All entries for August 2022

August 31, 2022

In Conversation with Natalia Rumak

Writing about web page https://anchor.fm/exchangesias

After a quiet couple of months over the summer, wherein I’ve been focussing on publishing the journal [1], I am pleased to announce the first in a series of the Exchanges Discourse podcast episodes tied into the recent special issue. Moscow State University’s Natalia Rumak is our first gracious guest to take up my invitation to come and talk a bit about her research, ideas on publishing and to offer advice to other authors.

You can listen to the podcast in full here:

Interestingly, given Natalia’s incredible multi-linguistic scholastic abilities, we get onto a topic I’ve often been asked about: publishing in English when it’s not your native language. Given that Exchanges has a number of non-native English speakers on the team [2], not to mention my own PhD supervisor for that matter, I’ve always seen the great benefit writing in a second – or even third or fourth – language can offer. It can manifest in impeccable grammar, in interesting revelations, and in offering thought deriving from dissimilar cultural traditions producing unexpected insights.

I’m in the process of lining up conversations with another few authors from the issue as I write, so this won’t be the last of our authors you’ll hear from about their research. And meanwhile, behind the scenes of course work on our Autumn issue continues apace – meaning even more potential guests for future episodes to take us through the rest of the year.

Exciting times lie ahead!

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Endnotes

[1] Well, it is the core of my employment after all

[2] Especial mention to Marcos Estra who keeps teaching me these wonderous idiomatic Portuguese idioms – albeit translated into English – which I’ve certainly thrown into the odd conversation with…varying results.


August 11, 2022

Opening up the (Editorial Board) Books

Writing about web page https://exchanges.warwick.ac.uk/index.php/exchanges/announcement/view/40

It seems a long time since I last made a call for new editors. Sure, we’ve had various calls for associate editors over the past couple of years but the last time I actually made an open call for new Editorial Board members[1] was before the pandemic when we reached out to CY Cergy Paris University and Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Before I was on the journal myself, my impression was that editors came and went with a greater regularity. Since I took on the Chief Editorship though, we’ve seldom seen members of the team stand down from their roles, or at least those that came onboard have stayed for the long haul.

Now, I would love to attribute this shift to the healthy, collegiate and respectful environment I strive to operate the title under. Perhaps there’s a modicum of veritas in that perception, but you’d have to ask the editors themselves for their perceptions as it not really for me to say! Nevertheless, from time to time my editors do confess how much they enjoy working on the title, so I’m clearly doing something right. Additionally, I’m sure the prestige and experience each gains from contributing to Exchanges plays no small part in retaining so many of the team over such a span of time. Perhaps then this is the key element which has kept them on the team over the years.

That said, in recent months as I’ve watched the IAS’ involvement with the EUTOPIA Alliance, a consortium of European universities of which Warwick is proud to be a member, a thought occurred to me. Surely, there could be a way through which Exchanges could tap into and contribute to these useful inter-intersectional networks in some mutually beneficial ways. Afterall, we were set up to engender a broad, and international, interdisciplinary discourse. Not to mention, for the journal itself, bringing on a few new faces to the Board would help to enrich and strengthen it, alongside giving the team as a whole some greater resiliency.

You see, there’s a truism which suggests the longer anyone remains in a post, the increasing likelihood they will call time on their commitment and depart. While it may not apply to everyone, as the individual tasked with running the journal, this idea does form part of my informal risk registerer associated with maintaining smooth and effective operations. Given so many of our editors have now been with us for such a relatively long time, at the back of my head I’ve always had concerns we might suddenly witness as a ‘great resignation’ all of our own. Which would put me in a difficult spot trying to keep all the plates/wheels/cats spinning[2] on the title, while simultaneously recruiting and training new members of the team. Moreover, with the traditional summer quiet time on the journal operational front, it feels the time couldn’t be better to open up a call and start assessing some potential new editor candidates.

Hence largely for these reasons I’ve concluded it is the right point at which to see if we can find a few new members of the team to join us. Editors play such a crucial role in not only managing the reviewing and copyediting stages of our processes, but also directing and encouraging new author submissions through promoting the journal within their local and professional networks. Bringing in some fresh [3] faces will bring with them some interesting, insightful and useful new perspectives to the table.

Now, as with past calls I suspect I won’t be overwhelmed with applications, early career researchers generally have a lot on their plates [4] to deal with as it is. But I remain hopeful that we’ll have a good batch, varied and diversly international set of candidates willing to throw their hat into the ring.

If you’re interested in finding out more – you can read about the call via the link below. Or of course, by dropping me a line directly via the usual contact routes.

https://exchanges.warwick.ac.uk/index.php/exchanges/announcement/view/40

Here’s to an enriched and energised set of new editors working on Exchanges by the year’s end!

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[1] Lets just call them ‘editors’ in this post for brevity

[2] Insert your own preferred metaphorical device here. And maybe not think too hard about spinning cats.

[3] Or at least candidates early in their personal research career journeys – as a mature ECR myself when I joined, age isn’t actually a consideration or barrier here to being considered.

[4] Spinning or otherwise.


August 03, 2022

New Special Issue: The Lonely Nerd

Writing about web page https://exchanges.warwick.ac.uk/index.php/exchanges/issue/view/42

I am understandably delighted to announce that the latest issue of Exchanges is now live. This is our fourth special issue, and focuses in on experiences of lonely nerds around the world, along with explorations of their representation, perception and isolation within various media forms. I will confess it’s with a slightly heavy heart that I released this issue – mainly because it has been such a genuine pleasure to work with Ben and Filippo as the special issue leads. But, also because I’ve enjoyed many stimulating and enjoyable exchanges with many of the authors whose work appears in the issue too.

On the other hand, considering this issue started life with a conversation in November 2019, part of me is very grateful we have finally reached the finish line. In part because it releases the articles into the world, but mainly because after all this time it is great to have a little closure on the project. Only a little, because once I finish my promotional work on the issue launch, I move on to (hopefully) a number of podcast interviews with authors in the issue about their work. And after that, my focus is squarely returned to our next regular issue’s preparations as well.

Nevertheless, for this afternoon at least I’m going to back in the afterglow of the issue release and the lovely words of praise I’ve been receiving from some of the authors. Makes the job well worthwhile! Just a pity none of us are local so we could gather for a small celebratory drink or something as a capstone to the publication. Ah well, one day!

Meanwhile, to aid your reading, here’s a table of contents for the issue with DOI links to each and every article, along with the entire issue file too.

Volume 9 No 3 (2022) – Special Issue Lonely Nerd: https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v9i3

Table of Contents

Gareth J Johnson. Going Where My Heart Will Take Me: Editorial, Volume 9, Part 3. pp. i-xii. DOI: https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v9i3.1186.

Filippo Cervelli & Benjamin Schaper. Socially Inept?: The perceived loneliness of nerds. pp. 1-10. DOI: https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v9i3.946.

Benjamin Schaper. Conquering the Meatspace: The lonely nerd in David Fincher’s The Social Network (2010) and Baran bo Odar’s Who Am I (2014). pp. 11-29. DOI: https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v9i3.866.

Janée Burkhalter. ‘Gus, don’t be the comma in Earth, Wind & Fire’: Understanding Psych’s (sometimes) lonely blerd Burton Guster. pp. 30-45. https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v9i3.869.

Alena Cicholewski: ‘A place where everybody is a legendary hero… and a total dork’: Representing the American nerd community as an antidote to loneliness in G. Willow Wilson’s Ms. Marvel Comics (2014-2019). pp. 46-61. https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v9i3.861.

Sharon Coleclough. So Many Ways to be an Outsider: ‘Nerdism’ and ethnicity as signifiers of otherness. pp. 62-83. DOI: https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v9i3.859.

Rebecca Lewis. The Simultaneity of Loneliness and Popularity in Dear Evan Hansen. pp. 84-103. DOI: https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v9i3.864.

Daniele Durante. From Misfit to Guide: Toward a corrective depiction of Otaku and Hikikomori in Japanese videogame Persona 5. pp. 104-123. DOI: https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v9i3.854.

Natalia Rumak. Sherlock and Shārokku: ‘Nerdy’ detectives in the West and in the East. pp. 124-144. https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v9i3.860.

Kwasu David Tembo. Social and Spatial Representations of the Nerd in Donnie Darko. pp. 145-161. DOI: https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v9i3.917.

Carolin Fleischer-Heininger. Loneliness as the New Human Condition in Murakami Ryū's In za miso sūpu: Otaku-ness, space, violence and sexuality. pp. 162-184. DOI: https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v9i3.893.

Christopher Smith: Consumable Bodies, Consumable Self: The queer potential of otaku subjectivity in Kio Shimoku’s Genshiken. pp. 185-202. DOI: https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v9i3.855.

Filippo Cervelli. Saved by the Nerd: Otaku and the space of family in Summer Wars. pp. 203-225. DOI: https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v9i3.887.


August 02, 2022

An Incomplete History of Exchanges

Writing about web page https://exchanges.warwick.ac.uk/index.php/exchanges/exchangeshistory

Last spring I gave a couple of conference papers on Exchanges and the experiences of our associate editors. Part of these talks included presenting a potted history of the journal, from day 1 to 'today', as a way of adding context and showing how we weren’t a fly-by-night title. At the time of writing, I was surprised to find no one had actually collated anything like this before, and so I spent an engaging/frustrating couple of days combing over the website, through past issues and into what email correspondence I had from the 'before times' to create it. At the time I thought, while I did make my slides public, that afterwards it might be a nice idea to add such a historical perspective onto the journal website.

Well, time has passed and more history has happened for Exchanges, and now we find ourselves on the cusp of entering our (eep) 10th birthday year in the coming months. So, given if you read my last entry, you'll be aware how things are slightly quieter than normal presently for Exchanges HQ, which providentially removes any excuse I have for not getting the information added to the journal site. Here's the direct link - although you'll also be able to find it from the About the Journalpages too.

The page is not, I hasten to add, intended to be a complete and critical analysis of the journal and its developmental journey: I'll save that one for an ephemeral future paper, book chapter or monograph that I may write one day (or more likely won't). What it does provide are some of the key beats and moments from the journal's almost ten-year history, and an idea of the some of the discussions behind the scenes too. All of which hopefully goes to show how from our humble beginnings we've managed to emerge into something a lot more interesting and - I would hope - useful to our readers, reviewers, editors and author contributors alike.

Naturally, as the moment strikes me, I'll update the history. There are quite a few developments going on ‘under the hood’ right now, that I’m not quite ready to talk about publicly. Not because they’re especially secret, but rather because we’re not quite ready to announce them to the world. Hence, the entry for 2022 is likely to get a lot more populated by the end of the year. Furthermore, should anyone have any additional nuggets of historical interest they'd like to add, let me know. I might have been the Chief Editor on the title now far longer than anyone else, but that doesn't mean my knowledge of what happened before my ascension to editorial prominence (hah!) is absolute! [1]

But in the meanwhile, have a look at our past, and maybe reflect on what it might mean for our future!

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[1] Apologies for the hyperbole, I am writing this entry on a swelteringly humid summer afternoon, and it’s likely impacting on my prose style.


August 01, 2022

August is the Cruellest Month

The Editor reflects on the quietest month of the academic year for publishing.

August is probably the hardest month of the year to be a journal editor. Why you ask - surely it’s a time of year when many people are jetting off on their main annual holiday, the weather (in the northern hemisphere at least) is fairer meaning it must be a positive period! Indeed, yes, for those people able to get away it is a great time – and fair play to them all! But when you’re running a journal and find yourself waiting on other people - authors, reviewers, editors etc – to do their ‘thing’ it can be a mite frustrating. With so many people heading off on or catching up after returning from vacation everything rather does stall to a crawl. Certainly, as I look over my ‘to do’ list for this month there’s a lot of dependencies pending which are waiting on the return and availability of other people.

These little delays are compounded by the preceding couple of months in academia wherein academics have been finishing teaching their courses, working through marking, examinations and reports and then on to various graduation related tasks.[1] Not to mention sorting out all the administration (and celebration!) that comes with that too. And if they’re lucky, getting in a spot of research and even publication along the way! [2]

All of these various ‘distractions’ [3] means by the time we’ve reached August and some scholars might finally be able to put their heads above the parapet for a while…well then it’s time head off on that a well-earned break. All of which means for we editors, it rather feels like we’re entering the third consecutive month of scholars being less able to engage with us. It makes for a frustrating time when you’re trying to move things forward as an editor and looking towards the next publication deadline creeping slowly up on you. Not to mention I’ve lost count of the number of authors I’ve had to contact in order to apologise for a delay in obtaining reviewer feedback…it’s just not the ‘right’ time of year for so many academics.

Now, I should admit, a quiet time is not intrinsically a bad thing. It does let one catch their breath and think about how the rest of the year can plan out, and even what things need to be set in motion or prepared for now. My recent data clean-up and call for registered reviewers to update their reviewing interests being an example of one such task! Nevertheless, I will almost certainly welcome the flood of messages as we hit September and academics en masse begin to become a bit more responsive.

That said, if you ever wanted to have a quiet chat with an editor about your publication ideas, or proposals, their calls for publication or even an exciting special issue proposal…here’s a tip: August is probably the perfect time to catch them with more time than normal to devote to you.

That said, even I might have to take some time off soon…so don’t wait around too long!

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[1] Or at least that’s what I’ve heard from authors and reviewers when I’ve been chasing them for progress reports over the last few months.

[2] A PVC-R of my former acquaintance was known to refer (rightly or wrongly, I won’t judge) to the summertime as the ‘research term’.

[3] AKA the ‘day job’ for those on t&r contracts.


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