Twelve-Month Contract

I woke up yesterday morning to find my Twitter feed in an uproar, with outraged UK academics piling on to disparage, rebut, and generally mock the comments of Andrew Adonis, Chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission, on the subject of the “sacrosanct” academic “3 mth summer holiday.” Baron Adonis—as the mordantly witty Aidan Byrne points out, there’s an added piquancy to this yearly chestnut being warmed over by an “ermine-clad lord”—apparently draws on his long-ago stint as a Research Fellow at Oxford to characterize the indolence of today’s “uni lecturer.” Coming at a time of ramped-up rhetoric designed to undermine the very legitimacy of universities and the marginalization of supposed “elites,” this attack is particularly galling—but it’s hardly new. Often it hits close to home. Just last week one of my colleagues—a full professor—bemoaned the fact that she’s spent her life in academia, and her parents still don’t realize she isn’t “off” for the summer.

If only, I thought, they would speak with a journal editor, who could point to solid proof of academic summer industry.  

Indeed, since May, here at Modernism/modernity, traffic on our ScholarOne submissions portal has doubled as scholars submit new work, reviewers polish off reports, and authors polish off their last revisions; just this past week, we’ve issued six acceptances, and we now have over 50 articles out for review. Vacation? What vacation?

Yet while journal processes have always proved that academic brains are on twelve-month contract, print publication is geared to the 9-month academic calendar. JHUP schedules issues for September, November, January and April; even if there’s a little slippage in the mailing dates, they’re still oriented to the old model of the academic calendar.

That’s one reason why this note for cycle 2.2, tied to the April print issue, is coming out in July—to take a stand for summer. The flexibility of the Print Plus cycle means that new material will continue to come out throughout the summer months—and we hope you’ll stop writing just long enough to read it all.

So far this summer we’ve brought you (in addition to April’s exclusive peer-reviewed work by Alix Beeston) an article on 1984 by Kunio Shin; we’ve staggered our blog releases, with new entries in the “Process” blog, “Aesthetic Turns” and “The Discipline” emerging throughout May and June. Most recently, on July 4, Benjamin Tausig speculated for “In These Times” about “The Limits of Resistance.”

But we’re only just gearing up: before summer’s end we will bring you the next stimulating Print Plus cluster forum, on modernism and feminist methodology, edited by Urmila Seshagiri, and exciting new work on Isadora Duncan by Carrie Rohman. Plus you’ll be seeing a “Field Reports” blog on Japanese photography by Patrick Noonan, a "Re/discoveries" review from Robert Kaufman, and another entry in the rolling “In These Times” blog, with Thomas S. Davis reporting on his travels through the Anthropocene. And we will be featuring the debut of the new blog on Archives, "Future/Past," curated by our own J. Matthew Huculak.

We could be running work by you as well—hey, you’ve got time, you’re on vacation!

Debra Rae Cohen