-and-a-half to two years process. It can depend, as far as I’ve seen, basically on where you submit the article in terms of its content and the match between the content and the journal. So, for instance, I submitted a Russian history article to a general European History journal not very long ago. It took them a very long time to find peer reviewers, simply because they did not have, in their contact lists, specialists on Russian History. So it was . . . for what I regard as being a rather second rank publication, it took an extremely long time. But generally, yes. One-and-a-half to two years has been my experience.

GA: There are a lot of practical problems involved. And a lot of practical issues. On the one side, it’s a matter of getting something reviewed. And that’s often – I don’t know what your experience is like Michael, or yours is like, James – but that’s often outside of our control. Sometimes you get a peer review in within a week and it’s very positive, and then you’re waiting months and months. Somebody’s agreed to review it. They don’t respond, they don’t respond, they don’t respond.You nag, you nag, you nag, right? And that’s a frustrating experience. That’s on one hand. The other hand is in terms of how much copy you have in the pipeline. For a while, when Olav and I were editing Numen, we were both saying “Look, you’re e a new career scholar. You’re a junior scholar. We’ve got a backlog. We can’t publish anything that you give us until 2019.” So I recommended several people to go to other places because they needed to get published more quickly, right? That strategy also backfires because word gets out, “Oh, you got a backlog. It’s going to take a while”, and people stop sending you stuff, right? So, you’ve got to be careful about that. But you’ve got those two factors. And you want to be fair. I mean, if somebody’s got an article accepted they’re in line first. So you have to sort-of do that. It’s hard to say, exactly. It’s hard to predict exactly how long it’s going to take. And you can always ask the editor. If I think you need a publication out sooner than I can get it out, I’ll tell you. “This looks good, but you need to go someplace else, because you need to have that out.”

MS: Now I can only speak for Religion, and we do publish these figures roughly every other year in editorials where we list our referees (15:00). There we give the statistics about the time. Usually with Religion, and of course we are subject to the same factors as mentioned by Greg. It takes three months per decision step. So that means that usually we are able to provide a first decision after three months. But a first decision is very rarely to accept as is. That almost never happens. So then comes the second. And then you are, again, in this three month loop, right? So I think where much time is actually being lost, if you might say it like this, in this process where it adds up to these horrendously sounding figures like a year or two. It’s actually that when the authors get their review back they have other things to do. So they don’t do it right away sit down and revise and rewrite their articles. But then they get to it a couple of months later. And then they take their time. So sometimes we do not get a second version back until after a year. So that means, when you then, again, go for a the three months, and then maybe you have another round, and again you get it back after six months or so, then you end up with two years. But it has been with the journal only for twice three months. So you have to add the authors’ speed to revise. And then you see different attitudes. Some authors try to cut it short by just doing superficial revisions – kind-of doing some sort-of lip service to what is required – while others basically rewrite their papers. And that, of course, takes much more time, but might be a more rewarding exercise. Because then, of course, if you do just superficial revisions the chances are high that you’ll get it back again, that referees aren’t happy yet. So then, of course, you can complain that it takes so much time, but it’s also the authors who are involved here as the crucial factor. And now I agree that not all referees read the articles in the most sympathetic ways. But this is also their job as it were. The point is that as authors we are . . . I mean, we are not just editors we are also authors. So we are also subject to the same process. So we find ourselves misunderstood: “Why doesn’t the referee get it, what I’m trying to say?!” Now you might say, as a conspiracy theorist, that “They don’t want me published at all!” or “They’re stupid!”, or “They are malevolent”, or . . . what do I know? But the point is often, really, what seems very clear to us, when we write, isn’t very clear to others who read. So we then really have to take that to heart. I mean these people did a job; they did read the thing. And then, as authors, we should also actually . . . . It’s the referees’ duty to give us a favourable reading, but it’s also our duty to give the referees’ report a favourable reading. And that means that one really takes that seriously.

GA: I disagree just a little bit. I don’t think it’s the referees’ duty to give you a favourable reading,

MS: But a fair reading.

GA: A fair reading, yeah. A fair reading and an honest reading. And I think the worst thing you can do as an author is not take a referee’s report seriously. Take it seriously and revise. Probably the thing you don’t want is a quick decision. If I give you a decision in two weeks, three weeks . . .

MS: It’s not good! (Laughs).

GA: It probably means that I decided within twenty four hours that this was not really something that we really wanted. But I didn’t want you to feel too badly, so I’m going to hold onto it for two or three weeks and then give you a statement saying this is not for us, right? And maybe give you some indications. So the process is there to ensure that your work is the best work possible for this particular journal, and for your sake as well. So participate in the process and take it seriously.

SO: I would like to add, I guess . . . . Would you say, generally, to expect some revision? Yes, so in my experience too, I think, you expect some revision. (20:00) We can move onto another question here.

MS: Excuse me, may I just add one more comment? Please don’t resend an unrevised article to a different journal. We see this happening all the time: that articles that have been rejected here and there appear exactly in the same form on other editors’ desks. And this isn’t really a good way to make use of the resources that go into the peer review process. On the one hand. On the other hand be aware that our field is a collection of niches. The pool of potential referees is fairly restricted, so the chances are very high that you’ll run into the same referees everywhere. And we are getting these messages all the time, Greg don’t we? “You know, I have seen this paper before for a different journal.” And if you as an editor with a good conscience can say, “You know, you might have read it, but it’s now a very different paper”, then it might work. But it rarely is.

Question 2: My name is (audio unclear). I’m from the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia and my question is mostly directed towards the monograph side of publishing. So, very roughly, is it better to approach a series editor or the editor for the topic of religion in general? If there’s a particular series at a publishing house that fits what the monograph would be about, which way would be better to go? Thank you.

JW: So the answer to that, predictably, is that you can sort-of do both. And which would I recommend? Probably if you already have had some contact with the series editor and maybe you at least know each other by name, or have been at the same conference, it might be quite useful to approach them in the first place, because they’ll be able to give you a bit of advice on how to put the proposal together in a way that’s going to appeal to an editor like me. However, having said that, most editors like me are generally pretty friendly and looking for ideas. So actually, if you approached us with an idea we would give you guidelines and say, “This is how to submit proposals. These are the sort of things we’re looking for.” Maybe the only sort-of advantage of coming to an editor first is that obviously, if you go to a series editor, you might be limiting yourself to that series. And it might be, actually, that the editor says, “Well, actually I think there might be another series that it fits in a little bit better.” So, obviously, we’ve got a wider view of our publishing output. And so rather than have the slightly awkward situation where you’ve got to extricate yourself from a series, you might want to approach an editor first. So I think if you’re very clear on which your proposal is for and it’s definitely going to fit that series, and you’ve got a professional relationship with the series editors, I think it’s absolutely not inappropriate at all to approach them. But it would be absolutely fine to approach the publishing editor as well. Because we’ll have a conversation anyway. So whether it comes in via them or comes in via me, we’ll always share that proposal and discuss it first.

SO: I think Michael Stausberg would like to answer this, too.

MS: I think, as a series editor, of course I would like you to contact me! Because I mean usually, as series editors, you have a clear understanding of what kind of things you want to have in your series. And the publishers might not always kind-of have the same clarity in vision for a series. And even as a series editor of course you might say, you know, “May be you might want to take it to this series?” So we do not just say usually “We don’t fit.” But we might also suggest other alternative series. And please bear in mind that the national publication landscapes are very different. So when you work with the British press they usually operate very differently from the German press, for example. Or an Italian one. So there are very big national differences in terms of how to proceed with proposals or, for example, British presses or Anglo presses are more averse to publishing PhD theses as they are (25:00). Whereas this is quite normal in Germany, for example, where they would require only minor revisions and not a complete rewrite of your work. So be aware that the publishing requirements, and strategies, and procedures, and timelines, etc. are very different according to which country you go to. And previously, that was kind-of not really for you to worry about, because if you wanted to publish in English you had to go to an Anglo publisher anyway. But now since also German or Italian publishers, or French ones even, publish in English you as an author also have much more choice to draw benefits from this relatively non-homogeneous publishing landscape.

SO: I’d actually like to take that kind-of question to Jenny and James about your experience of proposing for book-length projects?

JB: I think part of it is knowing your own field. If it’s quite a niche area or . . . I work in New Religious Movements. So in locating a list and a particular publisher I educated myself on where it would best fit. I looked at what had already been published, and also looked at a series. So in terms of marketing a monograph, it’s usually good to be in a series. So to take those kinds of things into account as well.

SO: You often have to cite this in your proposal as well – your own research, into the field that you’re publishing in. You have to know it a bit.

Question 3: I’m Anya, I did my PhD at Cambridge which I recently finished, and I’ve started post-doc-ing there, as well. I have a brief question about inter-disciplinarity. I know that Religious Studies is its own thing, but many people approach it as a subject from other fields. And I was wondering if you have any suggestions for scholars who are outside of the core area of research who would like to publish within Religious Studies?

MS: Well I think Religion has a very long tradition of trying to absorb work from scholars outside of Religious Studies. And so if you ask, “Does one get in, not being part of the tribe?” I’d say this isn’t really an issue, is it? But I think, actually, when you look at open access, there are quite a number of interdisciplinary journals that are leading. And my impression is that the disciplinary journals, they have a long history and they are quite established. And sometimes new ones come up, and new publishers want to start publishing journals etc. But basically they’re . . . the dyes are cast. And as long as these journals aren’t run by an association that uses membership fees to sponsor journals that might feed into open access. I think the traditional journals are not really at the forefront of this, but in the interdisciplinary fields that is very different. Because they aren’t kind-of part of these disciplinary power structures. So I think, on the inter-disciplinary field, the open access landscape is much more vibrant. And this might actually be a very interesting option for scholars to get published also more . . . and get a wider reading. Because you are in the open access landscape.

GA: I think it’s really important point that you raise. But not quite the way you raise it. I don’t think Numen would reject an article simply because you don’t belong to the tribe. Because we don’t actually know what tribe you belong to, in one sense. But I think what you really need to do, when you submit an article to a journal, is know what its editorial range is, what its agenda is, what its scope is. Because sometimes I get articles and it’s like, “Well, this would be a great article for a journal specifically devoted to a particular topic.” (30:00) But we’re trying to reach a more general readership of all scholars of religions. So if it’s too narrowly focussed then it’s not right for us. But that does not mean it’s not right for someplace else. And there are other ways that you can be out of scope as well. So have a sense for what the editorial policy of the journal is, what the journal is trying to accomplish, the kinds of article that they published in the past. It’s no guarantee that they’re not going to go out of that range. In Numen we’ve got a habit of publishing a lot of philologically very heavy material, but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to publish something that’s not philologically heavy .I would welcome things that aren’t philologically heavy. So if you have something that isn’t philologically heavy, think about our journal. But I think that’s what you need to do. Figure out what’s the editorial . . . what’s the journal trying to do editorially, and submit to them. You can always contact the editor, and the editor will let you know.

Question 4: My name is John, and I would like to ask a question on: how do we meet the challenges of the twenty-first century? I mean, do people still read the paper journals? The general public, not scientists, not limited . . .? I mean, I notice that my grandfather reads, but I don’t know what my children will be reading. Because the contemporary generation is only on the internet, not in the books any more. How do we, as scientists, meet this change and reach this audience, the general public?

SO: I know that Valerie Hall, at Equinox…

VH: Our journals are on-line, and definitely the print is going way down. So the preference is for on-line journals now, really. I mean, we have one journal which is only on-line. And I can see that others might potentially go that way. Or the other thing we’re thinking about doing is perhaps having just one print volume at the end of each year, with all of the issues in it, rather than sending out individual issues throughout the year. So it’s definitely moving towards on-line for sure, I think.

JW: I’ll add to that that again, books are slightly different. We would sort-of find at Routledge that the increase in the share of where our revenue comes from is getting more and more from electronic, but not as quickly as you might think. So it was a very fast increase and then it’s actually tended to plateau a bit. Do I think the technological changes are coming? Yes. But I think they’re actually not in every area of academia. I don’t think they’re going as quickly as people suspect they might. Because they’re still . . . some people still just prefer printed stuff, for all sorts of reasons. But I think all publishers are definitely having to react to people expecting . . . . The thing about making your content electronic is that it’s just much easier to find, in the great sea of information. So adding discoverability tools. And I think a lot of publishers are looking at how they can organise their content, how they can deliver their content in a way that you can find it, simply and easily, by typing in a couple of key search words. So I think that’s probably going to be one of the key challenges going forwards. It might still be in print but it’ll have to probably be print and electronic at all times so people can find stuff – and they might buy the print anyway, after that.

SO: And I don’t doubt, briefly, Joshua and Valerie, that you are now advising the future of publishing as publishers. And maybe either warning, or preparing authors, or changing things? So what would you say that you think is developing, that we need to know about perhaps?

VH: I’d have to think about that!

SO: I mean in terms of the commercial aspect, I guess that’s always a priority.

JW: OK. So, for many of us, governmental educational budgets, and maybe individual institutional library budgets have tended to shrink. (35:00)You know, it was the case that libraries would buy books just on the off-chance they might need them. But now, many of them have electronic systems where, basically, if enough people request it then they automatically order a copy. So that is obviously better for libraries, because they’re only buying what people want, and what people use. And that’s absolutely fair enough. But publishers are going to have to react to that by, it’s not just enough to be in the general field and probably someone will pick it up. Actually it’s got to be useful to somebody. So I would think, if you’re thinking about putting your proposal together, quite a lot of that proposal should be explaining to me, as an editor who’s going to read it, why is it useful? How does it fit into the general academic conversation that’s going on in your field? Because we are having to be more and more judicious about what we put through. Because things that are being bought are things that people are actively requesting to use – increasingly, anyway.

VH: Yes, I would definitely agree with that. I mean one of the things we are trying to do is publish more textbooks, and less monographs, probably. Sorry, fewer monographs. But yes. It’s definitely true about the libraries and it’s a customer-demand-driven acquisitions model now. So definitely e-books are increasing and print books are decreasing, in terms of sales, I would say. And also library packages are something we’re really pushing at the moment. So we have subject packages with journals and books, just journals, just books – libraries can choose which titles they want to have. You can have front lists, back lists, it’s basically bespoke packages for different libraries. So that’s kind-of where it’s going for us really, at the moment.

SO: And do people want to talk a little bit about what the process of reviewing is? You’ve indicated Greg, a little bit about the process, about where it goes to, and the stages. And is there anything more to add to that?

GA: What do you have in mind, specifically?

SO: With the journals, in general. Do they all follow the same pattern, do you think? Do they all have a checklist? And they all have two reviewers?

GA: I think the protocol these days has become two blind reviewers. If the reviewers disagree then I always try and get a third person, unless it’s something that I know about. And then I also try and assess, do I think the reviewer’s been fair? Or do I think the reviewer’s done a decent job? Some reviewers are very, very thorough. Some reviewers aren’t very thorough. Sometimes you can see personal animosity in the review, and you try and allow for that. And, as James said, you try and give the author some directions. I had cases where I’ve written to the author and I’ve said “This reviewer is just really a nasty person. Don’t take it personally. I disagree with . . . . There are things here that are worth considering, but don’t take it personally”, right?

SO: I have to say the first time I had something published was based off of a conference paper, because I was invited to submit the finished article. But it was still liable for revision or rejection. But that was my foot in. And I think that’s why presenting at conferences is also . . . . Because there’s lots of editors roaming around who might be looking for articles, as well. But obviously it depends. Some of these journals have this backlog. It maybe that you’re not hunting them out, but there’s probably lots of other journals who are actually looking for papers.

VH: Yes, we often publish papers with thematic issues, special issues, which come from conferences. So that would just be papers from a particular conference and that’s very successful. Sometimes they become book volumes as well, afterwards.

SO: Do you want to comment on that?

GA: I know Brill likes to have special issues for Numen, because they think that the different articles are going to feed off of each other. So if you’ve got a whole set of articles… like we had an issue on “Religion and Terrorism” that Jim Lewis edited. Mark Jeurgensmeyer was in there, Lorne Dawson was in there, and so on. And you know, that then attracts attention. Because it has higher visibility. So another thing to think about in terms of getting yourself published is not just to submit individual articles but try and get a group of people together to work on the same topic and then submit a whole block. (40:00) And that’s often received much more favourably.

SO: Yes. To propose a group of papers in a theme, or particular problem that you are addressing, together. Yes.

MS: If I just may comment on the backlog. There are different procedures, of course, among the journals. So for example with Religion, we first publish digital and then eventually it comes in an issue. But there can be a year, or one-and-a-half years, between these two dates. Whereas other journals . . . I think Numen still doesn’t have that. So then you are kind-of more dependent on when the next slot is free. But let me just add this. I think we do have very many journals out there. And the publishers, apparently, are eager to put out more journals because it gives kind-of payment up front if you have subscribers. So it’s apparently a lucrative strategy. And the field is an ecology, or a market, where all the time new players want to come in. And the question is are they sustainable? Is the thematic range too small or, I don’t know, or key actors disappear or shift their interest. But in general there are very many journals in the field. And in that sense, really, it shouldn’t be impossible to be published. It’s rather the contrary. The contrary fact is that there are very few good, or very good, articles out there. If you get them to us, we’d be delighted. So I think we can just say that. You get many articles, but the ones that really kind-of make a point, argue solidly, give a clean argument, have good documentation, make some contribution, are well-written and somehow relevant, are not that many. So I just wrote that down. I wanted to get that across. So on the one hand there aren’t that many good, or very good, or even shining articles out there. On the other hand, there are many journals. So don’t be kind-of discouraged. Try to seek journals that fit your articles. Don’t necessarily go to a generalist journal. If you have something that, for example, specifically deals with fieldwork then there is a particular journal on fieldwork in religion, which maybe isn’t of interest for a generalist journal. So try to screen the journal landscape and you’d be surprised how many journals there are. They are all craving for content, right? And that is basically… yeah. You want to add something?

GA: (Laughter) What I would say, coming to this . . . and I was thinking, there are plenty of opportunities out there. All you have to do to get published is have something important to say, and say it well, right? Have something important to say, and say it well. And then find somebody who wants to hear it. And you know, be really self-critical. But then also write, and write, and write. Human beings and human brains did not evolve to write, we’ve evolved to speak, right? Writing is a skill, writing is an art. It takes practice. But the more you do it, the easier it gets. And sometimes you may think you have a great article. Be critical. I mean you can write an article and then look at it: “I’ll bin this. This is garbage! Why did I write this?” Because you just don’t like it any more. But then, turn to something else and move on from there. But if you have something important to say, and you can say it well, somebody will publish it.

SO: We got to you in the middle, I think. You haven’t asked a question yet.

Question 5: I’m Monica, from SOAS. And I’m doing my PhD there now. And I would like to know how you deal with the different scenarios of knowledge production between the Global North and the Global South. So at the moment, your articles have to be paid for and a lot of people are being excluded, right, from accessing the knowledge and being part of the system of knowledge production? And, as somebody who is working in the Global South, I really would like to have my work being accessible to the people I’m working with. So now I’m facing this moral dilemma. On the one side, that is there, but on the other side I also would like to pursue a career in academia. So do you see any solutions to this, or any suggestions on this please?

SO: I’m thinking Greg Alles?

GA: Yes this is . . . I think that’s a really, really important question. And it doesn’t just involve publication, but it involves the entire academy. I think there’s . . . . It’s probably, maybe, a question that’s under people’s radars, right? But it’s still there. It becomes a real problem because scholarly conventions differ from one place to the next, to the next, to the next, right? And it’s not always easy for reviewers, for editors to . . . . I try and see, try and discern where people are coming from and see potential, and see whether they can be made into something that’s worthwhile, and try and give advice in that way. During my time at Numen, I’ve really wanted to bring in authors from different parts of the world. We don’t get much submitted from the Global South – I wish we did. You know, we don’t get much submitted from Asia. There are certain problems there in terms of linguistic facility, also certain problems in terms of the audience that people want to address. This is only tangentially related to what you asked. But one thing that’s been really frustrating for me . . . . But I understand where it’s coming from, because I’ve written in German. I can talk in German but my written German isn’t great, right? English, if you’re writing in English, or German, or French, whatever language you’re writing in, if it’s not your native language there are certain kinds of errors that people tend to make. And those, unless you learn the language at age five age six . . . . I think it was this room I heard a woman do a talk on language learning by adults, versus language learning by kids. And there are certain kinds of mistakes that adults are just going to make routinely, simply because of the way they learned languages, right? And as an editor, I’ve spent a lot . . . . When I first started with Numen, we didn’t have a copy editor and I spent a lot of time revising articles sentence by sentence, by sentence, by sentence – just reworking the English language. And that’s frustrating. And so it would be in your best interest, if English isn’t your first language – or German, French, whatever it is – to have someone read over the language and improve the language, so that it looks as good as possible when it’s submitted. Because it could be very interesting. But if it’s going to cost me a hundred hours of time to put it in a readable fashion, I’m going to think three times before I accept it. And, you know, I’ve spent way too much time revising people’s English. I’m happy to do it, but after a while one just says, “Enough is enough”. So keep that in mind. Because a lot of people here . . . .

SO: Make it easy for them.

GA: Make it easy for us. If you’re submitting an article in English, and I guess most people are. We’re supposed to publish in German and French, but we haven’t done it for years. If you’re submitting an article in English, have a native speaker look it over so it reads well. Because otherwise, it’s just a real headache. And then you’re going to think twice about it. So keep that in mind. Also keep in mind the scholarly conventions where you’re trying to publish.

SO: And now you’re also talking about access to the Global South as well. Not just from the Global South to publishing, but access to the Global North.

Monica (M): Yes, and how I personally can find a balance between on the one side trying to pursue a career in the West, where I’m living . . . (50:00).

SO: In English language journals.

M: And at the same time having my writings accessible to the people whom I’m working with, so that I also get a very honest and critical feedback. So that the knowledge is not legitimised only from one side.

SO: As far as I know, if something’s in translation you can publish it independently, I mean through a different publisher.

JW: That would depend on your contract.

M: But with the indexing . . . . Then it’s not part of one of these journal titles.

SO: Yes. Do you have partners with other . . .? I don’t know if that’s the kind of question you’re looking at. But you want your people that you work with to be able to read it?

M: Yes. So for example, in the university . . . . In, say, a university in Saudi. I have studied there as well, and I have seen that so many of the journals are just not accessible because the universities do not have the subscriptions. So it just becomes very difficult. And there is a very one-sided knowledge which is legitimised from the West, even though we are talking about other areas.

SO: Just briefly, yes.

VH: The only thing I can say is that for some journals we do have preferential rates for some parts of the world, so it’s worth looking on the journal website. Some of them are much cheaper.

SO: Sure, James. Yes.

JW: Simply that, as maybe the only other person on the panel who works on a non-English speaking journal, a non-English language journal: for a start, to make our work accessible to my colleagues in Russian universities – and we publish from a Russian university – our journal is open access, and is devotedly open access. Despite offers from Elsevier last year, we have decided to remain open access, to provide access to our Russian colleagues. And I have to reflect and repeat the sentiments offered earlier, that basically, of course, I have many excellent Russian colleagues who wish to publish in Western journals, who wish to publish in English. And often the boundary . . . the problem isn’t language; they can write perfectly acceptable English with a few corrections here and there. It’s simply the academic Russian style and the English or Anglo academic style are almost . . . are extremely different. And when you’ve put this into . . . when a Russian has written an English article, it does look, you know, very different. And it sometimes won’t be accepted by an English or Anglo Academic journal precisely because the style is different. The Russians, they like their point-by-point argumentation rather than a narrative, for instance. I’m a historian, so in British historical journals in particular, we like a nice narrative, a nice story. We don’t like this point-by-point analytical argumentation.

SO: I just wanted to say that we haven’t actually talked about the pay-to-publish . . . which you might feel under pressure to do as a new scholar. And don’t do it. Try to find other ways first. But I would like to end, actually, with our final advice in maybe one sentence. I know Michael has a list. But if you can give some final advice about what you wish the people who approach you had in mind, or could do, before they approach you to submit an article?

MS: Let me say something more general, please. On the one hand, please don’t let yourself be irritated or discouraged by the fact that everybody else seems to be publishing much more than you do. This is, I think, something that we all think. “All the others are much more productive.” I mean set yourself a realistic goal: what can I achieve given my constraints? Don’t think of, I don’t know, seven pieces or articles when you have lots of teaching to do. Make clear what you can achieve, and don’t try to get kind-of distracted in all sorts of directions. And also, don’t try to overpublish. There is the tendency to think that if you have a publication list of twenty titles, you’ll get hired. If you only have three, you don’t. I think it doesn’t really work that well if you have ten articles that basically all say the same thing, (55:00) and quote the same sources. That will also, basically, at some point, be held against you by some committee. So, rather, try to do some really good pieces rather than do tons of things that are basically identical. And another thing is, I think there are two pitfalls. One is you can be a perfectionist and the other one you can be sloppy. And you should avoid both. If you are a perfectionist you will never end up publishing anything, because you will always be unhappy. So even if you are unhappy, spread the paper. Often people really like what you write, even though you don’t. So it helps you to kind-of get . . . it’s always good to get . . .

SO: Other perspectives.

MS: Not only to get the criticism, but also to get encouragement. But don’t be sloppy, either. I mean, really work on your writing. Get your argument across, and don’t try to take short cuts. So I think it’s in between. It’s in between these two things. And one final thing: something we do very little still in Religious Studies, or the Study of Religions, or whatever you might call it, is co-author. We get very few articles that are co-authored. Don’t you also, Greg? And I’ve co-authored with a handful of people. And it’s always been a very rewarding process. And some of the things that we’ve been talking about here actually become then part of the set up: that you comment on each other’s pieces. And I think this will be, also. . . . And when you get the reports back, you aren’t kind-of alone in receiving the feedback. I think this is really a rewarding experience. And I think we are still doing this to far too little a degree.

SO: I think rather than everyone answer, if somebody has something to add to that, that’s different? Greg, do you have something different to add to that? Or Valerie?

JWh: I’m just going to add, from my perspective as a young career scholar, in both the jobs I have now the attitude still is “publish or perish”. And you have to take that into account, as you’re publishing. As much as we would like to take all the time in the world to perfect and get our articles right, there is always going to be pressure on you from grant bodies, from university bodies, to publish as much as possible. This can make it difficult, sometimes, to get the kind of quality that you would like. I know from my position, I have to publish a certain amount in a year. You are going to have to learn to deal with this, I think, most certainly, to try and balance these two things between quality and pressure. But the thing that I would emphasise – especially if you haven’t published an academic article yet, you haven’t published your book – is, it is a learning experience. Your experience of writing so far is a long form dissertation, or long form thesis, not a ten thousand word article. It takes time to perfect that. So if your first article that gets published doesn’t satisfy your desire for quality, well, over time you’ll get better at short form writing, I think. Over time you’ll be able to perfect short form writing. I’ve certainly found, comparing my first ten thousand word article to the last couple I’ve written is, personally, I’m more satisfied with how I write short form now. So that’s my only advice.

GA: Two pieces, actually. One: don’t get discouraged. I don’t know how you feel. Writing for me is a very personal thing. I sort-of bleed myself onto the page, in a way. And if you get somebody who’s criticising you, that could be taken very, very personally. It can be a very discouraging experience. Don’t let that happen. You have to have a certain amount of self- confidence. Everybody gets criticism. Everybody gets rejected. And you can’t let that stop you. So I think that’s a really, really important point about where the writer comes from. The second thing – and maybe we’ve gotten away from this a little bit – for a while, everything that was published was “ground-breaking”, was “brilliant”, was “paradigm-shifting”! (1:00:00) I just hate that inflated rhetoric! I’d rather people be honest about what the contribution is that their article is making, and their manuscript is making, and not say “This is changing the paradigm! It’s going to change the way people think for the next two hundred years!” Because that just isn’t going happen. In most cases it’s not going to happen. So, just be honest to yourself and be honest to the people you’re selling the material to, about what the contribution is.

JB: I’ll add a very general piece of advice. The “publish or perish” situation is true. But try not to think of it that way – or try not to focus on that. Try not to focus on what will get you hired, or what will be funded, because it’s important to have passion for what you do. Because you need that if you’re going to be an academic. You need to love what you do, what you research, and to be enthusiastic about it. And when you publish, it opens up other opportunities. And the academy is a community. And there are many positive outcomes, and all of the different aspects of academia are interconnected. So, for example, people tried to dissuade me from publishing on areas that really have nothing to do with my main area of research, things that I’m personally interested in. So I am interested in popular culture and film studies, which is not the area that I work in. So I published something on that many years ago, and now I’m in a position to merge that into Study of Religions, into what I’m mainly doing now. So you know, follow what you most want to do.

SO: I have two audiences as well, and two fields. So you know it’s ok to do that. Last advice?

VH: Yes, I don’t have a lot to add. Just the idea of collaboration is brilliant, I think, for book projects and journal articles as well. And if you’re not collaborating, just try and get as much feedback from other people as you possibly can, and make sure that the kind-of remit of the piece of writing is appropriate for the word length that you’re given, as well. I think that can be a problem sometimes.

SO: And lastly, Joshua?

JW: Yes, ok. So I think I would say, firstly, that as a publisher I want your book to be good – because I want to do good books. So don’t feel like you have to come to me cap in hand. It’s actually . . . if you’ve got a good idea and a good book, I want to hear about it. I think, secondly, just think about how you’re explaining that idea. So if you can try and come out of your involvement with it for a second and think about it . . . put yourself in my shoes. If you’ve just got this email through, how might you react to it? And just a very small practical thing, if you were emailing someone like me out of the blue. What I quite like in an email: introduce yourself, say what stage you’re at, maybe a paragraph or something just explaining the book and then say, “Does that sound interesting?” Because if you just send me your thesis and go “Do you want to publish it?”, very honestly, I don’t have time to sit and read your whole thesis. I’ve got hundreds of emails a day, hundreds of projects to look through a year. So, just a brief summary that I can get the general gist of it, and that’s going to make me much more likely to respond to you quickly. If you leave it quite vague, I’m going put that on the I’ll-get-to-that-in-a-bit pile. That’s just a bit of honesty. Brief, concise detail in your initial contact with me will probably go a long way.

SO: Well, I think we will end it here. And I’d like to thank our speakers here answering questions, and also all of you for coming, and staying this long, and asking questions. And so thank you very much, and enjoy the rest of the conference. And come and speak to the publishers!

 

 

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- NonCommercial- NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. The views expressed in podcasts are the views of the individual contributors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of THE RELIGIOUS STUDIES PROJECT or the British Association for the Study of Religions.

EASR 2019 Publishing Panel (Classroom Edit)

This panel, recorded at the EASR conference 2019 at the University of Tartu, is intended for PhD students and early career scholars who want to learn more about the publishing world. We encourage listeners to watch the video version of this week’s episode on YouTube, which has timestamps in the video description for the different questions answered by these experienced editors and publishers in their hour-long discussion.   On the panel chaired by Suzanne Owen were Michael Stausberg, Gregory D. Alles, Joshua Wells, Valerie Hall, Jenny Butler, and James White.   This event was organized by the Estonian Society for the Study of Religions and University of Tartu in cooperation with Religious Studies Project, and was supported by the European Regional Developmental Fund (through Enterprise Estonia). We thank them for their generous help to produce this resource.    

You can download this interview, and subscribe to receive our weekly podcast, on iTunes. If you enjoyed it, please take a moment to rate us. And remember, you can use our Amazon.co.ukAmazon.com, or Amazon.ca links to support us at no additional cost when buying academic texts, sardines, popcorn, and more.   Original audio and transcript available at: https://www.religiousstudiesproject.com/podcast/easr-publishing-roundtable-2019/   PDF version of the transcript available here.  

Gender-as-Lived: Considerations in Ethnographic Methodology

virgin-mary-pics-1119

Virgin Mary

In the Religious Studies Project’s recent interview with Dr. Anna Fedele, Dr. Fedele and her interviewer discuss several aspects of interest related to the intersections of gender, religions, and power dynamics. Fedele’s book, Gender and Power in Contemporary Spirituality: Ethnographic Approaches (Routledge, 2013), is a collection of essays exploring the interaction of gender, gender norms, expressions of power, and those movements broadly identified as ‘spiritual’ or ‘spirituality’ (If you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, it is an excellent set of essays and well worth the read). Fedele’s current research involves Catholic women in Portugal and the idea of ‘spiritual motherhood.’ ‘Spiritual motherhood,’ in this context, means women who have chosen to be stay-at-home-mothers, breastfeed longer than the average, give birth at home, and/or practice attachment parenting. Fedele looks at not only the experiences of the women as mothers, but their experiences as daughters and granddaughters. Fedele observes that it is very important to understand a woman’s history to know how she conceptualizes gender and motherhood.

Early in the interview Fedele offers an answer to the not-so-simple question of ‘what is gender?’ Her answer is based in both her study of classical theories of gender as well as her extensive experience as an ethnographer: ‘gender’ is what the research participants believe it to be, rather than what the researcher believes it to be. Fedele states that in her research, she tries to understand what ‘gender’ means for the people she studies, especially what gendered images they have received from their mothers and grandmothers. This relates to religion as well, because the women receive a whole set of values from their mothers, and the Catholicism in which they grew up (and still live) tells them that the mother is the center of the family, the mother must always be there for the child, as well as other notions that may not reflect the lives of the women Fedele studies.

Fedele’s approach of being guided by the women she studies resonates strongly with my perspective on studying ‘religion(s).’ The identities claimed by the individual(s) or community being researched must be acknowledged and respected by the researcher, and communicated to the audience (reader, students in a seminar, etc.) along with the researcher’s perspective and conclusions. Fedele further emphasizes this point when she observes that an academic researcher must acknowledge the power issues present in a researcher-interviewee relationship: the academic doesn’t know everything, nor is the participant ignorant. Fedele provides an example from her recent research on women, motherhood, and gendered roles conveyed via religion. The women she interviews are highly educated, intelligent, and have read extensively on pregnancy and motherhood. They are then struggling to reconcile the message of the Catholic Church (that a pregnant woman is in a state of grace, and the ideals of motherhood exemplified by the Virgin Mary) with their lived reality of physical pain and illness, sexuality, and spurts of emotions such as anger or impatience.

Sandro Botticelli - 'The Virgin and the Child' (Madonna of the Book)

Sandro Botticelli – ‘The Virgin and the Child’ (Madonna of the Book)

Fedele also cautions that scholars have an awareness of their own assumptions about the research topic. Some of Fedele’s colleagues had made a couple of highly inaccurate assumptions regarding the Portuguese women in Fedele’s study (for instance, the idea that because the women identify as religious they therefore follow all of the dictates of the Catholic Church, especially regarding abortion); the women must be anti-abortion because they value motherhood so highly, or so the assumption went. But Fedele’s research shows a much more nuanced, complicated picture: the women are not uniformly anti-abortion, owing to a distinct contrast between their Catholic upbringing, which taught that abortion is wrong, and what the women feel in their bodies and the agency they claim.

Later in the interview, Fedele emphasizes that it is crucial for scholars to have an awareness of how the religion is lived, in reality, by the people being studied. She further states that religion only exists in the lives of people and that while religion in texts can be studied, it is not alive. For example, in practice this means that she looks at living women and their stories, and shares her writing with them. She keeps an open mind regarding what they tell her and is careful to use non-judgmental language. Fedele notes that the women aren’t always interested in Fedele’s conclusions – some just read sections about themselves for accuracy or to make sure they aren’t identifiable – but some engage with the research as a whole.

These are valuable lessons for scholars of not only religion and gender, but are more broadly applicable to all scholars of religion. Whether a scholar is studying a living community, as Fedele does, or researching a text, we must be aware of the assumptions we carry with us as scholars. A person living a religion may appear different than a text would lead the researcher to believe and living communities of the same religion will differ based on location. (A point also noted by Jeff Wilson in his 2012 book, Dixie Dharma.) Fedele also leaves the listener contemplating a thorny problem related to the study of religion-as-lived (her preferred phrasing instead of ‘lived religion’): Fedele’s in-depth, ethnographic research is at odds with the pressure within departments for faculty to expediently finish research so that it can be published quickly. This hurried model of research and publication – and the constraints on conducting ethnographic research while teaching – is ultimately detrimental to the field. The trust between scholar and participant cannot be rushed or forced because the scholar is on a deadline. What valuable insights is the field missing by making it difficult for scholars to perform extensive studies on living communities?

References

Fedele, Anna and Kim E. Knibbe, eds. Gender and Power in Contemporary Spirituality: Ethnographic Approaches. Routledge Studies in Religion Series. New York & London: Routledge, 2013.

Fedele, Anna. Looking for Mary Magdalene: Alternative Pilgrimage and Ritual Creativity at Catholic Shrines in France. New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.

Wilson, Jeff. Dixie Dharma: Inside a Buddhist Temple in the American South. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2012. (Paperback released in 2014)

Belief, Belonging, and Academic Careers

Almost twenty years ago, Grace Davie observed that despite plenty of studies into the ‘exotic edges’ of religion, ‘the picture in the middle remains remarkably blurred’. Seeking to address this imbalance and engage with the ‘beliefs of ordinary British people in everyday life’, Abby Day‘s recent book, Believing in Belonging (the first topic for this interview), builds upon her doctoral and later postdoctoral fieldwork, beginning within small communities in Yorkshire, and extending to a number of modern industrialised nations.

in this interview with Chris, recorded at the 2013 BSA Sociology of Religion Study Group Conference at Durham University, Day introduces listeners to the concept of ‘belief’ and sets out her own inductive approach, using semi-structured interviews, whereby definitions were allowed to arise from the field. Her central thesis acts as a focal point for a wide-ranging and insightful discussion on a variety of topics from nationalism and secularisation, to the usefulness of censuses as tools for measuring ‘religion’, to gender and belief in destiny. These themes are also picked up and developed in a recent volume published by Ashgate – Social Identities Between the Sacred and the Secular – which was co-edited by Abby, Chris, and Giselle Vincett.

Wearing one of her other hats, Abby also presents regularly on how to build an academic career, win research funding, and get articles published, and has published the books academic publishing and building an academic career.

You can also download this interview, and subscribe to receive our weekly podcast, on iTunes. If you enjoyed it, please take a moment to rate us. And remember, you can use our Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com links to support us at no additional cost when buying your important books etc.

Academic Publishing Roundtable

Publish, or be damned! But the world of publishing can be esoteric, especially the cloistered world of academic publishing. In this special roundtable discussion, recorded during the Australian Association for the Study of Religion annual conference last year, Zoe Alderton leads a group of academics with experience of all levels of academic publishing in a discussion which aims to demystify the process.

George, Zoe and Carole begin by talking about editing special themed Issues of academic journals. They talk about networking – that you have to make yourself available, but you have to put the work in when it’s needed. Alex then describes how a larger edited book is constructed from the proposals received. Simon then describes his experience of writing for an edited volume. Alex shares a cautionary tale about authorship and competition, and Carole recounts some less-than-positive experiences with editors.

Conversation then turns to the experience of being an editor yourself. George reads an email which he composed in order to reject someone as kindly as he could. Carole’s closing advice is “Write what you want, and write clear.” This podcast is essential information not only for prospective Religious Studies scholars, not only the humanities and social scientists, but anyone aiming for a career in academia.

Thanks to Zoe for chairing this, to Carole and Don for opening their home, and to Annabel Carr for providing photographs. And thanks to all the participants for an informative and entertaining recording.

You can also download this interview, and subscribe to receive our weekly podcast, on iTunes. And if you enjoyed it, please take a moment to rate us, or use our Amazon.co.uk link to support us when buying your important books etc.

Zoe Alderton is a PhD candidate in the department of Studies in Religion at the University of Sydney. Her thesis concerns the New Zealand artist Colin McCahon and the nature of his audience reception. Zoe’s main interests are religion in modern art and religious communication via new media. Her recent publications include a discussion of the inheritance of Theosophy in Australian modernism, and an exploration of the contentious politics surrounding the Blake Prize for Religious Art. Upcoming publications concern imaginative pilgrimage in the work of Colin McCahon, and a discussion of the motifs in his beachside theology. Zoe is also a tutor in Sociology for the University of Western Sydney and reviews editor for the journal Literature & Aesthetics.

Carole M. Cusack (Professor in Studies in Religion at the University of Sydney) trained as a medievalist and her doctorate was published as Conversion Among the Germanic Peoples (Cassell, 1998). Since the late 1990s she has taught in contemporary religious trends, publishing on pilgrimage and tourism, modern Pagan religions, new religious movements, the interface between religion and politics, and religion and popular culture. She is the author of The Essence of Buddhism (Lansdowne, 2001), Invented Religions: Imagination, Fiction and Faith (Ashgate, 2010), and The Sacred Tree: Ancient and Medieval Manifestations (Cambridge Scholars Publishing), 2011. She has published in a number of edited volumes, and is the editor (with Christopher Hartney) of Religion and Retributive Logic: Essays in Honour of Garry W. Trompf (Brill, 2010). With Christopher Hartney (University of Sydney) she is editor of the Journal of Religious History (Wiley) and with Liselotte Frisk (Dalarna University) she is editor of the International Journal for the Study of New Religions (Equinox). She serves on the Editorial Boards of the journal Literature & Aesthetics, and of the Sophia Monograph Series (Springer).

Alex NormanAlex Norman (“the Tourism Guy”) lectures at the Department of Studies in Religion at the University of Sydney, where he completed his doctorate in 2010. His central research interests revolve around the confluence of travel practices and religious practices. His book Spiritual Tourism (Continuum 2011) examines the intersection of travel and secular spiritual practice by contemporary Westerners. His other main research interest is in new religious movements, and in 2012 he co-edited the Handbook of New Religions and Cultural Production (Brill 2012) with Carole M. Cusack. From 2010 to 2013 Alex was co-editor of Literature & Aesthetics, culminating in a special issue examining travel and literature published in 2012. His latest research project looks at the various ways in which travel events and traditions have impacted the formation of new religious movements.

George Ioannides studied comparative religion as part of his Undergraduate degree at the University of Sydney, Australia.

 

 

Simon Theobold is a graduate student in the Archaeology and Anthropology department of the Australian National University. His current research examines food taboos in contemporary Australia.

Sarah K. Balstrup is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Studies in Religion at the University of Sydney, and you can follow this link to read her paper Sentient Symbols: The Implications of Animal Cruelty Debates in Contemporary Australian Art.

 

Roundtable: Building an Academic Career

Jonathan, Chris, Kevin, Carole and the back of Louise’s head…

David was taking the photos this time

During her recent trip to the UK, the Religious Studies Project managed (with the promise of copious Pink Gin) to persuade Professor Carole Cusack to take part in a roundtable discussion. She suggested that we discuss how to build an academic career – advice which she has been generous with to many people in the past. That having been agreed, we rounded up a few of our regular discussants – and, for the first time, Louise Connelly, our hitherto silent third partner – in the imposing setting of the University of Edinburgh’s Rainy Hall. We think we managed to produce something which should be of at least some use to any aspiring academic in the social sciences… we’d love to hear if you think so too!

David: “Don’t wait to be given permission… if it is interesting, it will work!”

In these financially hard times, the role of the academic is changing; the reasons for people going to university are changing; and universities are constantly changing the configuration of their departments. Topics covered in this discussion include:

  • the importance of publication, and the relative merits of different publications;
  • getting teaching experience;
  • services to the discipline and the community
  • conferences and networking (Chris Cotter, of course)
  • what to put in your CV
  • how to keep up-to-date with your field
  • and much more…

It is worth mentioning, of course, that this is all just advice and should be taken as such. The experience of others may be entirely different and we cannot, of course, be held responsible for any unforeseen consequences of following the advice contained herein.

Carole: “One of the tragedies of academic work is that it sees no audience […] if [theses] only see an audience of two or three examiners they are essentially exercises in waste.”

Links mentioned in the podcast (likely not comprehensive):

Carole: “You can’t double-dip: [if] you put something into research [on your CV], it doesn’t go somewhere else”

 

Participants:

“Roundtable Regular” Kevin Whitesides completed his B.A. in Religious Studies at Humboldt State University. He has recently completed an MSc dissertation at the University of Edinburgh on ’2012′ millennialism as part of a broader emphasis on countercultural transmission. Kevin has contributed articles to ‘Archaeoastronomy’ and ‘Zeitschrift fur Anomalistik’, has contributed chapters for two anthologies on apocalypse and prophecy, and has presented widely on the ’2012′ milieu at academic conferences and universities.


What is Phenomenology? for the Religious Studies Project.


David G. Robertson is a Ph.D. candidate in the Religious Studies department of the University of Edinburgh. His research  examines how UFO narratives became the bridge by which ideas crossed between the conspiracist and New Age milieus in the post-Cold War period. More broadly, his work concerns contemporary alternative spiritualities, and their relationship with popular culture. Forthcoming publications: “Making the Donkey Visible: Discordianism in the Works of Robert Anton Wilson” in C. Cusack & A. Norman (Eds.), Brill Handbook of New Religions and Cultural Production. Leiden: Brill (2012) “(Always) Living in the End Times: The “rolling prophecy” of the conspracist milieu” in When Prophecy Persists. London: INFORM/Ashgate (2012). For a full CV and my MSc thesis on contemporary gnosticism, see my Academia page or my personal blog.


Carole M. Cusack (Associate Professor in Studies in Religion at the University of Sydney) trained as a medievalist and her doctorate was published as Conversion Among the Germanic Peoples (Cassell, 1998). Since the late 1990s she has taught in contemporary religious trends, publishing on pilgrimage and tourism, modern Pagan religions, new religious movements, the interface between religion and politics, and religion and popular culture. She is the author of The Essence of Buddhism (Lansdowne, 2001), Invented Religions: Imagination, Fiction and Faith (Ashgate, 2010), and The Sacred Tree: Ancient and Medieval Manifestations (Cambridge Scholars Publishing), 2011. She has published in a number of edited volumes, and is the editor (with Christopher Hartney) of Religion and Retributive Logic: Essays in Honour of Garry W. Trompf (Brill, 2010). With Christopher Hartney (University of Sydney) she is editor of the Journal of Religious History (Wiley) and with Liselotte Frisk (Dalarna University) she is editor of the International Journal for the Study of New Religions (Equinox). She serves on the Editorial Boards of the journal Literature & Aesthetics, and of the Sophia Monograph Series (Springer).


Christopher R. Cotter recently completed his MSc by Research in Religious Studies at the University of Edinburgh, on the topic ‘Toward a Typology of Nonreligion: A Qualitative Analysis of Everyday Narratives of Scottish University Students’. He is currently taking a year out from study to present at conferences, complete various writing projects, and work on projects such as this. His PhD research at Lancaster University (commencing October 2012) will continue to expand the theme of ‘non-religion’ to apply to ‘everyone’ in religiously diverse, socio-economically deprived urban environments, simultaneously deconstructing the religion-nonreligion dichotomy in the process. He is Editor and Bibliography Manager at the Nonreligion and Secularity Research Network, and currently editing the volume ‘Social Identities between the Sacred and the Secular’ with Abby Day and Giselle Vincett (Ashgate, 2013). See his personal blog, or academia.edu page for a full CV.


L Connelly ImageLouise Connelly, Ph.D., currently works as an Online Learning Advisor for the Institute for Academic Development at the University of Edinburgh. She also teaches short-courses in Hinduism and Buddhism through the Office of Lifelong Learning at the University of Edinburgh. Her Ph.D. thesis is titled “Aspects of the Self: An analysis of self reflection, self presentation and the experiential self within selected Buddhist blogs” (University of Edinburgh). Her research interests include early Buddhism, visual culture, the use of social media, and Buddhist ritual and identity in the online world of Second Life. Her recent publications include ‘Virtual Buddhism: An analysis of aesthetics in relation to religious practice within Second Life’, Heidelberg Journal of Religions on the Internet (2010); ‘Virtual Buddhism: Buddhist ritual in Second Life’ in Digital Religion: Understanding Religious Practice in New Media Worlds, Campbell (ed.) (2012); and Campbell and Connelly, ‘Religion and the Internet’ in the Encylopedia of Cyber Behavior,  Zang (ed.) (2012). See her personal blog or website for a full CV.


“Thanks for Listening”

It was somewhat fitting that this roundtable ends with these sage words from Mr Whitesides. We were very privileged to enjoy Kevin’s company during his eventful year in Edinburgh, and look forward to welcoming him back to the Religious Studies Project in the future. We hope you shall join us in wishing him the best for the coming months back at his home in California.

In the picture below, Dr Steven Sutcliffe, Dr Arkotong Longkumer, David Robertson and Kevin himself made some music at a recent University of Edinburgh event. We won’t embarrass them by putting up the video though…

image of books

Religious Studies Opportunities Digest (25 May 2012) – Jobs, Seminars, Books, Conferences and more…

25 May 2012 Issue

image of booksWe are not responsible for any content contained herein, but have simply copied and pasted from a variety of sources. If you have any content for future digests, please contact us via the various options on our ‘contact’ page.

In this issue:

  • Advanced Notice – Journals
  • New Books
  • Conference Announcements
  • Jobs
  • Scholarships
  • Calls for Papers
  • Seminars

ADVANCED NOTICE – JOURNALS


Culture and Religion, vol 13, issue 2, 2012 http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rcar20/13/2

Sociology of Religion, May 2012, http://socrel.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/recent?etoc

Journal of Korean Religions, Volume 3, Number 1 (April 2012). Guest edited by Boudewijn Walraven and titled “Late Chosŏn Buddhism,” this issue adds to the body of work challenging stereotypical appraisals of the Buddhist world of the Chosŏn dynasty. http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/journal_of_korean_religions.


NEW BOOKS

Buddhism Across Boundaries: The Interplay of Indian, Chinese, and Central Asian Source Materials, edited by John R. McRae and Jan Nattier.

Download: http://sino-platonic.org/complete/spp222_indian_chinese_buddhism.pdf


CONFERENCE ANNOUNCEMENTS


The University of Bucharest

The Faculty of Letters

The “Goldstein-Goren” Center of Jewish Studies

 

International Conference on

The Jews of the Mediterranean

Bucharest, New Europe College, 24-25 May 2012

Conference Program

Thursday 24th of May 2012

1st Session

Chair and opening remarks: Andrei Oişteanu, Institutul pentru Istoria Religiilor – Academia Română, Centrul de Studii Ebraice “Goldstein Goren” – Universitatea din Bucureşti

10.00 Opening of the Works of the Conference

10.15 Anca Manolescu, Cercetător şi publicist: Filon din Alexandria şi întâlnirea religiilor ca filozofii (Philon of Alexandria and the Phylosophical Encounter of Religions)

10.40 Andrei Cornea, Centrul de Studii Ebraice “Goldstein Goren”, Secţia de Studii Europene – Universitatea din Bucureşti: The Jewish Shabbat – A Day of Fast?

11.05 – 11.20 Coffee Break

11.20 Adrian Pirtea, Centrul de Studii Ebraice “Goldstein Goren” – Universitatea din Bucureşti, Freie Universiät, Berlin:  Late Byzantine Jewry and the Transfer of Islamic Esotericism to Europe

11.45 Cristina Ciucu, CNRS, Paris: (Again) on Tzimtzum and Exile – On the Circulation of Some Kabbalistic Ideas in the Mediterranean World during the 15th.-16th. Centuries

12.10 – 12.30 Discussions

12.30 – 14.30 Lunch

2nd. Session

Chair: Andrei Cornea, Centrul de Studii Ebraice “Goldstein Goren”, Secţia de Studii Europene – Universitatea din Bucureşti

15.00 Roberto Bachmann, Portuguese Association of Jewish Studies, Lisbon: The Portuguese Jewish and Marrano Diaspora and Their Integration among the Mediterranean (Jewish) Communities upon Their Exodus from Portugal after 1506

15.25 Măriuca Stanciu, Centrul de Studii Ebraice “Goldstein Goren” – Universitatea din Bucureşti, Biblioteca Academiei Române: Jewish Dukes and Romanian Voievodas – On the Ties between the Sephardic Ottoman Elite and Romanian Princes

15.50 Ivan Biliarsky, Bulgarian Academy of Science, Varna University: Two Documents Concerning the Matrimonial Relations among the Balkan Jews in the Late Middle Ages

16.15 Carol Iancu, Université „Paul Valery”, Montpellier: Evreii din Marsilia: un secol de istorie, de la Revoluţia Franceză la Afacerea Dreyfus

16.40 – 17.00 Discussions

17.00 More discussions over a glass of Rotenberg wine

Friday 25th of May 2012

1st Session

Chair: Liviu Rotman, SNSPA, CSIER, Centrul de Studii Ebraice “Goldstein Goren” – Universitatea din Bucureşti

10.00 Silvia Planas Marce, Museu d’Historia des Jueus i L”Institut d’Estudis „Nahmanides”, Girona: Daughers of Sarah, Mothers of Israel, Jewish Women of Girona

10.25 Minna Rozen, Haifa University: Romans in Istanbul: Tombstones and Manuscripts Tell the Story of a Jewish Family

10.50 Delia Bălăican, Biblioteca Academiei Române: Tipografia Samitca în viaţa urbei craiovene la sfârşitul secolului al XIX-lea şi începutul secolului XX (The Samitca Printing Press Co. and Its Influence on Craiova Urban Development during the Late 19th  and the Beginning of the 20th. centuries

11.15 – 11.30  Coffee Break

11.30 Victor Neumann Universitatea de Vest, Filiala Academiei Române, Timisoara:

Sefarzi şi ashkenazi în oraşele transilvano-bănăţene în secolele XVII- XVIII (Sephardim and Ashkenazim in Transylvania and Banat cities during the 17th – 18th centuries)

11.55 Yolanda Constantinescu, Academia de Muzica, CRIFS, Academia Română, Bucureşti: O privire asupra personalităţii lui Dimitrie Cantmir: sefarzi şi muzica sefardă (On Dimitrie Cantemir’s Personality Regarding the Sephardim and Sephardic Music)

12.20- 12.45 Discussions

12.45 – 15.00 Lunch

2nd Session

Chair: Mariuca Stanciu, Centrul de Studii Ebraice “Goldstein Goren” – Universitatea din Bucureşti, Biblioteca Academiei Române:

15.00 Karen Gerson Sarhon, Ottoman-Turkish Sephardic Culture Research Center, Istanbul: The Ladino Database Project Results as insight to the Current Situation of Judeo-Spanish in Turkey

15.25 Liviu Rotman, SNSPA, CSIER, Centrul de Studii Ebraice “Goldstein Goren” – Universitatea din Bucureşti: Continuitate şi înnoire în comunitatea sefardă din Bucureşti în a doua jumătate a secolului al XIX-lea (Continuity and Renewal within the Bucharest Sephardic Community during the 2nd. Half of the 19th. Century)

15.50 Cristina Toma, Societatea Romana de Radio: Bucureşti – panoramă sefardă (Bucharest – A Sephardic Outlook)

16.15 Alina Popescu, Centrul de Studii Ebraice „Goldstein-Goren”, Universitatea din. Bucureşti, Biblioteca Academiei Române, Bucuresti: Bucureştiul sefard şi sinagogile sale (Sephardic Bucharest and Its Synagogues)

16.40 Discussions

17.00 Closing of the works of the conference


Title: The annual two day conference hosted by the

Interdisciplinary Association for Philosophy & Religious

Studies (IAPRS)will be held at Edinboro University in April

2013

Location: Pennsylvania

Date: 2013-04-01

Description: The annual two day conference hosted by the

Interdisciplinary Association for Philosophy & Religious

Studies (IAPRS)will be held at Edinboro University in April

2013 (specific dates to be announced later). The conference

features undergraduate, graduate, and faculty presentations on

any topic in phi …

Contact: ssullivan@edinboro.edu

URL: www.sshe-iaprs.org/

Announcement ID: 194543

http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=194543


JOBS


University of Toronto – Scarborough, Humanities, Tung Lin Kok Yuen Visiting Professor in Buddhist Studies

Details: https://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=44550

Applications, consisting of a statement of interest with some indication of how a candidate will contribute to the Universitys programs (at most two pages), accompanied by a curriculum vitae,should be sent to buddhist-studies-search [at] utsc.utoronto.ca. The search committee reserves the right to ask for further materials from shortlisted candidates.

If electronic submission is not possible, applications may be mailed to:

TLKY Visiting Professor Search

Professor William Bowen, Chair

Department of Humanities

University of Toronto Scarborough

1265 Military Trail

Toronto, ON M1C 1A4

Canada

The deadline for applications is May 30, 2012.


Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Stirling

http://www.jobs.ac.uk/job/AEL392/lectureship-in-philosophy/

Grade 7 £31,222 to £35,939

Full time

Fixed term: 1 September 2012 – 31 December 2013

Job Reference: SCH00039

For further information, including details on how to apply, please see www.stir.ac.uk/jobs

Closing date: Monday 11 June 2012


Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Aberdeen

College / University Administration: College of Arts & Social Sciences

Position Type: Full-time

University Grade Structure: Grade 7

Salary From: £37,012. Salary To: £44,166.

Details: http://www.jobs.ac.uk/job/AEM086/lecturer-in-philosophy/

Application process: http://www.abdn.ac.uk/thefuture/

The closing date for the receipt of applications is 22 June 2012.


SCHOOL OF ORIENTAL AND AFRICAN STUDIES

University of London

Lecturer in Anthropology

£39,146 – £46,300 p.a. inclusive of London Allowance

Vacancy No: 000392

The Department of Anthropology and Sociology at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London invites applications for a permanent lectureship tenable from September 2012. Preference will be given to a candidate able to teach the ethnography of West or East Africa at undergraduate and Master’s level. The successful candidate would be expected to teach and develop other courses, assume normal administrative tasks including PhD supervision and must have an outstanding publication record.

You must have a PhD in Social Anthropology. It is expected that you will have expertise relevant to the vision and strategy of the School, including a strong interest in issues of particular importance to the developing world.

To apply for this vacancy or to download a job description/further information, please visit www.soas.ac.uk/jobs<http://www.soas.ac.uk/jobs>.

Closing date:  14th June 2012

Interviews are provisionally scheduled for week commencing: 16th July 2012


Please follow the link below for two new academic job opportunities in Theology and Religion at Durham. Please note the deadline of 8th June. I’d be happy to respond to any minor, informal enquiries. For formal enquiries or detailed questions, please contact my colleague and Head of Dept, Dr Robert Song (robert.song@durham.ac.uk).

http://www.joindurham.com/professorships/vacancies/search/category/arts-and-humanities


Arizona State University – Postdoctoral Fellowship in Science and

Religion

<http://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=44588>


Managing Editor/ Open Access Books in Theology, Religious Studies.

We are currently looking for candidates for Managing Editors for our Open Access Books program in Theology, Religious Studies, launched by Versita (www.versita.com).

Scholarly monographs and other book categories have been an important format of scholarly communication. For various reasons in the last decades they have faced significant challenges. We believe that Open Access may yield the best available solution for keeping academic monographs and other scholarly books alive. Open Access provides free and unrestricted online access to electronic books for all interested users. This model grows readership by hundreds or thousands of times versus the printed book. To cover the publication costs, we will charge a moderate fee to the institution supporting the author. However, for the first year or two we have decided to waive these fees, so we will neither charge the reader (or librarian) nor the author.

With over 250 Open Access journals in its portfolio Versita (www.versita.com) is one of the leading scholarly Open Access Publishers. Versita cooperates with Springer (www.springer.com) and in January 2012 the company was acquired by de Gruyter (www.degruyter.com), a prominent scholarly publisher with a 260-year history.

IDEAL CANDIDATE PROFILE

Ideal candidates should hold a PhD in the above mentioned discipline and have experience in both conducting research and teaching. They should have sufficient time available to complete their duties. Editorial experience is not required. Candidates must speak native or fluent English, be proficient in using computers, and have constant access to Internet.

BRIEF JOB DESCRIPTION

The Managing Editor’s chief responsibility is launching a program for the publication of scholarly books in Open Access model in the above mentioned discipline. The Managing Editor solicits and evaluates book proposals submitted by authors from around the world and coordinates work of other editors who solicit books in their discipline. The Managing Editor is also expected to cooperate with authors, reviewers and copy editors.

WHAT WE OFFER IN RETURN

Compensation is based on the number of books published under Managing Editor’s supervision. You will get a chance to combine publishing activities with academic and pedagogic work and have a unique opportunity to acquire experience in and understanding of professional scientific publishing while taking part in a pioneering project in a dynamically developing company.

If you are interested in this position, please send a cover letter and a CV (both documents in English) to hr12@versita.com  with “Managing Editor, Theology, Religious Studies” as your subject line.

If you wish to participate in our Open Access Books program as an author and submit a new book proposal in your discipline, please fill in our New Book Proposal Form available at http://www.versita.com/Book_Author/Form/ and return it in by e-mail to info@versita.com.

Versita offers its authors:

•    fair and comprehensive peer-review of submitted proposals and manuscripts, English language copy-editing by native English speaking specialists in the field (in some subject areas we accept also manuscripts in other languages)

•    professional composition of the manuscript in PDF format

•    hosting the book on MetaPress platform, which offers many functionalities, e.g. active links in references

•    printed copies sold to libraries and individuals, by Versita and distributors (e.g. Amazon)

•    complimentary printed copies for book author and editors

•    royalties for the author from print copy sales

•    indexing by Google and other search engines

•    e-book delivery to libraries and full-text repositories (e.g. Google Book Search)

•    Creative Commons copyright license

More information on our Open Access book publishing program can be found at http://versita.com/Book_Author/


SCHOLARSHIPS


Guest Scholarships 2012 CRC 933 “Material Text Cultures”

The Collaborative Research Centre (CRC) 933 “Material Text Cultures. Materiality and Presence

of Writing in Non-Typographic Societies” has been established by the German Research Founda

tion in July 2011 at Heidelberg University (collaborating partner: College of Jewish Studies, Hei

delberg). Researchers working in the field of cultural studies will investigate the material presence of writing in “non-typographic societies” that do not possess any or any widespread methods for the mass production of writing. Based on this investigation, those receptive practices are presented which in all probability took place at the writing due to its material presence. The ‘material text cultures’ thus identified in non-typographical societies will then be systematically described and compared with those of typographical societies. The fundamental research by the CRC 933 “Material Text Cultures” on text-bearing artefacts, especially those of the circum-Mediterranean zone, will be performed within a conceptual framework that has been developed from recent approaches in cultural studies.

The Research Training Group „Text Anthropology“ of the CRC 933 is now looking for guest graduate students with outstanding qualifications who can show that participating in the interdisciplinary research of the CRC 933 “Material Text Cultures” will be beneficial to their doctoral project and to the CRC 933. The Research Training Group offers a monthly scholarship of 1.250 Euros starting on October 1st 2012. Furthermore, it supports scholarship holders in offering graduate courses and individual mentoring. The scholarship is granted for one year.

Applicants, who should hold an M.A. or equivalent in a discipline of the humanities with an above-

average grade, should send their written applications (including a CV, a letter of intent, a project proposal and a letter of recommendation from their supervisor) with reference to “CRC 933” by July 15th 2012 at the latest to SFB 933 „Materiale Textkulturen“, Heidelberg Zentrum Kulturelles Erbe, Marstallstraße 6, 69117 Heidelberg/Germany. We regret that we cannot return application documents sent to us by regular mail. Details may be requested at danijel.cubelic@zegk.uni-heidelberg.de.

The University of Heidelberg actively seeks to raise the proportion of female employees in all previously under-represented areas. In keeping with this, applications are particularly requested from women with the appropriate qualifications. In the case of equal qualifications, severely disabled persons will receive priority.


CALLS FOR PAPERS

CFP: The Journal of Korean Religions (JKR) is published biannually, every April and October, by the Institute for the Study of Religion, Sogang University, Korea. It aims to promote interest in and discuss the study of Korean religions in various academic disciplines within the humanities and social sciences. A peer-reviewed journal, JKR publishes articles of original research, review articles, book reviews, and current issues which seek to discuss, elaborate, and extend the study of Korean religions. Our work is featured in both print and digital form, published by the University of Hawai’i and served online by Project MUSE: http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/journal_of_korean_religions.

JKR invites contributions from scholars researching on any aspect of Korean religions from a wide range of perspectives, including religious studies, philosophy, theology, literature, folklore, art, anthropology, history, sociology, political science, and cultural studies. Articles submitted for consideration should not have appeared or be under review for publication elsewhere. JKR also welcomes book reviews and review articles. All submissions and inquiries should be sent to the Managing Editor: journalkr[at]sogang.ac.kr. Submission guidelines can be found at: http://bit.ly/JKRsubguide.


Call for Papers

Demons and Illness: Theory and Practice from Antiquity to the Early Modern Period

Centre for Medical History, University of Exeter

22 – 24th April 2013

In many near eastern traditions, demons appear as a cause of illness: most famously in the stories of possessed people cured by Christ. These traditions influenced perceptions of illness in Judaism, Christianity and Islam in later centuries but the ways in which these cultures viewed demons and illness have received comparatively little attention. For example, who were these demons? How did they cause illness? Why did they want to? How did demons fit into other explanations for illness? How could demonic illnesses be cured and how did this relate to other kinds of cure? How far did medical or philosophical theory affect how people responded to demonic illnesses in practice?

This conference will take a comparative approach, taking a wide geographical and chronological sweep but confining itself to this relatively specific set of questions. Because Jewish, Christian and Islamic ideas about demons and illness drew on a similar heritage of ancient religious texts from New Testament times to the early modern period there is real scope to draw meaningful comparisons between the different periods and cultures. What were the common assumptions made by different societies? When and why did they differ? What was the relationship between theory and practice? We would welcome papers which address these issues for any period between antiquity and the early modern period, and which discuss Christian, Jewish or Islamic traditions.

The conference is hosted by the Centre for Medical History at the University of Exeter, on April 22nd-24th, 2013. Please send abstracts by 15th September 2012 to the conference organizers, Catherine Rider and Siam Bhayro, Centre for Medical History, University of Exeter: email c.r.rider@exeter.ac.uk or s.bhayro@exeter.ac.uk.


The Board of Editors of the interdisciplinary journal Quaderni di Studi Indo-Mediterranei

(http://www2.lingue.unibo.it/studi indo-mediterranei/ ; (http://qusim.arts.ubc.ca/)

is soliciting contributions to its sixth thematic volume, scheduled to appear in 2013.

This issue will contain twelve to fifteen essays addressing the theme of the cultural

and religious interactions between Hebraism, Christianity and Islam.


The “Three Rings” parable, known in Western culture mainly through Boccaccio’s

novella in the Decameron and Lessing’s Nathan der Weise, has been subject to research

for a hundred years or so. Some scholars have argued that the parable originated in

Spain, but its exact source remains unknown. In any case, the emergence and

development of his suggestive message, including the eight and sixteenth centuries,

evidently origins in the Mediterranean context of intercultural and inter-religious

relations between Jews, Christians and Muslims.

In particular, Western esotericism has been characterised as the combination of

Alexandrian Hermeticism, Neo-Platonism and related religious philosophies of late

antiquity and the traces each has left in the three Abrahamic religions. For this

process, very important was the uninterrupted translation of texts between Arabic,

Latin and Hebrew languages. Still today these three Mediterranean cultures are mixed

together in narrow and interesting plots.

All aspects of the cultural connections between Hebraism, Christianity and Islam in

history of religions, theology, philosophy, mysticism, esotericism, literature, visual

arts, music and folklore are welcome.

Please send proposals for essays (250 to 350 words) accompanied by a bio-

bibliographical sketch to Alessandro Grossato (alessandro.grossato@lett.unitn.it), by

September 30, 2012.

Quaderni di Studi Indo-Mediterranei accepts proposals and essays in all major European

languages. The editors of the volume will strive for a balanced and diversified table of

contents. They will confirm accepted submissions by December 2, 2012.

Subsequently, the final deadline for submitting the completed essays will be June 1,

  1. The average length recommended for each contribution is of 6,000 words, with

a maximum length allowed of 7,000 words, including footnotes and bibliographical

references.


The journal Quaderni di Studi Indo-Mediterranei is based at the University of Bologna,

Italy, and is supported by ASTREA (Associazione di Studi e Ricerche Euro-

Asiatiche). Editor in Chief: Carlo Saccone; Board of Editors: Daniela Boccassini,

Alessandro Grossato, Carlo Saccone.

The journal counts among its editorial associates world-renowned specialists from

major European and North American Universities.

For further information on the journal’s mission and an overview of previous issues

please go to: http://www2.lingue.unibo.it/studi indo-mediterranei/ (Italian website)

http://qusim.arts.ubc.ca/ (North American website)

Quaderni di Studi Indo-Mediterranei is committed to upholding a high profile in

comparative studies and the highest standards of peer-reviewed scholarship.


Title: Special Issue on Religion and the Paranormal

Date: 2012-08-01

Description: The journal Nova Religio is currently seeking papers

for a special issue on religion and the paranormal. In the last

few years, several good books have appeared that consider

so-called paranormal beliefs, discourses, and experiences as an

object of inquiry for religion scholars. Like the category re

Contact: jlay@bu.edu

Announcement ID: 194634

http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=194634


SEMINARS


An Open Meeting at St. Marylebone Church, 17 Marylebone Road,

London NW1 5LT

Thursday 14th June 2012 from 2-4pm

THE UNIQUENESS OF SPIRITUAL CARE

Making the spiritual real: from research into training and practice

The challenge for all mental health services is to integrate spiritual care within care

planning in order that those who use the services receive true holistic care. Using a

combination of training, research and care planning Nigel will outline a research

project he has undertaken in partnership with nurses to deliver high quality spiritual

care. It is his belief that those of us engaged in delivering spiritual care need to base

all provision of care upon the foundation of robust research. He will outline the

model of research that he believes to be appropriate for researching the effectiveness

of spiritual care.

DR NIGEL COPSEY is the Team Leader for Spiritual Care in the East London

Foundation Trust and Surrey and Borders Partnership Foundation Trust. He has

published two research papers in the field of psychiatry and mental health for

the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health. He has also contributed to a number of

psychotherapy publications in the area of spirituality and mental health. Nigel is a

visiting lecturer at several London Universities as well as being a Programme

Leader in the psychology department of UEL. Nigel is an Anglican priest and an

accredited psychotherapist.

To register for this free seminar contact: info@mhspirituality.org.uk

Map and more information on the venue (on Jubilee Line, Baker Street Station)

obtainable on this link:

www.stmarylebone.org.uk/HandC01.htm

For more information about the National Spirituality and Mental Health

Forum see website: www.mhspirituality.org.uk


Centre for Child and Youth Research, Brunel University

 A QUESTION OF RELIGION: YOUNG PEOPLE and identity IN CONTEMPORARY MULTI-FAITH BRITAIN

Friday, 29th June 2012

10.30am – 4.30pm

MS114, Mary Seacole Building, Brunel University

Chair: Professor Judith Harwin, Centre for Child and Youth Research, Brunel University

10.30 – 10.50      Refreshments

10.50 – 11.00      Welcome to the seminar!

11.00 – 11.50      Young British Muslims finding their voice: from alienation to engagement

Dr Philip Lewis, Department of Peace Studies, University of Bradford

Young British Muslims are developing the confidence to engage British society and make the most of the institutional spaces opening up in which they can participate. This paper explores some of the encouraging debates now being heard – not least British Muslims contributing ‘Islamically’ to debates within education, social services and chaplaincy. It also addresses how intergenerational tensions are being played out by referring to a seismic political change in Bradford where the Respect candidate recently defeated the Labour candidate in one of the safest Labour seats. The important development from Islamist to post-Islamist politics is also discussed.

 

11.50 – 12.40      Young Sikhs

Jasjit Singh, University of Leeds

This presentation will outline findings from doctoral research on religious transmission among young British Sikhs (18-30). Focusing on a number of arenas of transmission including families, Sikh camps and the internet, this presentation will outline the ways in which these various arenas allow young British Sikhs to engage with their faith. It will also demonstrate how many religious identity practices result from religious socialisation in the family.

12.40 – 13.30      LUNCH

13.30 – 14.20      The Youth On Religion project: Young people and the negotiation of identity in three diverse urban locations

                               Professor Nicola Madge, Centre for Child and Youth Research, Brunel University

The Youth On Religion project surveyed over ten thousand young people, and talked to over 160, in secondary schools and colleges in the London Boroughs of Hillingdon and Newham, and Bradford in Yorkshire. Participants came from a range of faith and non-faith positions, and provided a wealth of information on the meaning of religion in their young lives. It was very apparent that families guided their initial religious direction but that peers, school, the community and their own personal experiences and agency became increasingly important as they grew older. This presentation examines the meaning of religious identity for young people and documents some of the landmarks they pass in their religious journey.

14.20 – 15.00      YORvoice: Youth On Religion

Young people from the London Borough of Hillingdon, who participated in YORvoice, part of the Youth On Religion project, present some of their views on religion and its impact on young lives.

15.00 – 15.15      TEA AND BISCUITS

15.15 – 16.00      Growing up with disability in Pakistani Muslim families

Dr Debbie Kramer-Roy, Lecturer in Occupational Therapy, Brunel University

This paper presents findings from a study of Pakistani Muslim families bringing up disabled children. Religion was a strong part of their daily lives, and parents talked about how personal faith influenced the way they experienced becoming the parents of disabled children and living with them in their communities. While mothers tended to talk about the shift from feelings of distress and shame to considering their child a blessing from God, fathers reported how they turned to religious leaders and scriptures to learn more about disability and its meaning. Siblings reported generally positive views but also indicated some frustration at the restrictions that a disabled brother or sister imposed.

16.00                     END OF SEMINAR

NB There is no charge for this seminar and lunch is provided

If you would like to attend, please email nicola.madge@brunel.ac.uk


Title: Summer Institute at Rutgers – Islam and the Muslim World –

July 16th-20th

Location: New Jersey

Date: 2012-07-16

Description: 2012 Summer Institute for Teachers at Rutgers Islam

and the Muslim World Where: Rutgers, the State University of

New JerseyNew Brunswick, NJ When: Monday, July 16 to Friday,

July 20, 2012 Cost: $300 The Center for Middle East Studies at

Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, is pleased to anno

Contact: areolive@rci.rutgers.edu

URL: mideast.rutgers.edu/islam-and-the-muslim-world

Announcement ID: 194590

http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=194590

image of books

How an Eerdmans Book is Born (In Sixteen Easy Steps)

The following piece was published back in August 2011 by Rachel Bomberger on EerdWord, the blog of Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. We think that it gives an invaluable insight into what goes on at a major publishing company when they receive your manuscript.

You can access the original article here http://eerdword.wordpress.com/2011/08/05/how-an-eerdmans-book-is-born-in-sixteen-easy-steps/ and find many other interesting posts on the main EerdWord site. This article has been republished with permission from EerdWord and the author, Rachel Bomberger. Rachel is the Internet marketing manager at Eerdmans. She loves reading, writing, and accidentally blurting out, “You’ve just got to read this amazing new book. Oh, wait, sorry, nevermind — I guess you’ll have to wait a few more months until it’s published.”


Things have been a little chaotic here at Eerdmans this summer. Eerdfolks have left; Eerdfolks have been shifted around; new Eerdfolks have been (and continue to be) brought in to fill the voids. The frenzy hasn’t left much contemplative space for creative reading and writing. All this is to say: I’ll have another book review coming soon. (I don’t know whether you enjoy reading them, but I sure enjoy writing them.) While you wait, however, here’s a little something I put together to help introduce all our new Eerdfolks to the magical world of book publishing. (It’s a smidge more up-to-date than our last “How a Book Is Made” document on record.)

Step One: Acquisitions

An editor finds a good book and talks the company into publishing it. (Sometimes these are “diamonds in the rough” — unsolicited manuscripts mined from the ever-present slush pile. Sometimes they come from literary agents. More often than not, however, our manuscripts seem to come from (a.) authors we’ve worked with before, (b.) authors published by other companies whose previous books we like, or (c.) first-time authors recommended by other authors with whom we have established relationships.) The author will be sent a formal contract, and the book is then on its way to publication, either heading straight to Step Three: “Disk-fixing” or taking a (sometimes lengthy) detour through Step Two: Project Development.

Step Two: Project Development

An editor works with an author or editor to turn a good idea into a good book. This can take a while, but it’s almost always worth the investment of time and effort that goes into it.

Step Three: “Disk-fixing”

Freelancers prepare a book’s electronic files for editing. We could call it “file conversion,” but that doesn’t have quite the same poetic ring as “disk-fixing.” This step can take between one week and many months, depending on the state of the files when they arrive and how long and/or elaborate the manuscript is.

Step Four: “Ready to Edit”

A book goes into the wine cellar for a time to mellow until it has taken on a smooth, oaky flavor. (Speaking less metaphorically, a disk-fixed manuscript sometimes has to wait a spell until its editor can finish up other projects and be ready to tackle it.)

Step Five: Editing

Editors work their editorial magic on manuscripts. They help authors organize and reorganize their thoughts; flesh out or condense their writing as needed; double check facts and data; make sure evidence is properly documented and footnotes are properly formatted; bring the book into line with house (and Chicago) style; smooth out uneven sentences or awkward wording; and generally whip the book into tip-top ship-shape. This can take as little as four weeks or as much as a year (or even longer). At this point the art department begins conceiving of a general design for the cover and a cover image and collaborating with the editorial team to make sure that the cover they have in mind adequately conveys the subject matter of the book. The editorial department will also be working to make sure that the book’s title is as strong, accurate, and attractive as it can be. It is at this stage, too, when a book is finally on the road to completion, that the marketing department will begin promoting it to booksellers, book distributors, and the like through Advance Title Information sheets (ATI) and catalogs and online.

Step Six: Design and Typesetting

Once the editors are at last satisfied with the style and content of a book, it is released to the production folks for typesetting — i.e., turning a collection of words and images and into something instantly recognizable as book pages and chapters. This takes an average of four weeks, but for some books with lots of photos, tables, and other tricky design elements, it can take years. After this, the book moves (rarely) into Step Seven: Galley Proofs or (more commonly) into Step Eight: First Page Proofs.

Step Seven: Galley Proofs

Very few books at Eerdmans go through “galleys” — generally only when the editorial team wants to move forward with typesetting and corrections but knows that the author will still be supplying a substantial amount of additional information down the line. Galleys are a sort of tentative page proofs — with footnotes tucked away conveniently at the end of chapters — that can shape-shift some as needed later on without causing too much extra trouble for the production folks.

Step Eight: First Page Proofs

By this step, the book is really starting to look like a book, with page numbers, margins, a title and copyright pages, and all the other “bells and whistles.” It’s still just a digital file of the interior pages, but several important processes can now move forward. Editorially speaking, both the author and a proofreader have the opportunity now to go over the book with a fine-toothed comb, picking through it for any and all errors, typographical or otherwise. (This usually takes about three weeks.) Once a book is “in proofs,” the marketing department is able to ramp up its efforts another notch as well. Publicists will begin sending perfect-bound page proofs to reviewers and media. The promotions department will also begin approaching endorsers to offer laudatory comments (“blurbs”) that can later be featured on the book cover and in other promotional materials.

Step Nine: Collating

Either the book’s editor or the managing editor will spend about a week transferring marks from both the author’s and the proofreader’s sets onto one master set of proofs.

Step Ten: First Corrections

The production team will use the collated marks to make corrections to the master PDF over the course of about two weeks.

Step Eleven: Linechecking

A diligent editor with a good eye (usually Milt) goes back over both the collated and the newly corrected proofs to make sure that every correction indicated by the author or proofreader has, in fact, been made. This usually takes less than a week. (Milt’s good.)

Step Twelve: Intermediate Corrections

(We’re not done yet. Aren’t we meticulous?) The proofs at this point will keep going back and forth between the editors and the production team until both sides are satisfied that all needed corrections have been made successfully.

Step Thirteen: Final Corrections

(Nearly there!) During this second-to-last step, the index and other end matter are completed and other last minute details and corrections are dealt with. This usually takes a week or two, but can very occasionally take much longer. Once a book is in final corrections, it’s also time to finalize the back cover or jacket copy. The copywriter will assemble catchy descriptive copy, endorsements, and biographical information about the author, which will then be edited and fine-tuned by the promotions manager. Once it’s just right, cover copy will be released to the designers for typesetting, and cover proofs will be proofread three or four times until every design element, every line break, and every jot and tittle in the text is perfect.

Step Fourteen: Interior at Printer

When both the interior and the cover of a book are ready, the production team issues a purchase order and releases the files to a printer for production. It takes three to four weeks to produce a paperback, about six weeks for a hardcover book.

Step Fifteen: In Stock

The books are here, and aren’t they beautiful! After taking a brief moment to gaze lovingly at them, the publicity and sales teams get straight to work. Copies are sent to the author, to other contributors, to endorsers, and to select reviewers. The publicist continues working to set up author interviews, book signings, and other promotional events. The sales team continues promoting the book to all their accounts, using each new review or piece of publicity to enhance their sales efforts.

Step Sixteen: Readers

Books are read. Stories are enjoyed. New and challenging ideas are pondered and discussed. Life is better, richer, and more thoughtful.

The end.