What is Journal Work?

General Programming

September 16, 2016

This year, 2016, Small Axe turns twenty years old. And this year too, our fiftieth issue was published. We are not big on celebrations, it is true, but to mark the occasion we are organizing a roundtable conversation around the theme “What Is Journal Work?” We have invited editors (or founders) of notable journal platforms to help us think about the distinctive work (in all its dimensions) of journals in intellectual and artistic innovation and intervention. What is the function of journal work in the present? What is the relation between journal work and “fields” or “disciplines” of intellectual, political, and aesthetic practice? Are journals really necessary for intellectual and artistic production and circulation? Is journal work itself an intellectual and artistic exercise? What is the relation between journals and their publishers or, indeed, between journals and their editors? And what is the relation between these and the university setting in which their work often takes place? What is the relation between a journal and its audience? What are the appropriate issues to navigate around the question of print versus digital format for doing journal work? How are the debates and technologies that go under the name “digital humanities” altered the conditions of intellectual and artistic existence of journals? These are only a few of the possible questions that emerge in relation to journal work.

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