Torch, Passed

I’ve been writing to you in this space since Print Plus was launched, touting the versatility of the platform and its potential for encouraging discussion, its ability to respond to the state and concerns of the field of modernist studies, its ability to accommodate new modes of academic discourse. If there’s still some way to go in realizing these utopian visions, I do feel that the platform has achieved the main goal that Matt Huculak and I set out when we first conceived it: to make Modernism/modernity a vital and flexible cross-platform publication that allows for academic gravity and personal voice, that encourages transparency and interactivity. The platform and its cycles, the print journal and its issues, operate in a coherent and rhythmic pattern, like an orrery, tweets flying all the while: there’s a dynamism about it that pleases me.

It’s with great confidence about the journal’s momentum and coherence, then, that—as my editorial term comes to an end—I hand this platform over to co-editor Christopher Bush. Chris and new co-editor Anne Fernald (who takes over special responsibility for the review section) will run the print issue between them, and Chris will assume control of Print Plus, with the help of veteran managing editor and media consultant Emily Christina Murphy. They’ll be bringing out much exciting material in the coming months, on both platforms: this cycle on Print Plus features a cluster on Modernism in World Performance, edited by Rebecca Kastleman, Kevin Riordan, and Claire Warden (and featuring a podcast with Carrie Preston), and a troika of articles on modernist afterlives in contemporary performance by Sarah Bay-Cheng, Andrew Friedman, and Mike Sell. Future issues of the print journal will feature some exceptional work on the Harlem Renaissance, on mediation and film, and—looking into next year—special collections of work on Duchamp and on Anarchisms.

Here on Print Plus, Chris will have a new and energetic cohort around him. We’ve seen curatorial transitions on this platform before—Walt Hunter has continued the sensitive explorations of Process pioneered by Lesley Wheeler, and Alix Beeston’s new Visualities blog has replaced Roger Rothman’s Aesthetic Turns. Now Kate Stanley will relieve Laura Heffernan at the Discipline blog; Jeanne-Marie Jackson will take over for Chris at Field Reports; and Margaret Konkol will assume the helm at Future Pasts, Matt Huculak’s archives blog.

As for me, I will be sticking it out at In These Times. Thinking about the relation between modernism and activism, then and now, seems ever more urgent to me as the days pass (this week alone: climate strike, Greta at the UN, UK Supreme Court prorogue rebuke, Ukraine/impeachment—?). At least we’ve created a platform that balances the sometimes glacial pace of academic research, and print publication, with the ability to say, loudly and immediately, wake up, the glaciers are melting.

—Debra Rae Cohen