English 500

Report on a Scholarly Journal

Below is a highly selective list of some journals publishing literary research and critical study.  You are to choose one of these journals and prepare a report on it for next week's class.  Your task is to examine and describe the journal so that your fellow students will have a good idea of its scope, format, and the kinds of materials it publishes.

For your journal please provide:

 1.  Overview of format and information for prospective contributors.  Sometimes this material can be gleaned from a statement of editorial policy found near the front of the journal.  However, there exists a useful reference work that often contains more specific information:  MLA Directory of Periodicals: A Guide to Journals and Series in Languages and Literatures [1978-  ].  Just be sure to use the most recent volume available, because editors and policies change over time.

 2.  Survey of the journal's contents for the last full year.  You'll actually have to look at the periodical itself for this part.  Most of the publications listed below are quarterlies, which means of course that you'll skim four issues.  Give your audience some idea of the editors' recent interests, what sort of stuff they seem to think worth publishing.  Don't read every article! --rather, use abstracts (if provided), read introductions and conclusions, look at the editor's pages, and, at the very least, study the table of contents. Who are their contributors? Does the rank, institution, or biography of each contributor say anything about the journal? Is your journal published electronically (available for free or a fee?), or does it at least  have a website?

You'll have about 5-6 minutes of class time to tell us what you found of interest in the journal, so focus that oral presentation on #2 and be prepared to answer questions.  Following your oral report, submit a  description of your journal (including both 1 and 2) no more than 750 words long.  I'll post these on the website for future use in this and other courses.

A partial list of journals (drawn mostly from Harner)

General scholarly interest (though some have a British/American bias):  ELH, Journal of English and Germanic Philology, Modern Language Quarterly, Modern Language Review, Modern Philology, Philological Quarterly, PMLA, Studies in English Literature, Texas Studies in Literature and Language, World Literature Today

 Specialized African American Review, American Literature, College English (rhetoric and composition), Critical Inquiry (theory), GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, Genders (interdisciplinary), Journal of Narrative Technique, Modern Fiction Studies, New Literary History (literary theory), Novel: A Forum on Fiction, Representations (interdisciplinary), Signs, Women's Studies (feminist)

ElectronicPostmodern Culture (the URL is http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/postmodern_culture/),   Pre/Text Lite (a playful, "surrogate" version of the rhetorical journal; the URL is http://www.utdallas.edu/pretext/).  Should you wish to do PC, you need to consider the problem of access: though the most recent issue of the journal is available on-line free of charge, access to back issues depends on a subscription (I think they do provide text-only access for free).

Should you wish to choose one of these journals to investigate, you will need to email me your selection by Thursday night, to be sure that we don't have more than one person per journal.  If you want to look for something not on this list, you may do so, but run the choice by me (via phone, office visit, or e-mail) no later than this Friday.

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