‘Futures for the History Journal: Reflections & Projections’, 6 December 2022

 

Panel Discussion

17:00 GMT, Tuesday 6 December 2022, Online via Zoom

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Speakers at the event

  • Dr Kate Smith (Co-editor, Transactions of the RHS / University of Birmingham)
  • Dr Harshan Kumarasingham (Co-editor, Transactions of the RHS / University of Edinburgh)
  • Professor Sarah Knott (Indiana University, and former Acting Editor of the American Historical Review)
  • Georgia Priestley (Publisher, History Journals, at Cambridge University Press)
  • Professor Karin Wulf (Director, John Carter Brown Library, Brown University, USA)
  • Professor Emma Griffin (RHS President and University of East Anglia, chair)

 

About the event

November 2022 marks the 150th anniversary of publication of Volume One of the Transactions of the Royal Historical Society. Transactions is the longest-running English-language academic history journal, predating first publication of the English Historical Review (1886) and the American Historical Review (1895), among other titles.

November 2022 also sees important changes to the current Transactions. This year’s volume will come with a new design and paperback format. It’s also the first in 150 years to include external submissions not previously read to the Society; the first to be edited by historians who are not members of RHS Council; and the first to engage an editorial board.

This event is an opportunity to take stock at a time that’s both an anniversary and a new departure.

Journals have long been, and remain, central to the communication of historical research. As a publishing form, History journals have proved remarkably durable, with developments typically taking place within an established framework of article types and formats. At the same time, the very recent history of History (and other) journals points to quickening and more disruptive change — most notably in terms of online access and publishing models; but also with reference to innovations of form, tone and purpose.

In this panel, UK and US historians associated with leading journals (as editors, publishers, innovators, authors and readers) consider the extent, impact and possible outcomes of these recent changes. At an important time for Transactions, , we’ll also explore how far journal publishing fits with current research and pedagogical priorities; and what innovations our panellists — and you — propose as ‘Futures for the History Journal’.

 

About the panellists

  • Kate Smith is Associate Professor of Eighteenth-Century History at the University of Birmingham. In January 2022 she was appointed co-editor of Transactions of the Royal Historical Society. With her co-editor Dr Harshan Kumarasingham, Kate is responsible for the journal’s creative development in terms of academic content and format. Kate’s publications include Material Goods, Moving Hands: Perceiving Production in England, 1700-1830 (2014) and The East India Company at Home (co-edited with Margot Finn, 2018). Her current project is a monograph provisionally entitled Losing Possession in the Long Eighteenth Century.
  • Harshan Kumarasingham is Senior Lecturer in British Politics at the University of Edinburgh. With Kate Smith, he is co-editor from 2022 of Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, and jointly responsible for this new phase in the journal’s contribution to scholarly debate. Harshan’s research interests include constitutional history and decolonisation. His publications include A Political Legacy of the British Empire. Power and the Parliamentary System in Post-Colonial India and Sri Lanka (2013) and the edited collections Viceregalism. The Crown as Head of State in Political Crises in the Postwar Commonwealth and Liberal Ideals and the Politics of Decolonisation (both 2020).
  • Professor Sarah Knott is Sally M. Reahard Professor of History at Indiana University. She has served as both Associate and Acting Editor of the American Historical Review, the American historical profession’s flagship journal. In 2013, she was elected to the Editorial Board of the UK’s journal Past & Present. Sarah’s most recent publications include Mother. An Unconventional History (Penguin, 2019) and Mothering’s Many Labours (a 2020 special issue of Past & Present, co-edited with Emma Griffin).
  • Georgia Priestley is Publisher, History Journals for Cambridge University Press, with responsibility for a wide range of titles, including Contemporary European History, Historical JournalJournal of Global Studies, Modern Intellectual History and Urban History.
  • Professor Karin Wulf is Beatrice and Julio Mario Santo Domingo Director and Librarian, John Carter Brown Library, and Professor of History at Brown University, Rhode Island. A historian of gender, family and politics in eighteenth-century British America, Karin’s forthcoming book is Lineage: Genealogy and the Power of Connection in Early America with Oxford University Press. Prior to joining Brown in 2021, Karin was Executive Directive of the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, which includes the journal William & Mary Quarterly among its titles. Karin is well-known for her innovations in journal (and wider) publishing, and as a leading commentator on scholarly communications for historians through her regular contributions to The Scholarly Kitchen.
  • Professor Emma Griffin (chair) is President of the Royal Historical Society and Professor of Modern British History at the University of East Anglia. A specialist in nineteenth-century economic and social history, Emma has extensive experience of journal publishing, having served as Editor for the journals History (2012-16) and Historical Journal (2017-21).

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RHS Lecture and Events: Full Programme for 2022 >