Monday, July 20, 2009

The Ides of July

“Beware the Ides of July” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it to us as its March counterpart did to Julius Caesar, yet here we are, having finally assumed editorship of Museum Anthropology, and July is already half-over--indeed summer is half-over and 2009 is half-over! Yikes!

Despite these existential willies, we are eternally grateful that since the Council for Museum Anthropology (CMA) approved our editorial proposal in May 2008, a lot of transition work has already occurred, and we are now able to hit the ground running. Our thanks go immediately to outgoing editor Jason Baird Jackson, who did so much to put Museum Anthropology on a firm foundation. Our thanks also go to the competent staff at the AAA and Wiley-Blackwell. They have helped ensure a smooth transition process. We would also like to take this opportunity to introduce Christine Weeber, the journal’s new Editorial Assistant. She is a qualified anthropologist, writer, and editor in her own right, and we are lucky to have her on board.

Looking forward, the first issue under our tutelage (Spring 2010) will contain a series of essays by “Leading Voices” in the field. Our second issue (Fall 2010) will contain essays, commentaries, and reviews speaking to NAGPRA’s 20th anniversary (tempus fugit!). If you are interested in contributing to either of these volumes, please let us know as soon as possible by sending us an e-mail at The clock is fast running out on contributions for Leading Voices, but we welcome suggestions and ideas for the NAGPRA issue.

Some significant changes will occur with our first issue. The CMA has generously offered to fund a complete interior and exterior re-design of the journal. That said, we recognize that history matters, particularly in the museum field, and that we stand on the shoulders of many of our field’s giants. We therefore quote at length one of our editorial predecessors, Frank A. Norick of the-then Lowie Museum of Anthropology (now Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology) at the University of California at Berkeley:

“We are interested in receiving research papers on material culture, reviews of exhibitions and catalogues, progress reports on research projects, grants received, letters of outraged indignation to the Editor, news about staff appointments, job vacancies, artifact exchanges, decessions [sic], major acquisitions, state and federal legislation effecting [sic] museums of anthropology or institutions with anthropological holdings, and finally the obituaries of those anthropologists who served in the museum ranks.”

When Norick wrote this in 1981 (vol. 5, no. 3), the journal (really a newsletter at that time) was going through a particularly difficult period, suffering from a lack of submissions. The Lowie Museum’s anthropology staff filled that gap under some duress. As a result, the publication’s issues during this period read as a departmental newsletter, not as an esteemed international journal. We seek to avoid a similar fate. The point is that we, as editors, can only do so much about content. The future success of the journal actually relies on you: the museum community. We therefore echo Norick’s call, asking you to submit quality contributions. The best papers, essays, and reviews we receive will be published in the journal, while the more quotidian matters (grants received, news, job vacancies, etc.) will be posted here on the journal’s official blog. For the journal’s submission information, look here.

We look forward to serving you as editors for the next three years. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions, suggestions, schemes, proposals, complaints, compliments, or comments.

1 comment:

Jason Baird Jackson said...

Thanks for your kind words. Good luck with all that lies ahead for you and for the journal.