Is There Room For Another Academic Journal For Civil War Studies?
The Society for Civil War Historians thinks so. Last week a circular email was sent to all members indicating that the two year relationship with the journal, Civil War History (published by Kent State Press) is coming to an end. During this time members were able to subscribe to the journal through their annual dues to the Society. The organization has decided to accept an offer by the University of North Carolina Press to make their new publication, the Journal of the Civil War Era, the official journal of the Society starting in 2011. I won’t bore you with the details as to why the decision was made, but it came down to the UNC Press agreeing to help with advertising and other managerial responsibilities.
Regarding the new journal:
The Journal of the Civil War Era will be edited by Bill Blair. Anthony E. Kaye of Pennsylvania State University will serve as Associate Editor for Books and Reviews, while Aaron Sheehan-Dean of the University of North Florida will be Associate Editor for the Profession. Bill has provided the following description of the journal:
The Journal of the Civil War Era is determined to publish the most creative new work on the full range of topics of interest to scholars of this period. We will continue to feature fresh perspectives on military, political, and legal history of the era. Moreover, articles, essays, and reviews will attend to slavery and antislavery, labor and capitalism, popular culture and intellectual history, expansionism and empire, and African American and women’s history. The editors mean The Journal of the Civil War Era to be a venue where scholars engaged in the full range of theoretical perspectives that animate historical practice can find a home. By bringing together scholars from areas that now intersect only sporadically, the publisher and editor hope to galvanize the larger field of nineteenth-century history intellectually and professionally.
In addition to peer-reviewed, cutting-edge scholarship, the journal will offer a variety of other elements designed to engage historians, sharpen debate, and hone practices in the profession, in the classroom, and in theory and method:
• Review essays that analyze emergent themes and map new directions in historiography.
• Book reviews by experienced, published scholars that offer critical perspectives on key works in the field and the discipline.
• Reviews of films, digital archive collections, websites, museum exhibitions, and interventions in other media.
• Columns on the profession that alert readers to recent issues in the job market, teaching, and technology and help historians of the Civil War Era find the leading edge of these trends.
Scholars who have agreed to serve on the new journal’s editorial board include Stephen Berry, David Blight, Peter Carmichael, Gary Gallagher, Stephanie McCurry, and Carol Reardon.
This is very exciting news and I assume most, if not all, members of the Society will transition to the new journal. I know I will, but that leaves the question of what to do with my subscription to Civil War History. I’ve had a subscription to the journal since 2002 and look forward to every issue. It is the premiere journal in our area, but I am concerned as to whether the field can, in fact, handle two academic journals. In addition to Civil War History, I subscribe to The Journal of Southern History and The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography. I honestly don’t know if my budget can handle two Civil War journals.
The more important question, however, is who will take on the management of the journal given that Bill Blair is taking on editorial responsibilities and so many additional scholars are signing on in various capacities. We shall see.