A Conversation with Early American Studies

Early American Studies coverLast Wednesday, the Brown Bag series at the McNeil Center for Early American Studies hosted a conversation with Dallett Hemphill, the current editor of Early American Studies. For those who were not able to attend, we at The Junto wanted to summarize the discussion and invite you to participate.

Hemphill explained that, as the scholarly journal of the McNeil Center, Early American Studies has a wide scope that is in keeping with the breadth of the Center’s activities. An interdisciplinary journal, EAS publishes research on “North America in the Atlantic World” through roughly 1850. Most of its articles concern the seventeenth or eighteenth centuries or the Early Republic.

EAS seeks to publish clear, engaging, well-argued pieces that make original scholarly contributions.  EAS also welcomes non-traditional content. Its department “Consider the Source” features discussion of primary sources. The journal will soon inaugurate a new department, “Class Acts,” with essays on undergraduate teaching.

Hemphill stressed that EAS is mindful of the pressures placed on junior scholars and so aims to provide a quick turnaround on all submissions. Hemphill and her editorial assistant, Sarah Rodriguez, a PhD candidate in History at University of Pennsylvania, first evaluate all submissions. Those that pass muster are then sent to two reviewers, who are urged to provide feedback within 30-45 days. In general, authors can expect to receive readers’ reports within three months of sending in their articles. The final time-to-publication then depends on how many revisions an essay needs, as well as when it can be slotted into the journal’s line-up.

Conversation then turned to the future of EAS, and to journals more generally. Two topics dominated the discussion.

First, Hemphill is pondering ways that the journal—either in its printed form or online—can reach out to and represent a broader range of early Americanist constituencies. She is particularly interested in expanding the journal’s discussion of teaching (“Class Acts” will be a first step) and of public history. The challenge, of course, is that writing on these topics does not necessarily take the shape of a “traditional” academic article.

Second, Hemphill is considering long-term strategies for expanding EAS’s online presence. The journal’s website could, for instance, post supplements to published articles, such as audio files, full-color images, or animated maps. Alternatively, the site could serve as a forum for timely and ongoing discussions, for instance of works-in-progress, museum exhibits, newly published books, or recent EAS articles. However, some of these options could be very labor intensive or are already available elsewhere online (for instance, on blogs, Common-Place, or H-Net).

And now, Junto readers, it’s your turn to weigh in:

Should academic journals devote greater attention to teaching and/or public history, and, if so, what form should this take?

What do you look for in a journal’s website? Which possibilities would you most like EAS to pursue for its website?

2 responses

  1. Interesting. I wish I could have been there. I think that journals can and should devote more time to teaching and/or public history. But it doesn’t need to be a totally separate thing. Lots of us spend time thinking about how to incorporate new research into our lectures. So, if you want to talk about teaching, then some (if not all) the scholarly articles should have some sort of appendix on usefulness in the classroom and/or museum/archive etc… setting. I can imagine an online version of EAS that includes some data that was the basis of scholarly article presented in such a way that teachers can use it in the classroom.

  2. Pingback: Remembering C. Dallett Hemphill « The Junto


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