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Editor, Writer, Teacher, Colleague

Boellstorff, Tom

American Anthropologist, 06/2011, Vol.113(2), pp.197-199 [Rivista Peer Reviewed]

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  • Titolo:
    Editor, Writer, Teacher, Colleague
  • Edizione: 201106
  • Autore: Boellstorff, Tom
  • Descrizione: FROM THE EDITOR Editor, Writer, Teacher, Colleague Tom Boellstorff Editor-in-Chief EDITING IN CONTEXT No one, to my knowledge, goes to graduate school with the goal of becoming the editor of an anthropological jour- nal. Those of us lucky enough to become an editor typ- ically come to the work through twists and turns in the life course. Sometimes we have edited books or special is- sues of journals; in other cases, we plunged into editorships with little background at all, our enthusiasm standing in for experience. Regardless of the path by which one becomes the editor of an anthropological journal, there is always a significant amount of learning on the job. Certainly in my case, given that I had never edited a journal prior to becoming editor- in-chief of American Anthropologist, my term has been a period of remarkable professional and personal growth. Of course, part of that growth has occurred through the work of edit- ing itself: learning how to evaluate manuscripts, offer useful feedback to authors, manage production workflow, and col- laborate with staff and an editorial board. However, few editors of academic journals have the luxury of being able to devote their full attention to editing. Our parallel work as writers, teachers, and colleagues intrudes on our editorial lives, no matter how generous the support we receive from our institutions. I have come to appreciate, first, that no matter how overwhelming the work of editing, one can find time for these other spheres of scholarly life and, second, that these other spheres of scholarly life actually help one be a better editor (and vice versa). THE EDITOR AS WRITER In my experience, the work of editorship makes conducting primary research difficult. I have been able to make two brief visits to Indonesia during my editorial tenure, but there has simply not been enough time to engage in fieldwork. My ethnographic research in virtual worlds does not require physical-world travel, but it does require time and I have not been able to conduct substantial fieldwork online during my editorial tenure either. This sacrifice in the ability to conduct research is unsurprising, a perfectly acceptable consequence of editorship. However, I have been pleased to discover that I have been able to write scholarly pieces while an editor, either based on previous fieldwork or in the form of theoretical reflections or discussions of methodology. In addition to sev- eral shorter pieces and three book chapters, I have published five peer-reviewed journal articles, two of them in well- known anthropological journals, American Ethnologist (2009) and Cultural Anthropology (2011). I am also completing a book on ethnographic methods for virtual worlds with three coau- thors. Additionally, my “From the Editor” missives (like this one) that open each issue of American Anthropologist provide me an opportunity to reflect on the arts of editing and schol- arly publication as well as on the discipline of anthropology itself. Maintaining this level of productivity has not been easy, but in terms of my own personal growth, I have found it reassuring to realize that being an editor, even of a large and complex journal, need not mean that one’s own scholarly writing come to a screeching halt. In addition, I like that even as I provide editorial advice to authors, I am receiv- ing feedback from editors in regard to my own work. For instance, both my AE and CA manuscripts were originally rejected by the editors of those journals after blinded peer review and were ultimately accepted only after a round of revision and resubmission. The fact that I have been going through this process even as I “wear the hat” of an editor has made me a more well-rounded scholar and reminds me of the value of editorial work. THE EDITOR AS TEACHER I am extremely thankful that my dean and department have given me a 50 percent reduction in teaching duties during my editorial term; I see no way that I could do the work of editorship without it. Yet I am thankful as well that I do not have a 100 percent reduction; within reason, teaching un- dergraduate and graduate students has been helpful to me in my work for the journal. Aside from hiring some students as assistants and interns, I have become a better teacher in that I can now explain to students how journals work and how to improve one’s own writing so as to increase the chance of getting published. I have also become a very efficient “power skimmer”; I can look at the draft of a student’s piece of writing and quickly ascertain how the argument might be clarified and improved. I am also better able to locate c 2011 by the American Anthropological AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST, Vol. 113, No. 2, pp. 197–199, ISSN 0002-7294, online ISSN 1548-1433. Association. All rights reserved. DOI: 10.1111/j.1548-1433.2011.01323.x
  • Fa parte di: American Anthropologist, 06/2011, Vol.113(2), pp.197-199
  • Soggetti: Anthropology
  • Lingua: Inglese
  • Identificativo: DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1548-1433.2011.01323.x
  • Fonte: Wiley (via CrossRef)

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